Emmanuel Jal Week: Day 5 "Skirt Too Short" and more.
Skirt too Short: This song was inspired by MySpace. There was a girl who contacted me on MySpace, and she started sending me provocative messages, and asking me to take her out. Practically promising herself to me. I couldn't believe it. How could someone I had never met, be acting this way? I got into a conversation with my cousin Ayak, and Roachie about girls who are seen to be easy, and how they wear skimpy clothes to get attention. Of course I believe this not to be a good way to get attention, so the lyrics speak for themselves.
Warchild: This song talks about my experiences as a child soldier. I thought it would inspire children in countries that are war torn. I was born in the times when my country was at war. And I believe that nothing is more powerful than a testimony, so I thought, let me testify, and in the long run it helped me to be free.
Baaki wara: When I came to the UK, many temptations that I was not used to presented themselves. One of which was women. During my 1st tour in the UK, I was spoilt tremendously when it came to the ladies. I felt like I was losing my way, and almost lost the reason I was making music in the first place. Sleeping with a different girl each week left me empty, on top of this working day and night, but making no money was depressing, so Baakiwara came to be, a song about stamping out the devil's temptations in my life and fighting the poverty all around me.
Shadow of Death: This song is dedicated to the devils and demons that I come across in my life. It's basically telling them that I am not scared of them, and that Jesus is with me. Things were not easy for me at the time this song was written, and my future was unclear. It encourages my spirit and keeps me going.
Hai: I wrote this song whilst I was in South Africa. I was watching the news there, and it was crazy, just story after story of black on black crime, black people killing each other in all corners of the world. I travelled to the Middle East and was mistreated by the police due to the colour of my skin, the same thing happened in the west. I have suffered grave humiliation when I travel, 'where are you going? what are you doing here?' I get stopped in airports and I'm made to wait for hours; I have even had my passport ripped by immigration police. All of these factors also made me think of all the issues facing Africa and how there too, people are killing each other. Again I put my frustration into my music, and worked along side Silvastone who made a fantastic beat. Ayak joined me and also laid down a verse.
50 Cent: My cousin in London had been sent to jail for two years after he stabbed a white boy at his school. He wanted to be a gangster and a member of G-Unit. Gun crime was becoming so common in London, and the young people just didn't seem to respect life. I am a great fan of 50 Cent but couldn't help thinking that this generation that has grown up to respect and love him were not being given the right message. A lot of young people today aspire to be like 50 Cent, and I just felt that maybe he could be professing more of a positive message to the young people who look up to him. It was in no way an attack on him, I was just using him as an example of how society today is so influenced by people such as he, and how that power should be used in a positive light instead of a negative one.
Ninth Ward: Ninth Ward is dedicated to all the people who perished as a result of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. My band and I were invited to go and perform there just months after Katrina hit to play a part in encouraging the people who were still struggling there. I spoke to some mc's and some of the locals and they told me that no one gave a s*** about them, and that the government had failed them and left them there to die. When I returned to the UK, I was watching the TV, there was a story on the war in Iraq, it pained me so much as I started to think to myself, how can the politicians and governments spend millions on an unnecessary war, but yet not help the poor. I was so frustrated when I got to the studio, we beng it straight away. It is one of my favourite tracks in the album.
Stronger: This song was inspired by my past. One morning, I was on a train embarking on a long journey and I had an awakening. What didn't kill me can only make stronger. I felt it deep in my soul, and was compelled to relay it to my colleagues. It was the first time in my life I felt able to express my feelings about my hardship properly, it was like closure, I felt stronger after coming to the UK and struggling, developing and growing as a alien person to the western society I had grown accustomed to. I felt comfortable in my environment for the first time in my life.
Emma: Emma McCune was my angel. She saved my life, and gave me the opportunity to be the person I am today. I wasn't sure how to thank her, I had written many songs about her, but none of them moved me until Roachie and I came up with this one. Emma rescued over 150 child soldiers when she was still young, but out of all of them, I was special to her. I wore her clothes, and slept next to her. She took me under her wing and treated me as her own despite her friends telling her to leave me in the refugee camps. Emma never gave up on me, so this song belongs to her.
As you can see this isn't your everyday hip-hop. Even if you don't like rap you can agree that he has something far more important to say than his contemporaries. You can learn more about Emmanuel's incredible story, preview some tracks from Warchild, find out where to see him live and more at his Myspace page.