Whenever Punch decides to rap, it’s imperative people take heed and listen. Asking everyone to stop what they’re doing for three to four minutes and tune in shouldn’t be a heavy ask considering he only steps in the booth once each quarter.
When he does decide to record, he says something every single time, as he does on his latest track titled “40 Years.” Normally, his records are solo efforts but he’s got a little help this time around. Tae Beast handles production while Script contributes spoken word, Javonte does background vocals and his son Quack Quack rounds out the cast with ad-libs. Again, not the typical set up for Punch but it doesn’t change the content he delivers. It just packages the sound into a neater, fleshed out presentation.
“40 Years” is a plea / wakeup call to Punch’s hometown with a message that can apply to nearly any urban locale. “This song is dedicated to the 40 something year civil war that has ripped Watts, CA. apart,” reads the cut’s description on SoundCloud. “War between families divided by the train tracks. My heart goes out to all of us who have lost someone due to this war.”
The war he describes involves his old Nickerson Garden is one where no one’s safe. He raps “Uno momento, get them kids out the window / Bullets ain’t got no names and they don’t care who they go into” as he details how, despite traveling the world with TDE, he still sees things from a perspective shaped by his old stomping grounds. Much like Chicago, St. Louis and other places where colors dictate who’s friend or foe, it isn’t just enemies who are being menaced. Everyone in the vicinity can fall victim. And the ones doing the firing? They’re damaged, too, as a result.
“Post traumatic anxiety
The reason why we be ducking sobriety
Gotta get high to deal with this rivalry
40 years civil war we’ve been fighting so privately
The irony, it’s the American way”
It all reminded me of a recent article describing how vastly different sections of Chicago are. While people on the city’s north side argue over trivial grievances, bodies are dropping on the west and south sides in record numbers for a place where gangs and violence have been perceived as part of the norm for too long. Punch is just here to let the world know about Watt’s “40 Years” of bloodshed. Something tells me more communities have similar long-running civil wars in need of attention followed by solutions to help end them.