A History Of Violence…

11.02.06 11 years ago 16 Comments

Words By DJ Neil Armstrong Of The 5th Platoon DJs

I was asked to list 10 songs that make violence sound cool. Going along with the ideals of the “All Out King ” Mixtape series, I’m going to jump from all over the musical genre spectrum.

They aren’t the most obvious choices, and not all of them will make you want to run wildly down the hall with scissors or pick a fight on a Friday night, but they do all evoke that feeling of “cool”, especially if you are a student of pop culture which most of you hip cats looking at this post are….

In no particular order –

1. Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel – This is the song that’s playing in the oh so fun but ultra disturbing scene in Reservoir Dog’s where the character only known as Mr. Blonde (played by that pimp of an actor Mike Madsen) does a little dance and a little… well you know. Quinton Tarintino debut film, A dude named Mr. Pink. Now that’s cool…

2. Party and Bullsh*t by Biggie Smalls – Biggie’s 1st single , describing the thing that the fellas (and some of the more gangsta mami’s) do on a night out. I saw him perform it back in 94/95, before the beef with Tupac, and Pac was onstage with him. In the song there is a part where he says –

N***z start to loke out, a kid got choked out Blows was thrown and a fucking fight broke out”

Biggie’s boys would be in the crowd and at that point they would have a mock brawl – shocking the bystanders in the crowd, bringing the party to a stand still as the music stopped. Then next line would be “Can’t we just all get along!” , & that group of thugs would all start jumpin to the music, bringing the rest of the crowd back into a crazy frenzy. That was ultimate in audience participation.

3) The Big Payback by James Brown – sung by one of the most Hip Hop sampled artists of all time, and one of the funkiest folk on the planet. It’s a song about revenge, and like the Klingon’s say – Revenge is a dish best served cold.

4) Who Got My Back by Trends of Culture – A song about standing your own and watching your boys back on the crazy streets of NYC – Memorable line – “I hope your with your boys or with your crew what will they do, stand while you throw, or run cause you threw – see I ain’t the best but yo my man I’m in it till the end, you check the hook and pass the word on to you p*ssy friends – Who Got My back.” Bad situations are going to always come about, and its not the final outcome that matters, but how you handle it.

5) For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield – A song that I think everyone has heard at least once in their life. Its been used countless times as the theme song to describe that feeling of unrest and turbulence – (like that of the 60’s, with that limited skirmish overseas called the Vietnam War). Reportedly, it was written by Stephen Stills in 1966 when he observed the Sunset Strip riots between the Five-0 and some party people because of the the closing of Pandora’s Box, a club on LA’s Sunset Strip. So strange, that people partying & bullsh*tting could provide the inspiration for a song that lulls you into thinking about more substantial and serious subject matters…

6) Shook Ones Part 2 by Mobb Deep – 1st line of the song – “I got you stuck off the realness, we be the infamous you heard of us, official Queensbridge murderers…” Classic Classic Cool hip-hop at its finest. Prodigy of the M-O-B-B was always known for dropping jewels, and this one shines oh so bright.

7) Beat It by Michael Jackson – The king of pop in a knife fight in the subway. Eddie Van Halen playing the guitar solo during the bridge. A video that looked like a mini movie & Michael still rocking those soul glow jheri curls instead of whatever he has now. The cherry to top off this cool musical sundae – it’s the song played during the walk off between Derek & Hansel in Zoolander.

8) How I Could Just Kill A Man by Cypress Hill – Their 1st single that would make all the headz put their hoodies on and crowd around into a cypher at the parties I went to as a youngin during that golden age of hip hop. The title of the song begs it to be censored, with one of those nice parental advisory stickers smacked across the cover of the album, and it’s probably the most “obvious” pick for a song dealing with violence on this list. It’s not an entirely senseless song, and deals with the idea that if there is a threat, violence can and will happen. Life isn’t all hunky dory. Check the video, and you’ll see a cameo by Q-tip and Ice Cube, as well as my favorite landmark in NYC – the black Cube by St. Mark’s Place . Mas Frio.

9) Police & Thieves – The Clash – This band is more famously known for the song Rock The Casbah of course , a song that also has lines about blowing stuff up. But I think this song is cooler for a couple of reasons. The words of the song for one –

Police and thieves in the street

Oh yeah!

Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition

From Genesis to Revelation…

It was originally written by reggae artist Junior Murvin, covered by the Clash, and was their 1st example of incorporating reggae into their repertoire…. Hmmmm, so basically people were doing what hipsters, and the press have unceremoniously defined as “mash ups”, way back then. Tsk tsk all you trendy pretentious DJ’s, critics, and exploiters thinking your doing something new and fresh! Just goes to show, you should like a song because it’s good and it speaks to you, not just because its “different”.

10. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2– A song of protest and anger ,with bleak lyrics about horrific violence and ongoing troubles in Northern Ireland (Broken bottles under children’s feet, Bodies strewn across the dead end street), and religious references (“mother’s children; brothers, sisters torn apart” – from Mathew 10:35). How is that cool? Inherently it is not , its ugly. But the song makes you think, it brings about awareness, brings you back to earth and gives you a proper perspective. And there is nothing cooler then that. In the end the song gives you hope, with the harmonies and the words – “How long must we sing this song…cause tonight…we can be as one.

Life is pain… anyone who says differently is selling something.

That’s a quote from The Princess Bride. Bad and Good, Yin and Yang, Violence and Peace. That’s what makes us human.

Check for more from DJ Neil Armstrong @ www.5thPlatoon.com

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