I was thoroughly turned out yesterday by neo-soul/hippie/rock star Raheem DeVaughn's new album, The Love and War Masterpeace. I'll tell you this much: that man knows how to make a sexy song and stretch beyond the cliches to make women feel good about listening to his music. He knows, too, how to speak on it when it needs to be spoken—something he did with his piece, "Nobody Wins a War." The title of the song, performed by DeVaughn with neo-soul heavyweights Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi, Dwele and Chico DeBarge, as well as singers Algebra, Shelby Johnson, Citizen Cope and Rudy Currence, makes DeVaughn's intent pretty clear: war is not the answer. Dig what DeVaughn says about his song on Sound-Saavy:
I actually wrote it while Bush was in office. Now with Obama making the announcement that he’s sending in 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan... it’s right on time with the signs of the times, where we are as a people and where we are as a world. I just try to make music that reflects upon the time and get it out to the people and let them make their own observations. It’s a real dope record—a basic common sense record when you get into the lyrical content. At the end of the day, who really wins?
Even more incredible is the poem Jill Scott lends at the end of the song, which straight whips the government (all governments—not just America's) for choosing war instead of trying to, like, work it out:
We, the people speak, speak!
We want to be free of this sick bureaucracy
No more death tolls with our morning coffee
Oh, government, you have lost your feeling for LIFE!
It is war that you reap, but the loss is too great and the pain is too deep
The scars do not heal
Your system is thoughtless and your vision is weak
Your actions are hurtful
You never find what you seek
You make the sky a storm
You destroy the earth
Make possibilities bleak
Your lies are your destruction
Your justice stinks
Your pride is maniacal
You are the bearer of grief
Your win is shallow
Your truth is oblique
Your patriotism is garbage; It rots and it reeks
Of death in the wind
The foul stench of men
Basking in their cruelty
Rejoicing in their sin
You give up and give over so easily to the darker side
Because of your pride
You risk all of humanity
You send my children to murder human beings
Families they do not yet know
People they have never seen
You send my children to war
Without exasperating dialogue to get to the meat!
An equal understanding, as if there isn't even a possibility for peace
But there is ALWAYS a possibility for peace!
As unperfect as we are
we should in all ways reach
Deep, deep down in our beings
Oh, this wicked, wicked system of things
As our grandmothers say, 'Will soon be no more Will soon be no more.'
Because nobody NO ONE EVER WINS A WAR.
Yup... what Jill said.
Press play up top to hear "Nobody Wins the War"—it's well worth the listen.