Outside the Lines With Rap Genius – OTL #52: Adam Mansbach & Kevin Coval Excerpt #3 Lyrics
Kevin Coval: In the city of Chicago, we live in multiple cities. We don't live in one city. We have a city for those that have means, and we have a city for those that the system fails and neglects, and so a lot of the folks that are affected most prominently by the violence and the poor conditions that surround and, in part, create the violence are those who the city seeks to serve the least. And so I always think it's a painful irony that Rahm Emanuel sent his kids to The University of Chicago's lab school and then cut the funding to public schools that are four blocks, five blocks away from that same school, and yet, you know, it's costing him $40,000 per kid per year to go to that privileged school. I don't think that that school should have less; I just think that schools and the conditions in which young people are reared in should have more. So until we live in one Chicago, until we live in an equitable Chicago, I think the hopeful part is just that the work is always ahead of us. So the work that I do as an educator, the work that I try to do as a writer, in terms of writing about the city and constantly trying to shed light on this grand inequity, the book that I'm writing right now is tentatively called "The Second City That We Live In", these multiple cities, and that we need to create a city anew, we need to create a city again. Chicago is called the Second City after the Great Fire of 1871 where we rebuilt ourselves on some phoenix shit, not on the dick of New York. No shots, fuck New York. The point is this, it's that...
SameOldShawn: Well, we don't have a baseball team anymore
Kevin Coval: Well, fuck, neither do we. We have the Cubs and The Sox - those do not qualify as baseball teams. They quality as like minor league shit yards for other teams to pillage. Alfonso Soriano. Yeah, so I focus a lot about that. I think young people stay hopeful if they have the agency to and the platform to articulate and name the conditions in which they see themselves immersed in, surrounded by. And also, you know, maybe they can think and create and organize their way out if it. One of our young poets in Chicago - 20 years old now - Malcom London, takes what we inherited from Gwendolyn Brooks. She would always tell young writers - this is the tradition I've been kind of mentored in, because one of my mentors is Hakimada Buddi [?], his mentor was Gwendolyn Brooks. She would always tell young people that your responsibility is to narrate and tell the story that's in front of your nose. That's what you have to do as a young writer. And Malcom has taken that and said, "Yes, we need to do that, and we also have a responsibility to change the stories we have to tell."
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