Album: No Time For Enemies (2020)


  • "Freedom," from the bluegrass/hip-hop group Gangstagrass, is the second single from their 2020 album No Time For Enemies. Dolio the Sleuth and R-SON the Voice of Reason, the two lead MCs, and fiddler/instrumentalist B.E. Farrow break down the lyrics for Songfacts.

    Dolio the Sleuth: "The first verse was inspired in part by the Haitian revolution, as well as other slave revolts throughout the history of the diaspora. I imagined that the idea for an uprising would come from a divine place, one that would give strength to a movement to overcome brutal inhumanity. With that comes tough decisions and much preparation and planning. Overall, it expresses the urgency of attaining freedom under the circumstances of the time, and the fact that the only way it could be achieved under those circumstances was through tremendous bloodshed and a willingness to do what it takes at all costs.

    It ends with acknowledgement that in order to attain freedom for all at the plantation, all remnants of the enslavers had to be destroyed, much like the revolt that liberated the nation of Haiti.

    The chorus is actually the part we came up with first, only changing the tag line in each chorus to indicate the sentiment of the time period covered in the verse prior. The unifying theme of the chorus being that the time for waiting for liberation had come to an end, hence we 'ain't gonna wait no more to get this freedom.'"

    R-SON the Voice of Reason: "The theme of the second verse is that the struggle continues. It picks up during the civil rights movement prior to any corrective legislation being signed into law. The full tale runs the gamut of peaceful demonstration versus the idea of enough being enough, and striking back against state-sanctioned oppression.

    The tag of the second chorus ['We started on this march, now we gonna tear this mess apart'] is an allusion to the old adage of a riot being the voice of the unheard. After attempting to march peacefully, the frustration causes an eruption.

    The third verse picks up during present-day struggles under systematic racist oppression. Having tried the myriad ways of addressing it over the centuries, the frustration comes to a head once again. It recognizes the works and efforts of the elders and ancestors, yet acknowledges the farce of gradualism and pleading for justice from an unjust system, realizing that direct action is needed for actual justice to be attained.

    The tag of the final chorus ['Take this system and we kill it, then we flip it and rebuild it'] expresses an imperative for change, lest we repeat the evils of past. What needs to be done: remake society into one built on justice, on the ashes of one built on oppression."
  • This was released on June 19, 2020 - Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery. Around this time, there was a movement to get Juneteenth recognized by employers and governments as an official holiday.


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