Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos

Album: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1989)
  • I got a letter from the government
    The other day
    I opened and read it
    It said they were suckers
    They wanted me for their army or whatever
    Picture me given' a damn, I said never
    Here is a land that never gave a damn
    About a brother like me and myself
    Because they never did
    I wasn't wit' it, but just that very minute
    It occurred to me
    The suckers had authority
    Cold sweatin' as I dwell in my cell
    How long has it been?
    They got me sittin' in the state pen
    I gotta get out, but that thought was thought before
    I contemplated a plan on the cell floor
    I'm not a fugitive on the run
    But a brother like me begun, to be another one
    Public enemy servin' time, they drew the line y'all
    To criticize me some crime, never the less
    They could not understand that I'm a Black man
    And I could never be a veteran
    On the strength, the situation's unreal
    I got a raw deal, so I'm goin' for the steel

    They got me rottin' in the time that I'm servin'
    Tellin' you what happened the same time they're throwin'
    Four of us packed in a cell like slaves, oh well
    The same motherfucker got us livin' is his hell
    You have to realize, what its a form of slavery
    Organized under a swarm of devils
    Straight up, word 'em up on the level
    The reasons are several, most of them federal
    Here is my plan anyway and I say
    I got gusto, but only some I can trust, yo
    Some do a bid from one to ten
    And I never did, and plus I never been
    I'm on a tier where no tears should ever fall
    Cell block and locked, I never clock it y'all
    'Cause time and time again time
    They got me servin' to those and to them
    I'm not a citizen
    But ever when I catch a see-O
    Sleepin' on the job, my plan is on go-ahead
    On the strength, I'ma tell you the deal
    I got nothin' to lose
    'Cause I'm goin' for the steel

    You know I caught a C-O
    Fallin' asleep on death row
    I grabbed his gun, then he did what I said so
    And everyman's got served
    Along with the time they served
    Decency was deserved
    To understand my demands
    I gave a warnin', I wanted the governor, y'all
    And plus the warden to know
    That I was innocent,
    Because I'm militant
    Posing a threat, you bet it's fuckin' up the government
    My plan said I had to get out and break north
    Just like with Oliver's neck
    I had to get off, my boys had the feds in check
    They couldn't do nothin'
    We had a force to instigate a prison riot
    This is what it takes for peace
    So I just took the piece
    Black for Black inside time to cut the leash
    Freedom to get out, to the ghetto, no sell out
    6 see-Os we got we ought to put their head out
    But I'll give 'em a chance, 'cause I'm civilized
    As for the rest of the world, they can't realize
    A cell is hell, I'm a rebel so I rebel
    Between bars, got me thinkin' like an animal
    Got a woman C-O to call me a copter
    She tried to get away, and I popped her
    Twice, right
    Now who want to get nice?
    I had six C-O's, now it's 5 to go
    And I'm serious, call me delirious
    But I'm still a captive
    I gotta rap this
    Time to break as time grows intense
    I got the steel in my right hand
    Now I'm lookin' for the fence

    I ventured into the courtyard
    Followed by fifty two brothers
    Bruised, battered, and scarred but hard
    Goin' out with a bang
    Ready to bang out
    But power from the sky
    And from the tower shots rang out
    A high number of dose, yes
    And some came close
    Figure I trigger my steel
    Stand and hold my post
    This is what I mean, an anti-nigger machine
    If I come out alive and then they won't, come clean
    And then I threw up my steel bullets, flew up
    Blew up, who shot
    What, who, the bazooka was who
    And to my rescue, it was the S1Ws
    Secured my getaway, so I just got away
    The joint broke, from the black smoke
    Then they saw it was rougher that the average bluffer
    'Cause the steel was black, the attitude exact
    Now the chase is on tellin' you to c'mon
    53 brothers on the run, and we are goneWriter/s: WILLIAM DRAYTON, CARLTON RIDENHOUR, ERIC SADLER, HANK SHOCKLEE
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
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Comments: 2

  • Sam from Seattle, WaDuring live performances, Rage Against the Machine will have Chuck D come on and sing this with the band. This can be heard on the CD Live and Rare
  • Blind-fitter from Leeds, United Kingdom"Black Steel" was covered by UK trip-hop pioneer Tricky in 1995. The "Black Steel" single reached #28 in the UK singles chart. The track also featured on Tricky's critically-acclaimed album, "Maxinquaye", which reached #3 in the UK album chart. Tricky's cover of "Black Steel" featured vocals by Martina Topley-Bird, now a successful artist in her own right.
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