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Staceyann Chin (1971- ) is a slam poet from Jamaica who now lives in the country of Brooklyn in New York City. She travels the world performing and teaching poetry. Unlike most poets she has been on Oprah’s television show and has her own Blockbuster Online page.

I thought maybe she was just television-driven fluff, that she had no substance, but when she made me cry at her grandmother’s death – not mine but hers – then I knew she could write.

She was a slam poet before slam poets were in fashion, when it was still underground in New York. Like in Ancient Greece, slam poets perform their poetry for an audience with judges picking the winner. Their pieces generally run three minutes long and tell a story. A video of one of her pieces is at the end of this post.

She got into slam poetry almost by accident: one day she went to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The rest is history.

Her first published book is not of her poetry – she is not ready for that yet – but a  story in prose about her first 24 years: “The Other Side of Paradise” (2009).

She was born on Christmas day in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the unwanted daughter of a rich Chinese businessman and a poor black woman. Her mother left the country soon after and Chin was brought up by her grandmother, then in her sixties. Although unwanted by her mother, her grandmother loved her unconditionally. No one has ever loved her more. Because her grandmother could not read, Chin read the Bible to her, especially the psalms – a slam poet in training!

All that ended at age nine when her mother arrived from Canada, briefly, and put her with a great-aunt whose sons tried to force her into sex. She was shifted from house to house without a home, till age 16 when she went away to boarding school and then university – paid for by a Chinese businessman who denies he is her father.

At age 21 while at university she found out she was lesbian. She only told close friends: in Jamaica  you cannot live openly as a homosexual and expect to not be beaten up or, in the case of women, raped.

As much as she loved Jamaica, she had to leave: it would not allow her to live freely as a lesbian. So at age 24 she came to New York:

New York was my godsend. As soon as I landed, I knew I was in a place that welcomed misfits.

No one in New York cared if she kissed girls. She was free! Yet not free: she was black. In Jamaica, because of its colourism, she was favoured for her light skin. But in America she found herself at the bottom – for the very same skin, now seen as black. America may have been more enlightened about lesbians, but it was way less enlightened about black people.

See also:

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Remarks:

Damian is the last son of Bob Marley, who died when he was two. His mother was Cindy Breakspeare, a Jamaican beauty queen who was all but white. The chorus is sung by Stephen Marley, his half-brother, son of Bob and Rita Marley. Though it never charted, it is one of those songs I can play over and over again.

Lyrics:

It’s all right

[Chorus: Stephen Marley]
Said she wants my loving all night
And when she get it, she’ll be all right (all right)
Said she wants my loving all night
And when she get it, she’ll be all right

[Verse 1: Stephen Marley]
Now she call me on the phone and said she’s home alone
And she want me to come over and her house a home
Well I gave it to her once
And I liked how she responds
Well now i’m in trouble
Yeah

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]
It seems she needs to oil her spine
Tell all a gyal toast bread can’t build di putty gold mine
Need all di doctor to fish with di essential slime
She tell me she want signal di plane n’ time me want slow wine
Turn on di HBO she want fi watch Showtime
Give her di cordless microphone, she want di one with line
Seem like me and young gyal ya just can’t combine
So it’s sour like lime
Running it down the line Mr. Muffin one timr

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]
She call mi pon di I-95
How mi ah tek so long she ah wonder which car mi drive
Tired fi listen album now and she want me live
Tell me she want mi fi come knock her out till she can’t revive
SO!…Ah so mi planet and di stars align
She tell me she want me know which part her hills and valley dem join
Seh she want me ride her like a Ferrari sign
Put appointment aside
Nothing can’t compromise
Fi di vibes I provide
BIM!

[Solo: Stephen Marley]
She wants my loving all night
When she get it, she all right
She wants my loving all night

[Verse 4]
I shouldn’t make no physical contact, tell her fi hold down and still she just can’t quiet
Seh mi tek her up and tun her inna $@# maniac
Telling me dat I compliment her natural habitat
Well…it seem like she deaf or she blind
Want come step inna mi life when time she deh far behind
Want mi play her rhythm till di tape want rewind
And she nah watch no time
And she just nah resign till she see the sunshine
OK!

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Remarks:

This is one of those songs that I have played to death, but the song Marcia Griffiths is most famous for makes me kind of cringe: “Electric Slide” (1989), one of the three songs that everyone seems to know how to dance to. In the late 1970s she was part of the I-Three, along with Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt, the backing singers for Bob Marley.

I wrote down the lyrics from the song – I could not find them on the Internet – so some of them might be misheard.

Lyrics:

Children of Israel you’ve got to serve I
Children of Israel you got to stay in line
Survival is the game
And we’re still the same
in creation
Even among nations

None shall escape the judgement
Those persecutors of Israel
Right from the throne of Zion
To the rivers of Babylon
I’ll walk the valley of darkness and
I will fear no evil
The hotter the battle the sweeter the victory
The hotter the battle the sweeter the victory

None shall escape the judgement
Those persecutors of Israel
Right from the throne of Zion
To the rivers of Babylon
I’ll walk the valley of darkness and
I will fear no evil
The hotter the battle the sweeter the victory
The hotter the battle the sweeter the victory

Children of Israel we’ve got to come together
Children of Israel let’s try to make it better
Sorrows are a joy
To make a brighter tomorrow
In creation
Cant’ walk the streets of division

None shall escape the judgement
Those persecutors of Israel
Right from the throne of Zion
To the rivers of Babylon
I’ll walk the valley of darkness and
I will …

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(Deevani in Hindi)

Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Badla mera rang ve
Hoye oye oye oye, hoye oye oye oye
Chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi

(Tito in Spanish)
Sintiendo tu cuerpo
Y tu piel que me quema
Baila morena
Mueve morena
Seran tus ojos
O tu cara que a mi me ciegan
Baila morena
Mueve morena
Jamaica te cela
Puerto Rico te vela
Por ti se pelean
To’a la noche entera
Tu cuerpo desean
Por tu piel de canela
Si ellos supieran
Que a mi me modelas

Desde que llegaste a mi
Mi vida no es igual
Desde que llegaste a mi
Mi vida no es igual
Hay amor, dame amor
No te vayas
Hay amor, dame amor
O todo se me acaba

(Deevani)
Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Badla mera rang ve
Hoye oye oye oye, hoye oye oye oye
Chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi

(Beenie Man in Jamaican patois)
Di way yuh act it
Off fi me remy seen inna you body
For me a got knew a perfil
Me like a mad somebody
Spañol mami,
Call your Jamaican daddy
From Puerto Rico backs to spear
Me ready fi go chary
A load me sally, sally
Jummy, di glad it, glad it
All Jamaican to tha world
Dun it now aqui
Gwaan a shift yuh proppa’ tin
Me ready fi go attack here
All gwaan see is
Gyal a call her
A sey dem runny, runny
Reggaeton, marathon
Gyal gwaan me run it
Full a claim monna
Cyaan yuh sey it ya go me gun it
Well here I am if you walk it
’til it donny donny
Reel mad me onnu pon, so kno’
Cau me done it
Well if assalt it cau if he’ done
Pity lika’ jummy
A gwaan ya gone it mek me never
Speed so bummy
Yo Jeez!
Inna at our man
No fi come throb me
Me gwaan ‘ti back it inna me life
A me lemmie mami
So a…
A danzar mi reggaeton
Tito Bambino alongside Beenie Man
Dis’ one is anoda hit, son
Everybody you’d hear mo’ tek pon on come-on-non

(Tito)

Con un flow bien natural

(Beenie Man)
Tito Bambino alongside Beenie Man (What?)
Dis one is anoda hit, son
Everybody you’d hear mo’ tek pon on come-on-non

(Deevani)
Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Pehen ke chola jawaani waala
Badla mera rang ve
Hoye oye oye oye, hoye oye oye oye
Chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi chadh gayi

(Tito)
“Top Of The Line”!
Tito El Bambino!
(C’mon!)
Luny Tunes!
Deevani!
Beenie Man!
The King of the Dance Hall!
Sigo siendo el Internacional!
No hay mas que hablar!
From Puerto Rico!
Pa’ Jamaica!
Nales!
Tiny, Tunes!
“Top Of The Line”!

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[Intro: Beenie Man]
You want a proper fix, call me,
you want to get your kicks, call me
You want your G’s fixed, call me,
mi have the remix, call me
From di odda day
It’s like a play some bwoy a play
Mi hear di girls callin mi
hear di girls bawlin mi hear di girls cryin out
She seh Beenie………

[Chorus: Ms. Thing]
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

[Verse 1: Beenie Man]
Gal, if yuh love holla at mi one time (Hey!)
Holla at mi if yuh waan di wickedest wine
I know It’s been awhile but baby neva mind
Cause tonight tonight mi a gi yuh di whole nine (Hey!)
Yo! satisfaction a every girl dream
Mi love fi put it on when dem wiggle and scream (Hey!)
Well, mi get a call from sexy Maxine
She left a message pon mi answering machine she seh Beenie….

[Chorus: Ms. Thing]
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

[Verse 2: Beenie Man]
She waan a man fi put har inna trance
A man who know fi tun har round and mek she belly dance
Rudebwoy lovin wid a little romance
She waan to get wild but she neva had a chance
When, she seh she neva had it so deep
So right now I’m di man she definetly wanna keep
Har ex bwoyfriend use to come and drop asleep
Dat’s why when mi pager start beep she seh Beenie……

[Chorus: Ms. Thing]
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

[Rap: Shawnna]
You know I’m use to sippin that Grey Goose
And pushin the grey coupe I’m fever like trey deuce
Huh, He wanna see me in Prada
But I be stickin to my wife beaters and pretty panties under my dickies
Now! I need a dude with a wickedest legs
And a, we can do this and a, we can do that
Then grind your body down to the floor
When I, I make it hurt till he don’t want me no more
Ok, when ya wanna ride with a runner call me
When ya wanna slide in the Hummer all day
I’ll be in your life be your lover always
Tellin you no lie we together you’ll see
Murda, workin that body body
Got to hurt a, jerkin that body body
Shawwna from D.T.P. on the remix
Wine to the beat can’t stop I say Beenie, what’s up?

[Chorus: Ms. Thing]
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

[Verse 3: Beenie Man]
You heard what she preferred,
she waan a man weh mek she fly like a bird
She waan a real man she don’t waan nuh nerd
She waan yuh gi har it good mark mi word
I’m not a perv but mi mek she serv,
she waan di rockula well until it curve
Har ex bwoyfriend ain’t got di nerve
Have har a wait and she nah get served,
so she seh Beenie…..

[Chorus: Ms. Thing
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

[Verse 1 repeated: Beenie Man]
Gal, if yuh love holla at mi one time (Hey!)
Holla at mi if yuh waan di wickedest wine
I know It’s been awhile but baby neva mind
Cause tonight tonight mi a gi yuh di whole nine (Hey!)
Yo! satisfaction a every girl dream
Mi love fi put it on when dem wiggle and scream (Hey!)
Well, mi get a call from sexy Maxine
She left a message pon mi answering machine she seh Beenie….

[Chorus: Ms. Thing]
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will tie me to the fan,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man
I want a dude with the wickedest slam,
I need a one, two, three hour man
I want a dude who will do me in his van,
a thug that can handle his biz like a man

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To you
My heart cries out “Perfidia”
For I find you, the love of my life
In somebody else’s arms

Your eyes are echoing “Perfidia”
Forgetful of the promise of love
You’re sharing another’s charms

With a sad lament my dreams are faded like a broken melody
While the gods of love look down and laugh
At what romantic fools we mortals be

And now
I find my love was not for you
And so I take it back with a sigh
Perfidia’s won
Goodbye

With a sad lament my dreams are faded like a broken melody
While the gods of love look down and laugh
At what romantic fools we mortals be

And now
I find my love was not for you
And so I take it back with a sigh
Perfidia’s won
Goodbye
Goodbye

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Dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou)

Singin: dont worry bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry (dont worry) bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, this is my message to you-ou-ou:

Singin: dont worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. dont worry!
Singin: dont worry about a thing – I wont worry!
cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Singin: dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right – I wont worry!
Singin: dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry about a thing, oh no!
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

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