It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

Broken glass everywhere
People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can't take the smell, I can't take the noise no more
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches* in the back
Junkie's in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away, but I couldn't get far
'Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed* my car

Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head, ah huh-huh-huh
[2nd and 5th: ah huh-huh-huh]
[4th: say what?]
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

Standing on the front stoop, hangin' out the window
Watching all the cars go by, roaring as the breezes blow
Crazy lady livin' in a bag
Eatin' out of garbage pails*, she used to be a fag-hag*
Said she danced the tango, skipped the light fandango*
The Zircon Princess* seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peepshow, watching all the creeps*
So she can tell the stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got Social Security
She had to get a pimp*, she couldn't make it on her own

[2nd Chorus]

My brother's doing bad on my mother's TV
Says she watches too much, it’s just not healthy
“All My Children” in the daytime, “Dallas” at night
Can't even see the game or the Sugar Ray* fight
The bill collectors they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I'm not home
Got a bum* education, double-digit inflation
Can't take the train to the job, there's a strike at the station
Neon King Kong* standin' on my back
Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac*
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I'm going insane, I swear I might hijack a plane

[3rd Chorus]

My son said: ”Daddy, I don't wanna go to school
Cause the teacher's a jerk*, he must think I'm a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer*, I think it'd be cheaper
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
I’d dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
Cause it's all about money, ain't a damn thing funny
You got to have a con* in this land of milk and honey"
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can't walk through the park, cause it's crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun, cause they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw*
Hear them say: “You want some more?" livin' on a seesaw*

[4th Chorus]

A child is born with no state of mind*
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smiling on you but he's frowning too
Because only God knows what you’ll go through
You’ll grow in the ghetto, living second rate
And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alley way
You'll admire all the number book takers*
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them, huh,
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpockets, peddlers even panhandlers*
You say: “I'm cool, I'm no fool!”
But then you wind up dropping out of high school
Now you're unemployed, all non-void
Walking ‘round like you're Pretty Boy Floyd*
Turned stickup kid, look what you’ve done did
Got sent up for a eight year bid*
Now your manhood is took and you're a Maytag
Spent the next two years as a undercover fag
Being used and abused to serve like hell
'Til one day you was found hung dead in your cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young

[5th chorus]

Source: Metrolyrics

Grandmaster Flash - Joseph Saddler (born January 1, 1958 in Bridgetown, Barbados) better known as King Grandmaster Flash, is an American hip hop musician and DJ; one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, becoming the first hip hop/rap artists to be so honored
The Message is the debut studio album of the American hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, released in 1982 on Sugar Hill Records. It is considered one of the most prominent records in the history of hip-hop music with its most notable single being "The Message", which is often listed as one of the most influential hip-hop songs.

* roaches (=cockroaches) - Kakerlaken
* to repossess - wieder in Besitz nehmen (meist Hypotheken durch Banken)
* garbage pails - Mülleimer
* fag-hag (sl.) - Schwulenmutti (ugs.)
* fandango - der Fandango ist ein Singtanz mit Kastagnettenbegleitung
* Zircon Princess - a gemstone, jewellery
* creeps - Fieslinge
* pimp - Zuhälter
* Sugar Ray - famous boxer
* bum - miserabel
* Neon King Kong - The weight of the entire city of New York (“neon King Kong”) is on his shoulders
* sacroiliac - Kreuzdarmbeingelenk (wo immer das auch ist...)
* jerk - Trottel, Depp
* reefer (Am. sl.) - Joint
* con - Gauner, Schwindler
* glass jaw - Glaskinn [selten] [auch fig.: Überempfindlichkeit gegen Kritik]
* seesaw - Schaukel
* state of mind - Geistes-/Seelenzustand
* book takers - Buchdiebe (Bibliotheken)
* panhandlers - Bettler, Schnorrer
* „Pretty Boy“ Floyd - war ein US-amerikanischer Krimineller
* eight year bid - here: eine Gefängnisstrafe von 8 Jahren

1. Describe the narrator's situation and the reasons why he can't escape from it.
2. Why is the fate of the 'crazy lady' or the narrator's mother typical of people living in ghettos?
3. How does the narrator's son look at his surroundings and at his future life?
4. Describe the vicious circle in which a child grows up and can't escape from its environment which he/she is born into?
5. What must politicians and people responsible for town planning do in order to avoid the growth of urban ghettos?
6. Does language and imagery correspond to the genre of hip-hop songs? Answer by giving examples from the song.

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