Chuck D has been a clear and reasoned voice on the topic of intellectual property from way back. I listened to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back while I was drawing this morning. I heard “Caught, Can I Get a Witness” for the first time in a long time. P.E. was telling people two decades ago that our laws don’t promote art. They don’t promote making it. They don’t promote sharing it. People still aren’t listening.
Caught, now in court ’cause I stole a beat
This is a sampling sport
But I’m giving it a new name
What you hear is mine
P.e. you know the time
Now, what in the heaven does a jury know about hell
If I took it, but but they just look at me
I found this mineral that I call a beat
I paid zero
I packed my load ’cause it’s better than gold
People don’t ask the price, but it’s sold
They say that I sample, but they should
Sample this my bit bull
We ain’t goin’ for this
They say that I stole this
Can I get a witness?
Understand where we’re goin
Then listen to this, plus my roland
Comin’ from way down below
Rebound c’mon boost up the stereo
Snakes in the morning
Wake up, scared afraid of my warning
1 thought on “I rebel with a raised fist, can we get a witness?”
That wall of sound that the Bomb Squad collaged together (and I think for the most part “got away with”) on all those albums would probably cost a fortune now for contemporary mixologists, which is probably one reason why the production of most mainstream hip hop fails to match the brilliance of P.E.’s discography.
I was lucky to see P.E. live in concert, opening for Run-DMC, a long time ago.