Friday, May 16, 2008

US History in Song

I found this song a few months ago when spending some time on YouTube.

The song, US History, by Flipsyde is a representation of the history of the United States as seen through the eyes of a personified America.

After discovering this song, I decided to check out a few more songs by Flipsyde. What I found was inspiring. Their songs are inspirational, educational, relevant and all send a positive message.

For teachers looking to use this song in class, I do recommend it, but be aware of the language. You might want to run this by the powers that be, or just be sure that your class is mature enough to except the song for what you're using it for... a history lesson.

I apologize in advance if the language offends anyone. It is for educational purposes.

It's got references to the mistreatment of Native Americans, The Revolution, The Civil War and slavery, imperialism, Teddy Roosevelt, The World Wars, including Pearl Harbor and the Atom bomb, Vietnam, the Cold War, Korean War, War in Iraq, etc... etc...

It really is impressive when you look at it from the standpoint of simplifying complex ideas and relationships in US History. If I were teaching US History right now... I'd use it.

Watch the video... then listen to the song again and read the lyrics. And tell me what you think...

US History - by Flipsyde

Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain
His history consisted of robbery killin' and pimpin

Filthy rich and the biggest killer that you ever seen
Once I'm older I'm takin' over I'ma be king

I was locked up in jail when he got the new land
Opened his cells I guess that's how the story began

First mission was to clear it out and claim it as mine
Indigenous people were peaceful it took no time

Great grandmother Africa was blind and disabled
Sons was traitors we played divide and conquer invaded

Sold her children into slavery and profited quick
Started makin' side deals and that's how I got rich

Daddy Britain found out and tried to put me in check
He don't understand I'm a man and I deserve some respect

Tried to bring it to me but I play for keeps and I won
Still my daddy but you ain't the only man with a gun

More money More problems little brother is wild
They call 'em The South he's country with a big ass mouth

Tried to show 'em new business but he don't wanna change
I love 'em but I knew eventually I'd blow out his brains

I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

Me and my daddy still cool and my uncles is with us
France Russia and Italy and we all killas

But it's this nigga named Germany that's out of control
Rollin with Japan and Turkey and them niggas is bold

Started fuckin' with my uncles and we all went to war
Uncle France damn near died at the tip of his sword

When the smoke cleared we won let 'em retreat
Shoulda' killed 'em cause they knew they had us close to defeat

Kicked it off again 20 years later it was on
This time my uncle Italy traded and he was gone

I was neutral when Japan hit me guess that he knew
I aint gone' let my family fight without me jumpin' in too

Woulda' lost if I didn't hit Germany's weapon supply
Kamikaze Japanese was always ready to die

Dropped atomic bomb let them niggas know that it's real
Speak soft with a big stick do what I say or be killed

I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

I'm racin' with my uncle Russia we the ones with the guns
He supported the North so I rolled with South Vietnam

Thought it would be easy but almost 60 thousand died
They was harder than Korea so we ran for our lives

It's a family called the Middle East and they got bread
Sellin' oil they don't cut me in then off with their head

I got a nephew named Israel that's right in the middle
Pay his allowance as long as he can dance to my fiddle

I had a partna' named Iraq gave 'em weapons and money
Nigga started getting' power and he start actin' funny

Saudi Arabia's cool gotta son Bin Laden
I was trainin' his soldiers to go against the Russians and stop 'em

Then he tried to say I need to take my soldiers and cut
Gave 'em the finger that's when he flipped and blew my shit up

I took it to 'em, and then I took it back to Iraq
and if you ain't my blood brother you gonna be flat on yo' back

The sons of Africa just invented this shit called rap
Tellin' my secrets that's why I'm puttin' their heads on flat

Built an empire quick and it might not last
But I bet I go down in history as the one that smashed

I'm America!

You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless America
You know you know God Bless

Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain
Hustlin's in my blood my father's name is Britain

The red the white the red the white the blue
The red the white the red the white the blue

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Samuel P. Wheeler said...

I came across a similar song & website a few months ago. It tells quite a compelling story about American slavery:

Keep up the fine work with your blog, I enjoy it!

Ryan said...

I think music in the classroom is a great idea. Song's such as this or songs from the era are great tools.
This sorta reminded of the song Civil War by Guns N' Roses.
It's too bad the language isn't appropriate for the classroom, but you can always ask students to find songs on their own, for example.

I came across your blog earlier. Hopefully I'll have more time to write post during the summer. My url has recently changed, it's now:

klkatz said...

Aaahh... G&R... it was 6th grade when their Appetite for Destruction came out... brings back some good memories... I'm not familiar with the civil war song, but i'm going to look for it now.

and you're right, it's always a good idea to have the kids be accountable for finding their own songs... I did that with Transcendentalism.. and wrote about it here...

the kids loved it.

klkatz said...

Samuel... thanks for your comments.

what a great find!!

I remember seeing something similar, but Flocabulary seems to know what they're doing... they're worthy of a second (live) link.

teachers... please check it out.

historylover said...

Hi, I really like your site and I've added you onto my blogroll. I hope you don't mind.

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