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Wise Man

Originally written to appear on soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," this song explores the depth and meaning of wisdom in a man. Pondering questions of whether bad and evil men exists, Frank Ocean's musical and lyrical sensibilities are presented in full force. The song is raw and visceral and represents the best of Ocean's ability to masterfully tell a story, write a song, and sing its lyrics. The song eventually made its way into Antoine Fuqua's "Southpaw."

Wiseman closed his mouth
Madman closed his fist
Young man shows his age
Judge man named it sin
Bad man don't exist no
No evil man exists
Good man don't exist no
No righteous man exists
Sad man cannot cry in place where man can see
Never witnessed father weep
This old man thought it weak
But strong man don't exist
No undying man exists
Weak man don't exist no
Just flesh and blood exists
But your mother would be proud of you
I bet your mother would be proud of you

The beast will crawl this earth
Then fall in the dirt to feed the crows
They'll rip apart his flesh
Til all that's left is glorious bone
So you'll bury your own
Too vain
You saw it unfold
What you know
And you claimed all you could hold
Until death did you part from the mess you made
I bet your mother would be proud of you
I bet your mother would be proud of you

Primate sharpens tool
To survive and thrive in the jungle
Maybe hearts were made to pump blood
Maybe lungs were made for flood
I won't blunt my blade for cut these chains
Rather let my limbs be dragged through mud
You're my brother but your eyes are cold
You're my sister but your womb is bare

I bet our mother would be proud of you
I bet our mother would be proud of you

Bad man don't exist
No evil man exists
I know good man don't exist
No righteous man exists
Strong man don't exist
No undying man exists
Weak man don't exist
No just flesh and blood exists

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

James Baldwin is perhaps America's greatest essayist and if not, he definitely is one of the greatest writers the world has ever produced. In this instance, Baldwin sings a hymn a capella. 'Precious Lord, Take My Hand' was written in 1932 by Thomas Dorsey. He wrote it in Chicago, Illinois, after his wife Nettie died while giving birth to a child (who also died shortly thereafter). Dorsey sang the song for his friend, Gospel singer Theodore Frye, and Frye’s choir sang it the next Sunday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. It was the favorite hymn of Dr. Martin Luther King and this very recording was played at the James Baldwin's own funeral at Riverside Church in 1987.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on through the light
Take my hand, precious Lord
And lead me home

When my way grows dreary
Precious Lord, lead me near
When my life is almost gone
At the river I will stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand, precious Lord
And lead me home

Nixon: June 23, 1972

This is now known as the smoking gun tape. It is the transcript of the recorded audio from inside the Oval Office six days after the break-in at Watergate. From 10:04AM to 11:39AM, President Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, discuss approaching Richard Helms, Director of the CIA, and Vernon A. Walters, Deputy Director, to ask them to request L. Patrick Gray, Acting Director of the FBI, halt the FBI's investigation into the Watergate break-in on the grounds that it was a national security matter. The special prosecutor felt that Nixon, in so agreeing, had entered into a criminal conspiracy whose goal was the obstruction of justice. On August 5, 1974, the tape was made public. On August 8, President Nixon became the first American president to resign from office.

Four Women

Four Black women, all with vastly different life stories, converge in this Nina Simone tour-de-force. They have more in common than the experiences they indiviually possess and Simone's performance is true to that spirit. It was written and recorded for the 1966 album, 'Wild is the Wind'. Thalami Davis of The Village Voice has called the song "an instantly accessible analysis of the damning legacy of slavery, that made iconographic the real women we knew and would become."

My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is AUNT SARAH
My name is Aunt Sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is SAFFRONIA
My name is Saffronia

My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown
my manner is tough
I'll kill the first mother I see
my life has been too rough
I'm awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me
My name is PEACHES

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes wrote this poem on a train to visit his father in Mexico. He was 17 and inspired while crossing the Mississippi to write this verse which later was published in 1921 in The Crisis, the NAACP's literary magazine. He was most influenced by the work of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman as he attempts to reflect on the legacy of his ancestors and triumphantly places them in important historical, religious, and cultural sites around the world.

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
     flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
     went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

The War of the Worlds

As part of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, "The War of the Worlds" was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the CBS radio network. Orson Wells solidified his abilities as a dramatist by narrating the first two thirds of the one-hour broadcast as a series of simulated news bulletins, suggesting an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. In the days following the adaptation, there was widespread outrage in the media. The program's news-bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast and calls for regulation by the FCC.