"Wake Up" as written by and De La Rocha/commerford/morello/wilk....
Come on!
Come on, although ya try to discredit
Ya still never edit
The needle, I'll thread it
Radically poetic
Standin' with the fury that they had in '66
And like E-Double I'm mad
Still knee-deep in the system's shit
Hoover, he was a body remover
I'll give ya a dose
But it'll never come close
To the rage built up inside of me
Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy

Movements come and movements go
Leaders speak, movements cease
When their heads are flown
'Cause all these punks
Got bullets in their heads
Departments of police, the judges, the feds
Networks at work, keepin' people calm
You know they went after King
When he spoke out on Vietnam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot


Yeah, back in this...
Wit' poetry, my mind I flex
Flip like Wilson, vocals never lackin' dat finesse
Whadda I got to, whadda I got to do to wake ya up
To shake ya up, to break the structure up
'Cause blood still flows in the gutter
I'm like takin' photos
Mad boy kicks open the shutter
Set the groove
Then stick and move like I was Cassius
Rep the stutter step
Then bomb a left upon the fascists
Yea, the several federal men
Who pulled schemes on the dream
And put it to an end

Ya better beware
Of retribution with mind war
20/20 visions and murals with metaphors

Networks at work, keepin' people calm
Ya know they murdered X
And tried to blame it on Islam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot

What was the price on his head?
What was the price on his head!

I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard, I think I heard a shot

"Black nationalism"
"He may be a real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed obedience to white liberal doctrine of non-violence...and embrace black nationalism"
"Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers..."
"And neutralise them"

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

"How long? Not long, 'cause what you reap is what you sow."

Lyrics submitted by piesupreme

Wake Up song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis was the first Rage song I heard, possibly my favorite. It really woke me up. I actually learned about it in school with a really really cool teacher. We did a whole analysis of it - there are a lot of really interesting things we interpreted. "The needle, I'll thread" - think of a record player, you know, the needle, relating to music. Of course there's the obvious reference to Muhammad Ali (Cassius). Also J. Edgar Hoover, though some kids thought Hoover meant the vacuum cleaner.
    I just think it's a great song, and now I always associate it with the Matrix. Which also kicks ass.
    RedElephanton June 26, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHaha, yeah Jel, Al Yankovic should do a parody song of it :oD

    By the way, Capitalism ISN'T evil. Every political system and idea has advantages AND disadvantages. Also the nature of the nation's history, character, leadership, culture and location can be deciding factors in whether a political culture is good/bad. The UK is deemed "good" capitalism, Albania is bad. Sweden has GOOD socialism, Chile has bad. So stop making sweeping generalisations if you can't back them up against anyone apart from a consummate political scholar. If abused, the communist system could enslave a nation's people far worse than capitalism would allow. It would be a fantastic system if human nature wasn't greedy and exploitational, but it sadly is, so Marx's wonderful ideals will never truly bear fruit. Just remember, it's capitalism that gave you the opportunity and funding for the education to LEARN about politics (if any of you have, of course).

    You should all try reading P.J O'Rourke's "Eat The Rich" for further explanation.
    JabbaHutt444on September 04, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis was also the song that really got me into Rage...first song I ever heard of there's, and STILL my favourite! Like you, Red, I associate it with that last scene of The Matrix...it's generally about government control, pretending to act in our best interest, but really feeding their own greed and ends...the message is for all the complacent people that don't care about politics to "wake up" and smell the napalm :o)
    JabbaHutt444on May 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about the cointelpro (counter intelligence program) and the fact that such a government program exist(ed) should have you pissing your pants or wanting to kick some serious ass. Fortunetly thats what this song is for, to get people to wake up and consider not accepting the agenda in store. Sacrifice. Jefferson and Weishaupt spoke of enlightening the people to dispell tyranny and darkness yet any of the "have-nots" that speak out nowadays to mobilize the bewildered herd against fascist elites usually have a bullet coming their way in one form or another. Kinda makes you think twice before building your life around sedated materialism. Was the vision of the founding fathers undermined? By who? It's time to take a long look around you and consider that nothing is what it seems anymore. The technocratic New World Order that is being slipped through below your peripheral vision that undermines everything this country was supposed to stand for is happening NOW every day you press every day you fill up your tank for the lives it takes. Our way of life is about dancing on the backs of the bruised, and as the song prophesizes in the last two lines, we the people that outnumber these elite Rothschild bankers, we the people that pull the weight for the decadent that create war for profit are very pissed off and will trample them under foot when the floodgates break. Don't let them buy you out, your children's freedom depends on it. We gotta take the power back.
    draven66on March 21, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMalcolm X was not directly murdered by the government. By the time he was assassinated he'd made several key world-leader contacts in Asia and Africa, especially in countires which were suffering from white colonialism at that time. The US government especially hated it when he would publicly draw a parallel in his speeches between the colnialism of those countries and the sruggle for black rights in the US.
    As well as this, he had made an enemy of the leadership of the Nation of Islam, who were corrupt and hypocritical, and since he knew of the illicit relationships of Elijah Muhammad (a person whom the NOI members were taught to believe was a divine being), he had very sensitive information about them which they couldn't afford to let out.
    The actual assassination was summed up by his sister, Ella, as "The government were the puppeteers, and the NOI the willing puppets".
    DeltaTheNoobon August 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Matrix. WAKE UP! This is the song @ the end of the movie. Maybe life should be viewed as one wild ride, fear nothing, escape what needs to be escaped, and then you just might WAKE UP!
    perhapspsychologyon December 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbout conspiracy to off leaders of the civil rights movement.
    While I know both king and x were under government surveillance, and there may even have been plans in the work to off them, I just don't believe it was the government that did it in the end. Malcolm X did have major beef when he broke away from the Nation of Islam. I believe his killers were members? And that his minders from the Nation had also been given instructions to off him? Seems like a pretty basic case of a power struggle to me. As for King, wasn't he offed by some redneck nutcase? Anyway, I don't really know enough about it to pass judgement. It just seems to me like if the evidence for government involvement was that strong, people would have made more of a thing of it (like Spike Lee could've in his tribute film to Malcolm X.)
    Conspiracy theorists discuss.
    nickwebon August 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDuring the breakdown the excerpts Zack is reading are taken from Cointelpro Papers. They are of two recordings (of the same quote) played through individual channels left & right with a slight delay initially on the right channel, then on the left.

    "Black Nationalism"

    [talking about Martin Luther King]....."he may be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed obedience for white liberal doctrines of non-violence, and embrace black nationalism"

    the left channel continues with the following;
    "Carmichael has necessary charisma to be able to perform in this way"

    "Through counterintelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them"

    The part Zack is quoting from is as follows;

    dated 03/04/68

    The Counterintelligence Program is now being expanded to include 41 offices. ... For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and to prevent wasted effort, long range goals are being set.

    2. 'Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (non-violence) and embrace black nationalism. Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way.'
    3. Prevent violence on the part of black nationalist groups. This is of primary importance, and is, of course, a goal of our investigative activity; it should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program. Through counterintelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence.
    Dstyleson June 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is obviously one of the best Rage songs, and perhaps the most meaningful. Like many of you have said, this song's about the U.S goverment's countering of the black nationalist movement. My favourite line of the whole thing is "How long? Not long, cus what you reap is what you sow." It reminds me strongly of when Malcolm X said that Kennedy's assassination was the white man's chickens coming back home to roost (representing the violent receiving violence in return). Maybe the chickens came back to the wrong man in the end. I think Zack was saying that the world needed to wake up to the scheming governments of the past and present, wake up to all the coincidence and hazy historical events. Malcolm X was a bold visionary, and so is Zack. He thinks where others would get on with things, he speaks when others keep their mouths shut, and he shouts when other people chew the fat and waste time- And Rage's music was so much better because of it.
    Raininbowson August 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe last line:

    "How long? Not long. 'Cause what you reap is what you sow."

    is paraphrased from a speech by Martin Luther King on 25th March, 1965, in Montgomery, Alabama, after the march from Selma.
    King said, "How long? Not long, because "you shall reap what you sow."


    He was quoting from Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, chapter six: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
    azkmon October 12, 2010   Link

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