I want my money back
I'm down here drowning in your fat
You got me on my knees
Praying for everything you lack
I ain't afraid of you
I'm just a victim of your fears
You cower in your tower
Praying that I'll disappear
I got another plan
One that requires me to stand
On the stage or in the street
Don't need no microphone or beat
And when you hear this song
If you ain't dead sing along
Bang and strum to these here drums
Till you get where you belong

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
You wanna be somebody? See somebody?
Try and free somebody?

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth

I wrote a song for you today
While I was sitting in my room
I jumped up on my bed today
And played it on the broom
I didn't think that it would be a song
That you would hear
But when I played it in my head
I made you reappear
I wrote a video for it
And I acted out each part
And then I took your picture out
And taped it to my heart
I've taped you to my heart, dear girl
I've taped you to my heart
And if you pull away from me
You'll tear my life apart

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
You wanna be somebody? See somebody?
Try and free somebody?

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth, hand to mouth

Ecstacy, suffering, echinacea, bufferin
We aim to remember what we choose to forget
God's just a baby and her diaper is wet

Call the police
I'm strapped to the teeth
And liable to disregard
Your every belief
Call on the law
I'm fixin' to draw
A line between what is and seems
And call up a brawl

Callin' 'em now
'Cause I'm about to go pow
I'm standing on the threshold
Of the ups and the downs
Call up a truce
Because I'm about to break loose
Protect ya neck 'cause son
I'm breaking out of my noose

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
You wanna be somebody? See somebody?
Try and free somebody?

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
You wanna be somebody? See somebody?
Try and free somebody?

I got a list of demands
Written on the palm of my hands
I ball my fist, and you're gonna
Know where I stand
We living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth


Lyrics submitted by pintsofguinness

List of Demands (Reparations) Lyrics as written by Saul Williams

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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List of Demands (Reparations) song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    robert: why not stop bitching from your parents' basement and go do something about what bothers you? You sound like the same little whining punks who go to schools like Cal-Berkley... you know the ones, the 'hippies' that still mooch off rich mom and dad.

    As much as you complain about 'corrupt corporations' do you not see your own ignorance in the fact that you rely on those corporations just as much as anyone else?

    Before you respond, look at the room around you and see the proof.

    Unless you drink pond water, grow your own food, and have built your own computer with parts not manufactured by anyone else but yourself so you can make posts on this site... then shut up.

    Oh, and who knows what that money is going to that Saul receives from Nike (if any... the song may have been turned over to Nike by his label w/o his control).

    He could if he so chooses use that money to benefit a nation of people or the poverty stricken within this country. Until you actually speak to the man, then you have no idea what the story or his motives are behind his actions.

    Oh... and back to the point of the forum... good song with an excellent beat. The first verse speaks of social change or something similar, while the second verse changes to being about a girl... although it could just be metaphorical. Anyway like the song.

    spinalgrailon March 25, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    kind of late, but saul williams offers his explanation:

    "I received a lot of questions from some about why I would allow my song 'List of Demands' to be used in a Nike campaign. Ironically, half of the people now reading this post never heard of me until that commercial aired. That, indeed, was one of my reasons for allowing it. A small circle of poets and conscious do-gooders are not enough to effect the change necessary to shift our planet in peril. We must enlist people from all walks of life, people not accustomed to questioning the norm, people who may simply want to dance uninterrupted without message or slogan. I see no glory in 'preaching to the converted'. Furthermore, I believe fully in the power of music and have branded my work with it's own conscientious stamp and stomp of attitude fueled to steal the show in the face of the nonsensical. Quite simply, it was clear to me that people would not be rushing to the store to buy Nikes after seeing that commercial, but rather rushing to youtube or itunes to hear or download the song. I even imagined those who would be rushing to blogs to question how I could allow this to happen and the subsequent discussion of the ethical treatment of factory workers and how new minds would be informed and enlisted in the struggle for ethical change." -- Saul Williams

    let me point out saul's been doing this for over a decade now and it must be frustrating for someone on the front lines to make so little effort.

    Do I care about this money? I do. Will I keep this money? Very little of it. Within the year I will have given away almost a million dollars to about 100 charities and individuals, benefiting everything from hospice care to an artist who makes sculptures from Burger King bags. And the rest will be going into publishing books through McSweeney's. Would I have been able to publish McSweeney's if I had not worked at Esquire? Probably not. Where is the $6000 from Forbes going? To a guy named Joe Polevy, who wants to write a book about the effects of radiator noise on children in New England. --Dave Eggers.

    george clooney has made money from an industry that is there to eliminate sad reality and escape to violent, ad-heavy fantasy and his contributions to darfur shouldn't be dismissed because of it. tracy mcgrady and lebron james have visited darfur and work for companies like nike. i'm not justifying nike purchasing and i'm definitely not gonna diss your opinion but the world isn't black and white and good and evil. if it were it would be a whole lot easier to dismiss anyone for doing a number of things that make the world better, regardless of their resources.

    holysockson August 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The funny thing is, Robert: it's not even an ad for selling shoes, yet you are going on about it. It's for a training program Nike has to allow athletes to measure their performance over time as they train, and see how much better they get. You probably think they are still an evil corporation anyway, but just pointing out that it doesn't have to do with their shoe manufacturing.

    BigBooon April 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Think about it

    The song is called "Reparations"

    The first line is "I want my money back."

    If he sold out with this song intentionally cynically, it's the biggest 'fuck you' possible to both the corporate building AND the street, and a brilliant artistic move.

    But he didn't... he did it for the movement. And I agree with the poster that quoted The Revolution won't be Televised. Saul's words are awesome, but he won't gain any significant cred unless he practices what he preaches, and does it louder than he does now.

    chickenpiggieson June 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Wow I cant believe no one has said anything about this song! Its absolutely amazing. I love the line "god's just a baby and her diaper is wet."

    When He says," I'm just a victim of your fears. You cower in your tower praying that I'll disappear." I think he is trying to say that he is one of the people who is actually contributing to the world, while the people who claim to be are really just "talkers." But I think there is more than just one meaning to this song.

    instant.karmaon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think he wants to see some changes in society

    j10jep2on April 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song reminds me of Ani DiFranco's "Self evident" For some reason I get the feeling that, in this song, Saul Williams is trying to say that the people talking and the people pretending to care about very significant and life changing events are just posers. Like, how Ani DiFranco talks about the reporters of the 9/11 tragedy, just reporting the event and not really caring about it. Genuinely caring about the event.

    We've gotta live hand to mouth. If you wanna see changes, you make the changes. You don't stand about complaining and whining with the masses. Green Day's American Idiot springs to mind...

    -Katie. xoxo.

    Disposition___on January 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    While touring with NIN in New Orleans before he sings the song, he says "You know, thank you, one of the most beautiful things that I've witnessed as a result of the horrible things that occurred here, was how American people simply just came out and gave not because they were told to do it, because they felt it in their hearts, and this next song is essentially about you realizing that the powers that be, may be the powers that be, but that the real powers are the powers of being, that each and everyone one of us have, and that we all have the opportunity every day, to stand up and make a difference, the name of the song is list of demands."

    ebhiroon April 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song doesn't mean shit anymore. He sold it to Nike. He has now used it to help propogate the profligate practices of Nike. I'm sure the children in the sweatshops in Cambodia thank him.

    Here's how the world works: You either get to be down with the struggle, or you get to promote Nike. You can't do both.

    Robert the Devilon March 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    If it weren't for selling out to nike, I don't think I would have given a shit about Saul. I hear the song and here I am, and it might have just helped change my life. Stuff has been going down lately, it's been mixing around in my head, and through this song, and coded language, and the other research I've been doing Saul just kindly informed me it might be worth it to pay attention and start giving a fuck. So if he's got a message he's got one more listener, and Rob, if you don't got listeners, you don't have a message, not really.

    farouhkon March 15, 2008   Link

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