Entre 2 album review: Politricks

 

Track 7: Politricks

According to 1Key, Politricks is his “most dangerous song because it’s not politically correct.” In Rwanda it is unusual (taboo, even) to directly and publicly talk (or sing) politics, unless to reinforce the status quo. And yet 1Key tells us: “Today I found its [politics] nose in my business, what should I do?/I’m sorry Mum, I will not keep quiet”. (Translated from French to English) Indeed, poetry is a medium through which we are able to experience how the personal is political. In his previous track (Entre 2), we learnt that 1Key values honesty, and that he exists “without filter between thought and speech.” In our conversations, 1Key told me: “I’m not into politics, but I’m sad to see the same stories over and over again”, an idea he articulates in Politricks when he asks the question: “How can we be so fooled when history repeats itself in a loop?” (Translated from French to English)

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Courtesy of Eric 1Key

While Entre 2 narrates the story of a “Hero” and a “Coward”, Politricks explores disparities between the powerful and the powerless, or between “the voices” and “the voiceless.” (Translated from French to English) As a conscious “citizen of the world” – who accesses online space and engages with current global debates – 1Key addresses subjects such as: cosmopolitanism, patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Black Power and Democracy. In Politricks, 1Key inserts selected quotations about politics, which he has found online, in addition to his own words. For example: “Democracy means “you are free to talk” and dictatorship means “shut the fuck up”…” And: “But remember that “in parliament, there is talk and lies” ~ Léon Campion.” (Translated from French to English) 1Key has also borrowed the colloquial term Politricks – the word ‘politics’ altered to convey the empty-campaign promises often experienced after politicians get elected – for the title of this track.

Like Entre 2, Politricks is heavily influenced by hip-hop and exudes a serious and dramatic mood. The robotic effects on 1Key’s vocals contribute to the sinister quality of the track, while perhaps also representing the passive and obedient nature of many Rwandans – an issue that 1Key explores in Entre 2. In the opening lines 1Key tells us: “Welcome to Politricks/I’m going to teach you everything…/…that you already know Mouahahahahahahaha!” And later in the hook:

“Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control

Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote

Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control

Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote.”   

Here, the question of language reappears. It is interesting that the hook is in English, while the verses are in French. English is the language of Rwanda’s current political elite, while also being a “cool” and “trendsetting” language. On the other hand, French is the language closer to 1Key’s soul. 1Key told me that he prefers to rap in French; he enjoys how French words sound and was inspired by mostly Francophone rappers and poets. The use of language is effective, then, in widening the division between 1Key’s emotive and defiant voice in the verses, and the “zombie-like” citizens in the hook.

1Key wrote Politricks when he was living in Kampala, Uganda. The production was a collaborate effort between Joe, at Yego Studio in Kampala, and Barick, at the producer’s home studio in Kigali. 1Key recently performed Politricks live for the first time. (Check the video link below, from 09:13)

Entre 2 is available on Soundcloud – Entre2 and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon. Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com

___

Song lyrics and translations

Politricks [Track 7 on Entre 2 album] 

Prod. Barick (Kigali). Vocals: Yego Studio (Kampala); English, French.

[Intro] [Intro]
Welcome to Politricks Welcome to Politricks
I’m going to teach you everything… I’m going to teach you everything…
… that you already know Mouahahahahahahaha!  … that you already know Mouahahahahahahaha!
   
[Verse 1] [Verse 1]
Dans mon esprit In my mind
J’ai le charisme de mon grand-père, toujours véridique I have the charisma of my Grandfather, always truthful
Dans mes oreilles In my ears
J’ai les conseils de ma mère “Te mêle jamais de la politique” I hear my Mother’s advice “never get into politics”
Aujourd’hui j’ai trouvé son nez dans mes affaires, que faire? Today I found its nose in my business, what should I do?
Je suis désolé m’man, j’vais pas m’taire I’m sorry Mum, I will not keep quiet
Faire semblant et être complice de ses malices Turn a blind eye and be an accomplice of its malice
C’est parce que je cours des risques que t’écoutes ce disque If you can hear this record it’s because I take risks
Enfant seul, je veux dire fils unique Lonely child, I mean only son
Je navigue sans guide depuis que je suis petit I sail with no guide since I was a child
Comme le messie, je fais partie d’aucun parti politique Like the Messiah, I am part of no political party
Liberal, je flotte dans ma bulle poétique Liberal, I float in my poetic bubble
Faudra un dico à certains de mes compatriotes pour qu’ils My countrymen need a dictionary so that they can
Comprennent la différence entre cosmopolitain et anti-patriotique Understand the difference between cosmopolitan and anti-patriotic
Je marche la tête haute, bien en l’air comme un astronaute I walk with my head held high, really high like an astronaut
Je mate les hommes forts de cette terre se rejeter la faute And I watch powerful men of this world play the blame game
Comme une balle de tennis aux jeux olympiques As if it’s a tennis ball at the Olympic games
Avec les mains sales, ils se félicitent With their dirty hands, they congratulate each other
Et nous, on les acclame… shit! And we applaud them… shit!
[Hook] [Hook]
Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control
Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote
Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control
Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote
[Verse 2] [Verse 2] 
Le vieux-jeux reconnait le jeu des Cartesélectorales The old school recognises the game of electoral cards
Aux truffesaucune du paquet n’a autant de valeur que l’as   In truffles[1] no card has as much value as the Ace
Condamnés à l’échec, nous sommes les pions de nos rois Doomed to failure, we are pawns of our kings
Hélas ce qui compte, c’est pas qui vote mais qui compte les votes Unfortunately what counts is not who votes but who counts the votes
Pour ne pas dire “qui vole les votes” car “on les offres” It’s not that I’m saying that “they steal the votes”; we “offer them our votes”
Nos politiques, on les adule alors ils nous mènent au gouffre We worship our leaders so they drive us to the pit
Comment être aussi dupe quand l’histoire se répète en boucle How can we be so fooled when history repeats itself in a loop
La démocratie c’est “cause toujours” la dictature c’est “ferme ta gueule” Democracy means “you are free to talk” and dictatorship means “shut the fuck up”
Donc c’est par la démocratie que jurent nos dictateurs… Fuck le people So it’s in the name of democracy that our dictators swear… Fuck the people
On a été stupide de croire qu’un black à la Maison Blanche We were stupid to believe that a black man in the White House
Etait assez pour changer le décor de ce sombre continent Was enough to change the décor of this ‘Dark Continent’
On nous convint d’être des agneaux, on les crains comme des lions They convinced us that we are lambs, so we fear them as if they are lions
On leur donne nos votes, ils nous prennent nos opinions We give them our votes, they take our opinions
Saches que “dans parlement, il y a parle et ment” ~ Léon Campion But remember that “in parliament, there is talk and lies” ~ Léon Campion
[Hook] [Hook]
Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control
Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote
Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control Trick me, trick me, trick me – till I lose control
Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote Promise, promise, promise – till I give you my vote
[Verse 3] [Verse 3] 
Que la voix des hommes sans voix empêchent les puissants de dormir May the voices of the voiceless stop the mighty ones from sleeping
Et si jamais ils dorment, que nos cauchemars les fassent gémir And if they ever fall asleep, may our nightmares haunt them
Nous sommes fatigués de mourir, laissez nos enfants vivre We are tired of dying, let our children live
Le mensonge comme l’huile flotte au dessus de la vérité Lies are like oil on the surface of the truth
Ils nous poussent vers la mort au nom de la liberté They push us towards death in the name of freedom
On s’entretue sans cause et on s’habitue à R.I.P And so we kill each other for no reason; we get used to R.I.P
Qui veut la guerre prépare la guerre, alors tous aux armes If you want war prepare for war, let’s get armed
Il y a assez de nucléaire pour réchauffer la Guerre Froide There are enough nuclear weapons to warm up the Cold War
Et fondre la terre entière au nom du pouvoir And melt the entire world in the name of power
Liberté ou main de fer, on brandit tous le poing en l’air Freedom or iron hand, we all raise our fists in the air
Ce qui est clair, c’est qu’on a rien appris d’hier What is clear is we learned nothing from yesterday
Nous ne sommes que des feuilles sur cet arbre qui est la vie We are nothing but leaves on this big tree which is life
On tombe, d’autres poussent puis donnent des fruits We fall, others grow and then give fruits
Alors à quoi bon couper l’arbre, pourquoi infecter les racines? Why try to cut down the tree, why infect the roots?
Pourquoi infecter les racines? Why infect the roots?

[1] Truffles is a Francophone card game played in Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo.

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