Duke The Bossman rappt in mehreren Hip-Hop-Formationen aus Oakland wie den High Decibels oder Color Me Black. Unter seinem Stage-Namen Dre ist er seit seiner Jugend auch als Spoken-Poetry-Artist aktiv und verarbeitet seine Erfahrungen mit Gewalt und schlechter Schulbildung. In diesem Poem geht es um seine kleine Schwester, die mit 15 Jahren in einer Schießerei in East-Oakland ums Leben kam.
Have you ever had to struggle?
Not no ‘tug of war’-type struggle,
Not no ‘struggle to get out of bed in the morning’-type struggle
I’m talking about having a hustle-type struggle.
Having a ‘muscle your way through hard times’-type struggles
I’m talking about ‘having to make deals and sell your soul to the devil
Just to find a place to sleep’-type struggles
Have you ever had a hand over your mouth like a muzzle,
So it’s a struggle for you to even speak?
We’re being censored, people.
Re-sent senseless acts of violence.
There are record-breaking murders –
The police will protect us, right?
Yet people keep their silence.
It’s a struggle to live, walk and breathe
It’s a struggle for me to get up and leave
And sometimes it’s a struggle for me to believe
That the next time I open my eyes
I will be in line to meet my Maker.
When I was sixteen, I had to say goodbye for the last time
To eleven different people in a six-month time period.
After the eighth funeral, I couldn’t cry any more
Because I had no more tears.
So, to make myself feel better,
I started flowing nasty, like
Cottage cheese and liver.
I remember when they told me the news.
It was a struggle to believe –
I kept telling myself that this couldn’t be true.
I mean, all of the losses I’ve been through,
I never thought in a million years that it would ever be you, Pumpkin,
And I haven’t seen Anthony or David in a minute.
But when I did, their eyes were bloodshot
From crying tears of a big brother’s worst fears.
No chips, they’ve got boulders on their shoulders
And they say my little sister Pumpkin was a soldier
And she held on till the hospital.
You can’t tell me that I’m not living in a war zone
When 15- and 17-year old girls get murdered –
It’s nearly impossible to think logical-like
There are lots of things that can be preserved in alcohol
But hope isn’t one of them
But the thought of the words ‘I’m sorry for your loss’
Breaching the sound barrier
Like a bullet against the windshield
Losing your daughter is not like losing your car-keys
This is not your seed you surrendered back to the earth
So what are you supposed to say to a mother
Who buried her only daughter?
You say nothing
You let your eyes tell her
You’d give your tomorrow for Pumpkin today
You hold her hands
So she knows she didn’t have to bear this burden by herself
Embrace her like she’s her daughter
Tell yourself, ‘Pumpkin
Wore her mother’s smile well.’
Hold on to it.
So it won’t ever be a struggle
To never let go.