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Anthem of 2011: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco

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2011 has been a pivotal, inspiring year, and a turning point promising big things for 2012. And it's maybe because people were broke and taking to the streets that, culturally, 2011 was somewhat uneventful. I suspect 2012 will bring the creative explosion of a culture reignited by shared awareness and new-found confidence. But looking back at 2011, the seeds of a cultural revolution did not seem to be penetrating the airwaves.

But where most of Hip Hop seemed to descend into a clatter of techno-fused beats and hooks about either partying in the club or partying in the strip club, there stood out a surprisingly positive groove that seems to best put a face on this year of the Occupy genesis.

Weaving an interpolation of Modest Mouse's 2004 upbeat hit "Float On," Lupe Fiasco uses his verses to unify the impoverished and privileged alike, urging courage to resist everyday oppressors, drawing strength from both childhood dreams and the power that a rarefied performer gets to observe when audiences are chanting his lyrics back to him around the world.

And yet in his open-ended challenge that "Ain't nobody leavin, nobody going home, even if they turn the lights on, the show is going on," there seems to be the prescient call for in-person assembly and energy that so many apparently desired deep down, across America, and around the world.

For those who still don't get what the Occupy Wall Street movement has been about, think about it like this: it's a like a vigil for a plan, or an intervention on behalf of an country all too obligingly suffering the painful cuts and deep gouging of corporate greed run amok in our political process. That outrage and alienation turns into empowerment with shared goals and the recognition that the voices of many are suddenly much louder than the voice telling us what additional austerity we should all endure because of some bankers' rampant criminal enterprise, which goes unpunished.

When future generations look back at us and our time, I hope they can associate this song with this tumultuous, inspiring era.

Here are the lyrics and music video for "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco, from his album LASERS. Follow Lupe Fiasco on Twitter: @LupeFiasco

Lyrics via LupeFiasco.com

Chorus
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on

Verse 1
Have you ever had the feeling that you was being had
Know that shit that make you mad
They treat you like a slave
Put chains all on your soul
And put whips up on your back
They be lying through they teeth
Hope you slip up off your path
I don't switch up off I just laugh
Put my kicks up on they desk
Unaffected by they threats
Then get busy on they ass
See that's how that chi town made me
That's how my daddy raised me
That glitterin may not be gold
Don't let nobody play me
If you are my homeboy
You never have to pay me
Gon and put your hands up
When times is hard you stand up
LUPE the man
Cause a brand that the fans trust
So even if they ban us
They'll never slow my plans up

Chorus
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on

Verse 2
One in the air for people ain't here
Two in the air for the father that's there
Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto
Four for the kids that don't wanna be there
None for the n---s tryna hold them back
Five in the air for the teacher not scared
To tell those kids that's living in the ghetto
That the n---s holding back
That the world is theirs
Yea yea the world is yours
I was once that little boy
Terrified of the world
Now I'm on a world tour
I will give up everything
Even start a world war
For these ghetto girls and boys, I'm rappin round the world for
Africa to New York
Haiti then I detour
Oakland down to Auckland
Gaza Strip to Detroit
Say hip hop on a destroy
Tell him look at me boy
I hope your son don't have a gun, and never be a D-Boy

Chorus
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on
Alright already the show goes on
All night til the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder when they will see the sun up
Just remember when you come up the show goes on

Verse 3

So no matter what you been through
No matter what you into
No matter what you see when you look outside your window
Brown grass or green grass
Picket fence or barbed wire
Never ever put them down
You just lift your arms higher
Raise them til your arms tired, let em know your there.
That you struggling, surviving that you gon persevere yea
Aint nobody leavin, nobody going home
Even if they turn the lights out, the show is going on