How twisted is the world, and does it ever stop turning? It has been said that “time waits for no one.” What happens with the rest of the world while we are busy building and living our own lives? It keeps on turning, things keep moving, and we must strike a delicate balance between our own world and the world beyond our own, lest we become out of sync and out of touch. This musical episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory with Heit & Cheri explores a number of songs that touch on the issues of our twisted world.

You’ll hear songs by Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Shirley Brown, Lil O feat. Billy Cook, Green Day, and Souljah Fyah.

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Segment 1

  • Discussion about the vice presidential debate. Biden spanked Ryan. However, there are a lot of people who think Ryan won. People complained about Biden being rude.
  • Immediately following the VP debate, the buzz was that Biden clearly won the debate. It didn’t take long, however, for the media to turn the tide with their coverage. Within hours, they had people believing that the debate performance was about equal between both men. Everybody wants to watch a close race, and that’s the illusion that’s in the media’s best interest to present.
  • Ultimately people are just cheerleaders–like at a football game–and people just root for their side.
  • These debates are not about truth and accuracy. It’s just about the political theater leading up to the vote. It basically just keeps people engaged.
  • In the end, both candidates are for the corporation. The poor and poverty were hardly mentioned–only the middle class.
  • Some people say that Biden came and did what Obama couldn’t do in the debates, with regard to his attitude and aggressiveness during the debate. There are a lot of people who feel that Obama would be viewed as the “angry Black man” if he were to be more aggressive, so Obama tends to play it safe in this area. It’s BS!
  • If you are going to restrict yourself to certain behaviors because of being Black (to avoid negative stereotypes), that’s like saying that Blacks should act one way, while whites can do whatever they like. This is foolishness! Why is it always about changing oneself to fit others’ expectations?
  • Obama is a lot more conservative than people give him credit for being. He adheres very closely to the expectations of social norms. In the long run, this will be harmful to him.
  • Discussion about Obama’s relatability issues as compared with Bill Clinton, and the connection with race issues.
  • Discussion about how Obama only relates to Balks in certain ways when among all-Black audiences–things like calling other Blacks “brother” or “sista.”
  • Discussion about the media trying to make people believe that the race is much closer than it is. According to one poll, Romney was ahead by 0.8% going into the debate.
  • Why do people give so much attention to every person who says something racist. People spend too much time on these distractions. They won’t mention drone strikes killing innocent people, but are obsessed with some fool wearing a racist shirt at a Romney rally.
  • Discussion about how the news networks are doing a good job of trying to make the race seem close, when it’s not.
  • Discussion about the lie the media and government are perpetuating that both unemployment and foreclosures have plummeted. BS! They happen to say this right before the election and holiday season. Take a look around you and you will see what the state of the economy is.
  • Discussion about how formulas for stats change and month to month, it’s not necessarily an “apples to apples” comparison.
  • No matter who wins, if you don’t have money you’re f*cked!
  • Discussion about how the poor are never addressed in the campaign promises. You’re renting and don’t own a car, yet the focus is on mortgages and fuel-efficient cars.
  • Discussion about celebrities endorsing candidates. Mention of how Stacy Dash got attacked for saying she supports Romney.
  • People only want others to vote if they are voting for their team.

Song 1: “World Keeps Going Around Lyrics” – Bill Withers

Looking at the pictures of the places that he’s been
Old man told me what he found
Said it don’t make no difference whether you’re out or whether you’re in
You know the world keeps going around and around
Going around and around

Said he looked at the places, talk to the faces that he seen
Then he turned the pictures upside down
Said it don’t make no difference how many places that you’ve been
Said the world keeps going around and around
Going around and around

Then he put up the pictures shook his head and with a grin
He talked about his ups and downs
Said it don’t make no difference how many fixes you’ve been in
You know the world keeps going around and around
Going around and around

Betty Joe Johnson, don’t you pull no Daisy Mae on me
Daisy Mae she did me dirty, so I had to leave her for Anna Lee
Anna Lee she had big street feet, she spends her nights out on the road
So I started seeing Sally Jackson, I had to let old Anna Lee go

Sally Jackson was a player, had another man along with me
So I just took me one step backwards, checked up on old Anna Lee
Anna Lee still had them street feet
Like to dance all night and sleep all day

So I just took one more step backwards, checked up on old Daisy Mae
Daisy Mae is still doing dirty, so I tell you what I had to do
I had to go just one step further, Betty Joe Johnson
And that’s how I know you

Said he looked at the places, talk to the faces that he seen
Then he turned the pictures upside down
Said it don’t make no difference how many places that you’ve been
Said the world keeps going around and around
Going around and around

  • Heit loves the way that Bill Withers starts the song and builds it.
  • Withers talks about a variety of topics in his songs, and he is an excellent storyteller.
  • His delivery brings out the soul and you can feel the emotion. There is a choppiness in the way that he tends to deliver his songs. His singing is always effortless.
  • This is a wonderfully written song–it’s literal, but can be taken with a deeper meaning. It’s a story with a literal message. It’s a guy telling a story within a story.
  • The women in the story could actually represent different events in a person’s life–he tried different things. The women could be life events personified.
  • No matter where you go, or what stage you’re at, life moves on simultaneously. This is the main idea of the whole song. Cheri’s favorite lines were:

    Said it don’t make no difference how many places that you’ve been
    Said the world keeps going around and around
    Going around and around

  • Discussion about how he mentions traveling. This reminds Heit of when people make mention of their travels around the world and think that makes them an expert of sorts about places other than the U.S. We can be fooled by viewing ourselves as more knowledgeable than we actually are.
  • Heit liked the whole song, and didn’t have a favorite line.

Song 2: “Billy Jack” – Curtis Mayfield

Just out of Monday
Run into a friend
Down the street, down the street
Where I live
Ah! Ah! Sad things begin
I could feel from within
From the message
From the message
He had to give

‘Bout a buddy of mine
Running out of time
His life’s running out of time
Somebody past noon
Shot across the room
And now the man no longer lives

Too bad about him
Too sad about him
Don’t get me wrong
The man is gone
But it’s a wonder he lived this long

Up in the city they called him Boss Jack
But down home he was a alley cat
Ah! didn’t care nothing about being black
Ah! Billy Jack

Can’t be no fun
Can’t be no fun
To be shot, shot with a hand gun
Body sprawled out, you without a doubt
Running people out, there on the floor

Ah! Ah! Bad bloody bloody mess
Shot all up in his chest
Shot all up in his chest
One sided duel, gun and a fool
What a way to go

Up in the city they called him Boss Jack
But down home he was a alley cat
Ah! Didn’t care nothin’ bout being Black
Ah, Ah, Billy Jack
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

  • Heit loves Curtis Mayfield’s music, because he performed at a time when people actually had a message in their music. They were talking about socially and politically relevant things. At the same time, the music was wonderful–just like Heit & Cheri’s new album, “Improper Conduct.”
  • The music is just phenomenal. Cheri thinks she’s heard the sample somewhere. Heit says he’s sampled the song.
  • The best songs tell a story with a message, and this song left Cheri with a lot of questions. For instance, what did Billy Jack do to get killed? Was he mouthing off? Clearly the narrator saw Billy Jack as bringing it on himself and being a fool as evidenced in the lyrics.
  • This song makes Heit think of a person’s image–how we’re always talking about how people craft an image that is different from who they’ve been know as. For instance, like how people create different personas on the Internet.
  • Discussion of the idea that if you want to be known as something different than where you’ve come from, you almost have to reinvent yourself with different people than who you were raised around. It sounds like this is what Billy Jack did. Thus, he was known as an “alley cat” at home, and “boss Jack” in the city.
  • Heit recounts a conversation with his nephew about a guy who was from Texas who came to their hometown in Louisiana and made a song about it. Discussion about how the fact that this guy who wasn’t from there did well as an unknown in their town.
  • Discussion about how starting over in a new place allows people to start over and not have their history follow them. They can go somewhere else and be a different person.
  • Apparently Billy Jack was still a hot head, and the person in his hometown, who presumably didn’t give him the same respect as the city folks, wasn’t gonna let him be a “boss” in his hometown.
  • Discussion about the line, “Ah! Didn’t care nothin’ bout being Black.” This is like people who leave a circumstance and don’t care about the people who remain in the circumstance they left. The people who manage to get out will often turn around and exploit the very people who are victims of their circumstance. This happens a lot with drug dealers. Mention of Rick Ross and Frank Lucas and their experiences as drug dealers.
  • Discussion of Episode 053: We’ll Get You To Crack, where Heit & Cheri discuss documentaries they viewed on the subject.
  • Heit plays the beat that he made using this song. Heit & Cheri discuss possibly making a song out of the beat.

Song 3: “Sleep With One Eye Open – Shirley Brown

I have got to sleep with one eye open
Because this will not leave me alone
I have got to sleep with one eye open
Because this man will not leave alone

All he wants to do is make love
Keeping me up all night long
You got to be careful what you ask for
Because you just might get it – well

I wanted a man that I could care for
That man (inaudible)
But, sometimes I wanted to change my mind
Because, he is on me at all the time
That is why I have got to sleep with one eye open
Because, this man will not leave alone – no, no!

I have got to sleep with one eye open
Because this man will not leave me alone
All he wants to do is to make a love
Keeping me up all night long

I got to hurry up and get through cocking
So, I can get little rest – because,
When he comes at home, he will be looking
I am pulling down my dress – well,
This man is like a love machine
The dumbest thing that I ever seen

That is why I have got to sleep with one eye open
Because this man will not leave alone (2X)

All he wants to do is to make love
Keeping me up all night long

All he wants to do is to make love
Keeping me up all night long
I have got to sleep with one eye open

  • What is Shirley Brown complaining about? Why is it a complaint that her man wants sex all of the time?
  • Why do you have to sleep with one eye open though? Speculation that this is a song where they decided to do it in one take with a beat they already had in mind.
  • Mention of the wife in the Richard Pryor movie, Which Way Is Up, in the scene where she has her ankles crossed and doesn’t want to give up sex.
  • Speculation that this was a song recorded in one take where they had the beat and Shirley just sang whatever she felt, and sleeping with one eye open is what came out.
  • Cheri always thought that the song was gonna be about domestic violence when she first heard of it.
  • The beat in this song goes so hard!
  • This song was all hook, whereas the last song didn’t have a hook.

Song 4: “The Truth” – Lil O feat. Billy Cook

[Billy Cook]
Too many brothers locked, there’ll be too many dying
And if I set it up out, then I’d be lying

[Hook – 2x]
You want the truth (yeah), bujt you can’t handle the truth (no)
Us niggas ain’t free, we just running round loose (right)
They say what monkey see, monkey gon do (oh-no-no-no-no-no-no-oh)
This song pertains to every thug nigga, even you

[Lil’ O]
My lil’ partna stole a half, from a crooked ass law
He chopped it up and heat it in, it’s time he Hilfiger drawas
See hit the cut before you run, young G’s gotta crawl
And he was hitting every lick, even soaked his ma
And when he stacked a lil’ change, he went straight to the mall
And bought some POLO and some Guess, to let hoes know that he ball
But I recall a time when blacks, couldn’t buy shit at all
And when you mention slavery, no one sounded upauled
They said ay free the slaves, see loves blacks don’t believe it
Slavery came to an end, cause slavery wasn’t needed
New technology, provided quantities at high volume
Cheaper than maintaining slaves, now we got us a problem
Cause now we can make these goods, and astonishing figures
Without the labor tell me, what we gon do with these niggas
Should we gun em down with triggas, send em back to they land
Or should we keep em all in chains, till we get us a plan
Well here’s a plan let’s give em jobs, better jobs than we
No just enough, so they can get the minimal wants and needs
They’ll still be in poverty, but with they hard earned bucks
They’ll make us rich by buying shit, that was made by us you see

[Hook – 2x]

[Lil’ O]
Now if you worked all your life, but still ain’t had shit
If you seen a man slipping, would you grab his shit
I’m talking gun a man down, straight robbing and stealing
Or commit genocide, for pride we straight drug dealing
And I know you know the feeling, (man I ain’t got shit
Man these whites living good, I got’s to have that shit)
Even though we can’t afford it, man we still gotta get it
Black people love to floss, I swear to God it’s embedded
Now you can curse all you want, you can scream and shout
But only a nigga’ll buy him a Benz, before he buy him a house
And when the new Jordans come out, we spend our money like fools
When these whites won’t pay, more than eighty dollars for shoes
We got the whole game confused, we being played like fools
But playa who am I to lie, I do the same shit too
Cause I done jacked me some niggas, I done been on the grind
But playa peep how smart they is, they getting paid off our crime
It’s big business in the 90’s, sending niggas to jail
You can buy stock in the Penn, think they ain’t making mail

(*talking*)
See, as long as niggas keep dropping out of school
To chase this fast change
We doing exactly, what they want us to do

[Hook – 2x]

[Lil’ O]
As slavery passed whites asked, are we really that dense
A man convinced that we are, pressing blacks is a sense
Yeah a man named WIllie Lynch, had a plan for us brothers
He said you keep them blacks divided, and they’ll keep down each other
Put field nigga against house nigga, put dark skin against light
They won’t worry bout us whites, all they’ll do is just fight
And the sad thing he’s right, look how us young niggas trip
Look how we split each other’s wig, over Blood and Crip
Look how we quick to start tripping, damn you stepped on my shoes
Then we mean mug each other, what you looking at fool
Why is it cool to be a killer, fraud to be about peace
Why we can’t understand, too many of us deceased
Do we hate ourselves, some think the mo’ yellow the better
Then compare the way we act, to Mr. Willie Lynch letter
Yeah it’s all a big set up, look in books you’ll find proof
But they won’t teach you this in school, cause you can’t handle the truth you see

[Hook – 2x]

(*talking*)
Man, I’m missing that Lil’ Norris
That Lil’ Gator, that Fat Pat, that Mafio
That Lil’ Al, that Marcus Grey
All my partnas on lock, Big Spider, Big Mark
You know I love y’all, Black Ass hold ya head
Kinfolk, I love you baby
Sean Blaze, hold ya head
Wool, you know it’s on when you get home baby
Lawson I love you baby, all my partnas on lock
All my partnas in the grave, I love y’all
We gon make it through the storm
Cause that’s what playas do
Maintain under pressure, you feel me

[Billy Cook]
Too many brothers locked, there’ll be too many dying
And if I set it up out, then I’d be lying

  • Heit says that he listened to this song all the time when he was in high school. In retrospect, it was rather atypical for him to be involved in listening to such a socially conscious song at that age. He was listening to these things back then, even though he wasn’t consciously thinking about social and political issues.
  • Cheri really liked the singing in the hook, because it makes the song appealing even for people who are not into hip hop music. It has some cross-over appeal.
  • Heit doesn’t like the line, “You can’t handle the truth.” It is overused at this point.
  • Another example of an overused line is from the movie Jerry McGuire, where the woman says, “You had me at hello.” This line has been overused in song and poetry since it appeared in the movie.
  • Cheri’s favorite lines were the following, because they point to the mindset of many people in the community:

    Why is it cool to be a killer, fraud to be about peace
    Why we can’t understand, too many of us deceased
    Do we hate ourselves, some think the mo’ yellow the better

  • Heit’s favorite lines were the following, because it completely runs down the way the system works:

    Or should we keep em all in chains, till we get us a plan
    Well here’s a plan let’s give em jobs, better jobs than we
    No just enough, so they can get the minimal wants and needs
    They’ll still be in poverty, but with they hard earned bucks
    They’ll make us rich by buying shit, that was made by us you see

  • Discussion of how slavery turned to wage slavery in modern day. Discussion about how technology has allowed jobs to be eliminated.
  • Heit mentions how it bothers him when Cheri goes through the self checkout lane because technology is replacing human workers by making you check yourself out at the supermarket.
  • The job aspect of this song reminds Heit & Cheri of their song, Human Resources. People sacrifice so much to be a human resource, while the corporation views them as a cog in a wheel–easily replaced. By the end of life, so many people are left where they were when they started–poor with no assets.

  • Discussion about how companies don’t go above and beyond for the employees, but they expect employees to do this. The companies that are the most successful have figured out how to get the most from employees for the least amount of money.

Song 5: “21 Guns” – Green Day

Do you know what’s worth fighting for?
When it’s not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?

Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

When you’re at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn’t pass
Nothing’s ever built to last
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?

When it’s time to live and let die
And you can’t get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You’re in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

  • Cheri loves that moment of silence before they play the hook one last time.
  • What does the “one” mean before they say “21 guns”? The 21 guns refers to the military salute that is the highest honor. It is unclear why they say “one.” Perhaps they are talking about two different people, “you and I.” So, each of the “ones” is in reference to a different person.
  • Heit & Cheri’s favorite part was:

    When you burned down the house and home?
    Did you stand too close to the fire
    Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?

  • This is a reference to doing something that you know is wrong, then asking for forgiveness because you feel sorry for it. If you had never thrown the stone in the first place, an apology wouldn’t be necessary. When people play with fire and get too close, they get burned. Again, this is a reference to the self-inflicted pain caused by doing something wrong or risky in the first place.
  • Cheri loves how the lead singer hit the high note on the word “guns” in the hook. The song is not oversung, yet is still emotional because of the music.
  • Heit & Cheri also like the guitars on the hook. It gives the song an element of bigness that says, “Pay attention.”


Song 6: “Lighting a Candle for Rwanda” – Souljah Fyah


  • The whole song is very smooth, and she sings effortlessly. Cheri likes the tribal drums and reggae sound, and that there was a specific song in English about Rwanda.
  • Cheri’s favorite line was, “Same old story all over the world, divide and conquer.”
  • Discussion about people misusing the reference of “divide and conquer.”
  • Discussion of Heit’s favorite reference, “black and blacker.”
  • Discussion of the line, “the people with the power had it wrong from the start.” This reference works whether referring to colonizers or to how the latest rounds of violence.