Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Borrow” by RA Scion from the Beg, Borrow, Steal EP, available for free download at his website.
Seattle rapper RA Scion and his associated projects (including Common Market and more recently, Victor Shade) have long been known for tackling Seattle issues on Seattle grounds. The beginning of local hip-hop record label Mass Line was a move towards finding community through youth outreach and relationship, rather than individualistic prowess. Search through the lyrics of Scion and friends (Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros, etc.) and you’ll find cries for something greater in the music industry. You’ll find honest discussion of the daily struggles of getting by, dealing with our disastrous economy, raising families, and being selfless enough to try and be a role model to the next generation. With RA Scion’s new EP Beg, Borrow, Steal, he’s taking familiar subject matter to a darker, more provocative place.
“Borrow” is a shocking new addition to RA Scion’s already stellar catalogue. The chorus will give you goosebumps: “If you ain’t been a victim, you just ain’t been one yet.” It’s a blunt wakeup call, but a necessary one. In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for ignoring the victimized, impoverished, and helpless, because more and more are becoming vulnerable. Thus, while it should seem intuitive to help our brothers and sisters, we’d rather just live in ignorance.
“Watch your hardcover slip off, money — give me my paper back. My city stay caffeinated; insomniacs. Act asleep and keep on swearin’ y’all aint heard of us. Town holdin’ Monfort down tough, it’s murderous…” RA Scion is making another call to action — a call for Seattle to bring back the community we have lost amongst hard times. It’s easy to understand how when money is short and the going gets tough, we turn inwards and just try to fend for our own. But now is a better time than ever to show love to those who are unloved, and to build up our city all together, instead of just letting the poor become poorer and allowing the rest to live in ignorant bliss.
But hey, just in case you aren’t really one for lyrics. Don’t worry. “Borrow” is catchy as hell.
RA Scion’s Beg, Borrow, Steal EP is available for free download at his website. The three songs are a progression of similar ideas, and over 11 minutes, RA Scion covers a lot of ground. There’s also a short film that goes along with the EP. Watch it below: