Search

Kate Tempest’s Cannibal Kids

Kate Tempest’s brilliant rap poem reminds us that the roots of ‘youth violence’ lies in the violence of a world made by the establishment and the powerful. The poem does not excuse the violence of the ‘cannibal kids’ but points out that their spiritual stepfathers are the cannibal capitalists who maintain the structure of violence.

I couldn’t find a transcription anywhere on the web so I transcribed it myself. There were a couple of bits I didn’t hear properly so I put [?] question marks in those places.

‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders afraid of our footsteps
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
They don’t know that kindness is courage
Or that sympathy sings much louder than violence
They are bitter and drained. Eyes of ice stare from figures of flames
They, puff chested, restless, nameless, they carry their pains
To the point ob being painless; these numb ones, young ones
The new latchkeys of London just soaking up that humdrum
That makes them want to run from the state they’re in
Powerless, penniless, feathers clipped
They find eagle’s wings in the derelict brotherhood of gang life
That bang bang life that shouts louder than a sarcastic teacher clapping hands twice
And staring down a frightened nose
See, they learned that respect comes from striking a pose that demands it
But I know respect and fear are not compatible
But they’s a long way from bat and ball
They don’t play they let daggers fall
From blood-soaked fingers while their siblings lie bleeding in hallways dead.
But like wisdom has always said, blood begets blood
And keeps spilling so the pavements are stained and our hearts are grief-stricken.
‘Cause ’round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings. But there ain’t no royalty left

No, ’cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
While that paranoid panic that goes seeping through the granite of the breeze blocks
Is turning our cities into sheep flocks
See me have pity those whose knees knock
The victims of the media machine, them poor souls who’ve forgotten how to dream
See, see that cut-throat mentality, that gets encourages in business
They tell you, to be a success you gotta step on some necks
So big money is made through that ruthless pursuit and while they [?]
Their jaded kids [?]
Now we were born into these blood-soaked cities of industry
Informed of the savagery, the infamy, barbarity of history.
Controlled and contrived and depressed and tested and stressed out and vexed
It’s a message we’ve been fed so we could propagate their system of division, inhibition, viciousness and contradiction
We were suckled on the milk that they soured
Told the future was ours and them disembowelled and dis-empowered
We’ve been disgraced, deafened and deflowered
Our brains brutalised and all the fires devoured
So now they’re shooting guns and robbing cash and trying to claw it all back
But when the whole thing shatters it always starts with a little crack
And them splinters, they stretch out for miles
Pointing fingers at smart dressed men with wry crocodile smiles
But still we get the blame
Told that life is all exchange told that we are the children of capital
That we are the children of apathy, that we the children of this rapidly changing reality
But I say, we learn it from them, from their rules and their ways
For their legitimate businesses deceive, and disgrace
While us, we do what we can because we live in this place
Where the truth can’t be seen in the face.

Addendum: Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended: h Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended:

no-36-end-times

Bookmarks