Peb Yog
For my fellow Hmong. May Kevin's words lift you up and encourage resiliency, love, and justice.

Peb Yog (We Are) by Kevin Yang

So ask me, who we are, as if a single sentence could define our existence, as if one page in the history book could speak about our millenniums on this Earth, as if a statistic could do justice to our numbers. So ask me, who we are. Peb yog. 

We are soy milk and frosted flakes for breakfast. We are carnivores, feasting on laj nyoos and qaub, unafraid of E. coli. We are grateful that rice is gluten free. We are vegans feasting only on zaub ntsaub, we are everything in the garden is zaub ntsuab. We are full stomachs and full hearts. Peb yog.

We are lovers. We are love in all of its forms. We are gay. We are straight. We are queer. We are ace. We are hands holding hands. We never kiss in front of our children, but we always kissed in front of our parents. We are black umbrellas and bride prices. We are patriarchy. We are feminists who know better. Peb yog.

We are family. We are married since sixteen. We are divorced twice. We are orphans. We are eternal bachelors. We are single mothers holding down the fort, fathers who cradle children on their backs. We are grandmothers who can still tell stories about Laos before the war. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are siblings. We are cis. We are trans. We are transformers. We are giants. We are five foot five,even though we write five foot six on our driver’s license registrations. We are bigger than our bodies. We are bigger than our fears. Peb yog.

We are superstitions. We are uneaten oranges at the dinner table. We hide our ears from dog’s breath. We only point at the moon with our elbows. We graduate with our doctorates in medicine, but we still rub Tiger Balm on everything. Peb yog.

We are joss sticks and bowls of rice for our ancestors. We read Exodus and become jealous of Moses, how he split the Red Sea wishing we could’ve done the same to the Mekong River. We are prayers. We are chants. We are bruised knees on marble floors. We carry the fallen on our backs and in our hearts. We are alive. We are beating. We are beaten. Peb yog.

We are bruised ribs in Wisconsin forests. We are police brutality in North Minneapolis. We are eight shots in the back. We are not always welcome here. We are always here. We are always hearing go back to where you came from. We are trying to remember where we came from. Peb yog.

We are Frogtown, East Side, Northside Minneapolis. We are Eau Claire, LaCrosse, Detroit, Charlotte, Fresno. We are Xieng Khoung, Nan, Guizhou, Paris, Berlin, Australia, French Guiana. We are Mekong to the Mississippi. We are home, everywhere we stand. Peb yog.

We are ELL in the second grade and the third grade. We are bootlegged copies of Rush Hour 2 dubbed in all Hmong. We are McDonald’s signs on University and Lexington. We are Northside Slang. We are Masters Degrees in English Literature. We are Nyob Zoo Kwv Tij Neej Tsa contestant winners. We are fluent in tragedy, speak about struggle like it’s our mother tongue, swallow hope like it’s mov nplaum. Peb yog.

We are the children of the future playing kaw taub with our elders, a winding game of back and forth, traveling in spirals. We are dab neeg told at campfires We are Hmong immersion schools on the Eastside. We are poems. We are kwv txhiab. We are hip hop. We are Paj huam. We are contradictions. We are harmony. We are Generation 1. We are millenials. We are Generation 1 million. Peb yog.

We are growing. We are complicated. We are human, the same way. We are invincible in our flaws and in our perfections. So ask me, who we are as if you weren’t expecting an entire story understanding that by the time I finish speaking, I’d have to start all over just to capture every new stone that we’ve turned over since. So ask me, who we are, understanding that we have so much more to go, but we’ve we come so far already. So ask me, who we are and we will tell you

Peb yog

Peb yog

Peb yog Hmoob.

Verbal Jint - 보통사람 (Ordinary human being) (Feat. Black Nut)


Verbal Jint:
You know when I talk about rap,
I always have the same posture
But outside of my music, I’m just the same
I’m just an ordinary huam being, I’m very simple unlike my rap style
I become stupid at economy talk even though I have a degree in economics
I’m evil sometimes and I’m kind sometimes
If it’s a night with a lot of worries, I just stay up with drinks and cigarettes
I get jealous when I hear a new dope track
Depending on my condition, I get tired from the long recording sessions more often than you think
It’s probably just plain suffering for the engineer
Sometimes when I go into a clothes shop and I can’t buy nice clothes because of the size,
I get upset and annoyed at myself
It’s a difficult job for me to maintain a body that looks good, I wanna get rid of all my fat
I wanna get more money, get more girls
Sometimes I don’t want to have concerts and I get so close to quitting
But thankfully, I don’t because there are people who listen to my music
Sometimes I beg for sympathy too like I’m doing in this song

If you get on the elevator or subway before the others get off,
People will hit you with your shoulders no matter who you are
But if you’re asking if I’m perfect, then I’m really embarrassed
I say fuck you to others while driving at least once a day
I go to the riverside sometimes to throw away trash
I smoke at places where it says no smoking, I regret it
Of course, I strongly agree with the idea that there should be more places to smoke
It’s probably unexpected that I first smoked after I was 30
It would be a lie if I told anyone that I never had sex with someone I didn’t like, which means I hurt that person
Honestly, there was a time when I used to live a promiscuous life, it would be a whole book to talk about all that
Sometimes, I want to complete my verses with just Hangul like Meta hyung does, but it gets worse
Sometimes, it’s hard to let go of inertia, but my heart’s with King Sejong (made Hangul)
Rather than dead presidents, of course, I’m in love with the money
But I didn’t choose this path because of money, I pray that there will be no regrets when my last time comes

Black Nut:
You know when I talk about me,
Loser piece of shit bitch
My image is always below that of an ordinary human being’s
Everyone points at me and clicks their tongue
But now they put my on their palms and treat me like a king just because I was on a TV show
I got a phone call from an old friend from school
He said sorry, where did the old bastard go?
I remember that all of those good for nothings back in school would hit me in the back of the head instead of calling my name
“I knew that you would be successful from the start”
He asked me to say something because his girlfriend was a fan of me
Okay, I’ll straighten the collars on your shirt once again
Just like when I used to be your dog back in the days
And I’m sorry, but after I talked to your girlfriend on the phone
I got her number through Facebook without you knowing
The shitty life that everyone used to laugh at (엠창 is a term that means “my mother is a prostitute” and in this verse, he meant everyone looked down on his life as if his mom was a prostitute. she wasn’t actually one it’s just a really bad term people use and it connects with the next verse so this is the explanation)
So when I looked up porn, I never looked up milf porn
My dream is just to be treated like an ordinary human being like you guys, but suddenly I’m up here…
I don’t think I can become the same as you guys
Now I’m with Jintae hyung who has a Bentley and I’ll
‘Go hard’ bitch