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2016 - Brave New Voices - Grand Slam Finals: Daveed Diggs

600 young people from across the world take center stage at the 19th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival for a week of workshops, poetry slam, performances, and civic engagement from July 12 – 16, 2016 in Washington, D.C. This year’s festival theme takes it’s inspiration from Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too” redefining what it means to be American in the 21st Century. Powered by Youth Speaks.

When I say “shoot,” you say, “shoot
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

Got a world wonderin’ when it’s all gonna burn
Warnings are warm as the block is getting hot as a perm
Get it straight
My n*ggas ain’t waitin’ for turns
It’s time to take it
Our place in the line ain’t a concern

We trace our lines to the ‘80’s where they threw out the razors
Cuttin’ the white on the table was for ballers and players
Our parents, still in the hustle, burnt the rock into vapors
So hard demeanors when '80’s babies gas on you haters

An era defined by cracks and whether to slip into 'em
We transfit it to the beat, then we eat the beats like communion
Embody these wafers, waverin’
Wave at 'em with the rilo and stay so deep in the cup
We drink blood and we call it moscato
What up, gangsta

You really wanna bang yo set?
When we rep gangs chained to tracks and swing raps like mallets?
Its arm and hammers built the ground for which these crews fight
And don’t none of us own shit, so it’s nothin’ to lose, right?

You seein’ this mobbin’ on your television
You can close your eyes, but you gonna have to listen
Mouthpiece is a gun; the speech is the ammunition
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

The cameras are rollin’ and the lights flash
The footage is golden when the nights clash
Capture it quick; we livin’ the life fast
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

Yeah, real shit, n*gga
Out here fingerin’ the kill switch
The bills kill to n*gga D.O.A.
So when the repo came and sent me Cobain

I’ve made a bed of bones of all the rappers I admire
So that even when I’m sleeping, I can still find inspiration in their fall
Cause everybody fall off
I’m at the fiscal cliff base-jumpin’ with a sawed off
Shoot all these fake fly suckas now; all’s lost anyway
So we can parlay with this molotov cocktail mixologist

Rock sales and bottom bitches
Cock fights and n*gga riches
Rock ice and tunnel vision
Eyes front; focus forward

Feed the phenom your attention
The game can change
I will father invention
Me and Ms. Necessity got a thing goin’ on
I keep fuckin’ that chick to your new style is born

You seein’ this mobbin’ on your television
You can close your eyes, but you gonna have to listen
Mouthpiece is a gun; the speech is the ammunition
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

What up
The footage is golden and the lights flash
The cameras are rolling and the nights clash
Capture it quick; we livin’ the life fast
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

And every Sunday morning we play dominoes with death
Counting spots upon the table
Slamming bones with baited breath
Knowin’ there’s not enough to build a house
The n*gga to your left has the four fold
Waitin’ for dem snake eyes to surface

Here surf sex, there’s sleep aid to the infinite insomnia
A whole generation awake, immune to marijuana
Cause that’s baseline and it’s nice, but the angles are never right
And we spangle the red and white
With the stars of the blues we write

I’ve been howlin’ wolf and sheepish grinning
Look beneath the beating, bleeding, seething city
See, we all been G'ing since we were teethin’
And while searching for the meanin’
Misdemeanors of the fleeing folk
Runnin’ while holdin’ still
Cup of purple posture leanin’

And poets postulate posthumous
The who, what, where, and why
But the 'how’ escapes us all
Cause our souls are too old to cry
So we bangin’ the best we can
And we doin’ it lookin’ fly
And we celebrate independence
By shootin’ guns in the sky

You seein’ this mobbin’ on your television
You can close your eyes, but you gonna have to listen
Mouthpiece is a gun; the speech is the ammunition
Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot / Shoot

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2016 - Brave New Voices - Grand Slam Finals: Daveed Diggs