War or Peace was originally intended to be apart of an album called The Bandwagon which was supposed to serve as a sequel to my debut album The Bandwagon…..Director’s Cut released in 2010. In its original form, the idea behind War or Peace was my way of informing opposing emcees that as an artist, I’m not one who seeks confrontation, however I am very capable of lyrically defeating anyone who would attempt to challenge me. From this perspective, the first verse is used to inform, in particular all emcees who talk about street credentials, that they will require more should they attempt to battle me in a lyrical realm.
As it pertains to the SOONY project, War of Peace is a reflection of the Dutch arrival to the island they would later name Nieuw Amsterdam. It was not initially the first song for this album. During the final stages of recording for the album, I felt like the song was incomplete and had the potential to do more for the purpose of the entire album. I decided to write a third verse which is very specific to the time period reflected by the song.
The first two verses are written in an elitist/ethnocentric tone, essentially undermining the story of “the other,” which is how Europeans viewed those they colonized during this period of history. Additionally, the two verses represent a back and forth struggle between one’s decision to declare war. In the case of The Dutch who traveled west from The Netherlands with the hope of creating a Dutch trading colony in the “New World,” they understood the necessity of having allies in this new land. As more Dutch traders came to Nieuw Amsterdam, conflict would arise over several issues such as value of trade goods and land use, particularly ownership which was a concept that was foreign to the indigenous people of the island. Foreign diseases and several small wars resulted in the death of a large percentage of people who occupied this territory.
Upon deciding that War or Peace would be the first song on the album, the third verse was written to summarize the songs relevance to the album, the time period it represents, and the first two verses of the song.
`War or peace, war or peace,
if you want war hope you wore your piece,
cause I hammer bars like Thor on beats,
the Bandwagons here to restore your streets.
(Peace or war, war or peace, peace, peace, peace)
Do you want ` war or peace, the sword or the beat,
- I prefer peace but in war I'm elite,
^ I embody the galore, the g-lor^ious^physique
^of^an,^en-during, award^winning,^alluring emcee.
Let's rejoice, in the lord^he is pure, I am he,
this is^literally^holy^shit, the manure, I excrete,
I must say, I foresaw, you would bore me to sleep,
-I'd prefer more, to hear snores, on repeat.
Than^your stor-ies, of^corner^store brawls in the streets,
you're a g, you assure, I am sure^I don't believe,
even if you had Coch-ran, and Ro-bert Shapiro,
-you deserve an Oscar like Ro-bert Dinero.
-Cause^you^are^not^a^mobster, impostor of heroes,
-no originality, imposters get zero's,
^S.K.^gets^the award, for the score of this beat,
while I^get^the reward^for ^the flawless defeat.
`Do you want `peace or war, cease all war,
we shall restore peace on all shores,
^we're the Starship Enterprise, we don't cause no beef,
but if beef crawls, we carnivores.
-My team full of meat connoisseurs,
above Captain Kirk I'm the fleets commodore,
so when it’s time to eat bet's believe we on call,
^fingerling^number 23, all 24.
All 7 days a week,^weak plead (call em off),
let^em^scream, will somebody pass me tartar sauce,
what a feast, only thing it needs, sprinkle crack on it,
-kill the beat, Zombieland, double tap on it.
-Step on,^step off,^step back on it,
^get wright or get left,^reflect on that warning,
team is comprised of Peter's, Paul's,
^and^I'm^tryna be Jesus like, heed to the call.
Decorum, you can't have war without peace -
A lords^kingdom^can't have lords without priest,
Cause when the citizens go poor without meat,
It doesn't take long for swords to unsheathe.
Ballzy mouthpieces calling out beefs,
In the name of God but hardly bout beliefs,^
Believe that these squabs are born without laws
So we are in charge what's yours is our feast.
-Truth be told tis more about thief's
Whose need for more and more means slaughterhouse beef,
It's more bout regimes^these brawls without cease,
Till one^side^falls^down, sprawled out on the street.
Our morals out beat your borders outreach,
Our lords are now Chiefs, conform or count sheep,^
Brick^and^mortar^for walls^to^ensure your out keep,^
Can't enter these walls without your house keys (Nieuw Amsterdam).
from SOONY (Sound Of Old New York),
released November 28, 2016
Lyrics By: James “SoSoon” Gantt
Year Written: vs 1, vs 2, and chorus, 2012. vs 3, 2015
Producer: Marvin “S.K. the Great” Sannon
Sample: Theme song from Disney’s Gargoyles. Composed by Carl Johnson, 1994, Soundtrack Music Associates
Time Period: 1st sighting of Dutch on the island of Mannahatta (modern day New York City)