Friday, September 19, 2003

Jaspora by Wyclef Jean: Dean's favorite song

Howard Dean's favorite song is a funky rap rant in Haitian French creole by Wyclef Jean from his album The Carnival. Recorded in 1997, it is slightly dated, but far hipper than the obviously pandering choices of the other candidates. I recorded this off iTunes using a cell phone, since that m4p copy protection is pretty serious stuff, thus the sound quality isn't great.

I strongly suggest people request this song from rap, alternative, world beat and top 40 format stations as a dedication. You can dedicate it to Howard Dean for helping me take my country back, or for making you feel that you have the power. It is an easy and costless way to get Dean's name out there. Just don't say anything about voting for Dean or that air time might be an in kind donation by the station.

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The English translation of the lyrics:

This is what the world was waiting for
Wyclef who came from the Fugees
Jeremie, Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Flatbush...

Jaspora doesn't respect Jaspora (repeat 4 x)

Ever since I was little, I left Haiti
There's some that went to Brooklyn there's some that went to Miami
Why do Jamaicans always say they are Jamaicans,
But Haitians are afraid to say they are Haitians?
Why? Are you scared to say your name is Samuel?
Why? Are you scared to say you're with Israel?
Why? Every night you are sleeping with Jezebel!
You're scared to say Haitian girls are beautiful!
Beautiful girls are beautiful...

I respect your name just like I respect the angel Gabriel
Here, Diaspora men want to take you to hotels,
Start talking English, turning to playboy channel
They do not respect Israel.

Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora I am going to give you to sharks
Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora tonight we're going to disarm you

Diaspora ha ha o, put your hands up!
I am going to take them and throw them in prison
I will make them know who is Toussaint
I will make them know who is Dessalines
After, we will let them go and send them back to Brooklyn
So he could go to his mother who is cooking in the kitchen
His mom looked at him and said "Man, you've changed"
She said I changed because I am Haitian
They taught me a lesson, they put me in prison.

I see Diaspora women and Diaspora men
There are people who are not going to make it because
they will sleep with the fishes
They lost their knowledge just like a priest without religion

Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora I am going to give you to sharks
Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora tonight were going to disarm you

Port-au-Prince do not respect Diaspora again
Men Flatbush do not respect Diaspora
Men Canada do not respect Diaspora
Men Miami do not respect Diaspora

Pa Kayos do not respect Diaspora
Papa Djoume do not respect Diaspora
Refugees do not respect Diaspora
Men Florida do not respect Diaspora
Wrong things done are going to finish worse
If you disrespect native-born
Done wrong things are going to finish worse
Disrespect Haitians you will get hit...

Jaspora has to respect Jaspora
Jaspora has to respect Jaspora

There has been some speculation as to whether there is a political message in Dean's choice of this song. I tend to think that there is not. He doesn't speak Haitian creole. I'm sure he just likes the mood and sound of the song and it goes no deeper than that. It's pretty sad the a politician can't seem to have a preference that is superficial and simply aesthetic in nature. They asked him his favorite song, not his most politically significant song, or the song which would attract the most votes. He answered 'Jaspora' because he liked the way it sounded and he might even listen to the album often; how refreshing is that?


At 3:40 PM, Blogger Daniel Denis said...

Thanks for translating the song. I am listening to it so differently now. I am French Canadien. Haitian Creole and French languages are similar but I really needed your translation to understand the song right.

Bless up.


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