Yes. This is a rap song. But don’t jump to conclusions. “Children’s Work” by Dessa is remarkable in the complexity of language and interesting potential meanings. We live in a society with complicated family relationships, which she suggests brilliantly. Her relationship with her brother (does he have special needs or mental challenges?) is described uniquely and fiercely.
I love the rhythms and beats in this song.
It’s intense. It has depth. It will make you think.

LYRICS:

My father was a paper plane, my mother was a wind swept tree,
My little brother is nearly twice my age, he taught me how to meditate,
I taught him how to read.
I grew up with a book in my bed, i got these dark circles before i
turned ten.
Heard my mother with her friends worry it was something she did, to get
such a serious kid.

But I’ve learned how to paint my face,
How to earn my keep
How to clean my kill.
Some nights i still cant sleep,
The past rolls back, I can see us still.
You’ve learned how to hold your own,
How to stack your stones,
But the history’s thick.
Children arent as simple,
As we’d like to think.

Before you came along i was a lone cub,
Fell in love with language, tried to tell the grown-ups
About the storm clouds, the weather in my head,
Hadn’t heard the word for melancholy yet.
Then you came in five years behind,
We thought you couldn’t talk, turns out you were just shy.
Mom said it was serious, dad said you’d be fine.
I thought you were the prophet of 1989.
You were so tender, we thought something was wrong with you.
So patient, we thought that you were deaf,
you were so solemn, so tiny but so ancient.
Ma took you to see doctors, you scared her half to death.
And I made you a library of tiny books with spines 2 inches high.
You didn’t say too much,
But your smile taught me how to quiet down my mind.

But I’ve learned how to paint my face,
How to earn my keep
How to clean my kill.
Some nights I still can’t sleep,
The past rolls back, I can see us still.
You’ve learned how to hold your own,
How to stack your stones,
But the history’s thick.
Children aren’t as simple,
As we’d like to think.

You slept in my bed, and if I kept quiet
I could hear all the voices in your head.

When the wagon tipped,
I prayed over your body, I asked God to take the damage out on me.
10 years later he finally gets the memo, sent it to accounting,
and knocked out my front teeth.
But you came to, and took my hand,and held my eyes and…
Me and you, had a long walk home, so we decided not to cry.
Now we’ve got a grown up love,
And I know that’s how its supposed to be.
Same old story, mom gets Easters, lets dad have Christmas Eve.
But I won’t pretend I don’t remember,
How unusual they were,
The little mystic and his handler.
All some children do is work.
I’ve learned how to paint my face,
How to earn my keep
How to clean my kill.
Some nights I still cant sleep,
The past rolls back, I can see us still.

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Tunes on Tuesday: “Children’s Work” by Dessa

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