Every week day, 9-5 gruntsmen drag themselves out of bed to do the dirty work of corporate slugs. Somewhere along the line, we as a society smartened up and gave ourselves Labor Day in honor of that dirty work. In honor of the laziest day of our calendar year (rightfully so), TRU has compiled a list of eight workers anthems; one for each hour of the work day. Kick back in your La-Z Boy, sip on ice-cold lemonade, and enjoy.
9-5ers Anthem- Aesop Rock
Lyrical acrobatics and contempt for the 9-5 way of working are the highlights of Aesop Rock’s theme music for working stiffs. Aesop’s frustration and anger is undeniable, and is perfect strike-starting music. How could it not be, with a line like: “We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day are wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn’t us.” Get ya picket signs ready.
Git Up, Git Out- Outkast f/ Goodie Mob
This monumental collaboration between two of the south’s finest groups (okay, a duo and a group; sue me) uses personal narratives and slow, funky production to speak on the importance of making something of onesself. Cee-Lo provides an especially memorable hook with the lines: “You need to get up, get out and get something; don’t let the days of your life pass by/ you need to get up get out and get something; don’t spend all your time tryna get high!”
If I Had- Eminem
Before the picket signs for his wicked rhymes, his war with Benzino, and his potshots at Mariah Carey, Marshall Mathers was a struggling white rapper in a genre dominated by black artists. On this cut from his debut, Em takes a break from his Slim Shady persona to air out his daily hardships. Among them are his minimum wage jobs, where he laments being “fired everytime I fart and cough.”
Spaceship- Kanye West f/ GLC and Consequence
On Yeezy’s debut album, the Louis Vitton Don pines for a spaceship to save him from his graveshifts at the Gap. Kanye vents frustration about being displayed as the “token blackie” and gripes about being racially profiled as a thief. His tale would be more sympathetic if it weren’t for the line, “Yeah, I stole, never got caught.” GLC and Consequence also contribute solid 9 to 5 tales of their own.
Tell it Like it Is- Ludacris
This cut from Luda’s semi-grown up album, Release Therapy, focuses on the perils of the music industry. Rapping about all the extra issues and problems that come with being an emcee, Chris gives aspiring artists an instruction manual for survival. Of course, his powerful delivery and stellar southern sound are present.
What a Job- Devin the Dude f/ Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000
With a funky flow and laid back production, Devin the Dude abides by his love for hip-hop by breaking down the pros and cons and the work of hip-hop. Snoop Dogg drops by to spit a hot sixteen, and Andre gives a shout out to the unsung studio workers who make our beloved music possible. He also scolds music pirates: “I know you’re saying, they won’t know, they won’t miss it/ Besides I ain’t a thief they won’t pay me a visit/ So if I come to your job, take your corn on the cob and take a couple kernels off it, it would be all right with you? Hell no!”
Worker’s Comp- Mos Def
In just over two minutes, the Mighty Mos sings and raps his way through a lament of America’s economic crisis. It’s not all bleak, though. Backed by excellent production, Pretty Flacco offers encouragement to the working class: “Tell the tough guys we tougher than tough times/and nerves don’t snap when the clock touch crunch time.”
Workinonit- The Roots and J Dilla
Black Thought and Dice Raw body a characteristically dope Dilla beat from his magnum opus ‘Donuts’ while breaking down the psychology of work. “Real people do real things for money often,” raps Black Thought. They also give a shout out to everyone from drug pushers to millionaires for their respective paper chases.
That’s the list. Now, what are you still doing up? Go back to bed and sleep ’til 8 a.m. tomorrow.