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Attract Hazard

by Sam Nabi

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1.
Gaslight 03:40
Has it really only been a year? I’m going grey looking over my shoulder in fear The goalposts keep moving as we draw near Is this the new normal? Were you hoping to hear A tidy solution for regaining sanity? Not when every fresh outrage is out to break humanity Family ties, thicker than water — we cried For downed boats, drowned folks who tried to flee for their lives That was so long ago when you measure in terms of scandal Pushed into a footnote ‘cause my heart can’t handle All this death and not collapse, depression on my back There was a shooting in the mosque and we all lit candles They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit I’m sick of it, let me flip a switch I’m thinking, “What can I do?” I’m just one person absorbing the morning’s bad news I guess it boils down to what battles you choose Like how do you lose sight of the overshadowing doom? Once aware, you can’t put injustice back in the tube No sriracha sauce will help you if they spat in your food The cops now say that they’re starting to load tasers That’s too little, too late to bring back Beau Baker So trade words all you like but don’t hide behind lies Ready for when the hate-speech grifters arrive How’re you gonna entertain Fourteen Words and claim both sides? Stay golden, we did right to kick Goldy out both times They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit I’m sick of it, let me flip a switch Enough of us disgusted by powerful people Getting off scot-free, they don’t treat us as equal We’re in the opening act, better prepare for the sequel We’ve got a lot of time to make up for women in lead roles To these bros crying foul: huddle a minute Admit it, we got a lot of toxic influences You’re told your whole life that life’s not fair Did you ever stop to think what way the tables were tipped? This is basic accountability, not a witch hunt Don’t throw a tantrum for the cameras when you’re mentioned Don’t start a sentence with, “I’m not misogynist, but...” How difficult is it to just sit down and listen? They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit They turn that light down a little bit I’m sick of it, let me flip a switch
2.
Hometown pals keep leaving, got me grieving Stop my heart from reeling, no need to be needy When you touch back down, come around, no hard feelings This town needs you back but we keep you from dreaming How have you been in the last year? Been a while since you’ve been here Big city dreams but you know now How hard it is to face fear Go ahead and chase your passion It isn’t easy I imagine Feeling trapped in a chasm Spread your wings, attract hazard Hometown pals will come catch you I come off jealous when I ask you How’s the crew, what’s the fashion You grew new shoots, surpassed us You found a bigger pond to splash in You’re so bright, much like past us Naïveté lit the way Just don’t you forget where you came from Hometown pals keep leaving, got me grieving Stop my heart from reeling, no need to be needy When you touch back down, come around, no hard feelings This town needs you back but we keep you from dreaming Trying to keep this scene real How hard the heart breaks still I know your demons are hard to kill You tried to leave them and flee to the hills Selfish, I don’t ever want you to go Every time another one leaves home This little town’s doors close I’m left wondering what broke You’re no one-trick pony I went from open arms to lonely Downtown ain’t the same, homie Don’t care how many drinks you owe me Don’t say you miss home, show me Don’t say you miss home, show me Don’t say you miss home, show me Don’t say you miss home, show me Hometown pals keep leaving, got me grieving Stop my heart from reeling, no need to be needy When you touch back down, come around, no hard feelings This town needs you back but we keep you from dreaming Oh, Berlin, we’re back in the business Long drought, an Irishman’s Guinness Scorsese scripts, short trips Steady medi, retort flips Mending these Crises on Infinite Earths Vices Spawn consecutive births I Am Sam, Penn nominations Man, a betterment verse Twenty nineteen, three seventy-seven Adolescent, divinity’s onset Infinity gauntlet, Thanos snapped Did we lose the critical wrong threat? Steve Rogers, the grade-A mind Of Captain America Mass hysteria, you are blessed, sir Be superior, not inferior Hometown pals keep leaving, got me grieving Stop my heart from reeling, no need to be needy When you touch back down, come around, no hard feelings This town needs you back but we keep you from dreaming
3.
Port City 04:13
You and I will find paradise in a port city Spent our whole lives feeling landlocked, bored In the afternoon we will walk the pier, watch the waves Count the clouds, draw me near, feel the heat, yeah, real pretty We hugged the shore to get here and it loved us back A couple of kids with a backpack and some cash stacks Here in a lancha with people who’re dreaming of half that Try to decipher the Spanish, like if we are really respectful The damage from tourists will vanish Yeah, I’m just being candid — There’s a chance we could wind up On some random island abandoned It could happen, but life doesn’t go just the way that you planned it Forget why you’re falling and focus on landing You and I will find paradise in a port city Spent our whole lives feeling landlocked, bored In the afternoon we will walk the pier, watch the waves Count the clouds, draw me near, feel the heat, real pretty Glassy seas conceal razor-sharp coral reefs Drained of life they could rip our boat easily I don’t second-guess it in the open water, leeward breeze Read the leaves, tell me did I do right by the least of these? Put our faith in this kid revving the engine, he’s seventeen I guess you grow up fast at the coast but I’ve never seen A choppier ocean to hop across and I’m feeling green We’ve got to make some peace with these border guards Try to find some sleep You and I will find paradise in a port city Spent our whole lives feeling landlocked, bored In the afternoon we will walk the pier, watch the waves Count the clouds, draw me near, feel the heat, real pretty We didn’t know this beach would be So rough when we set out But we got a table and played with the labels on bottles The shade is amazing for now The port is a lifeline Hundreds of people a day making the trip of a lifetime No papers, see what the day brings Got to rely on the grapevine So we make time to just listen Arepas con queso and rum, that’s good living Jose was there with us since the beginning He don’t talk much but he’s good at convincing I hope he finds what he’s after Travelling this hard and this far he has to believe in some magic I want to see him relaxing When he settles down, I hope it’s all he imagined You and I will find paradise in a port city Spent our whole lives feeling landlocked, bored In the afternoon we will walk the pier, watch the waves Count the clouds, draw me near, feel the heat, real pretty
4.
Started out Rum Running, now they serve benedicts Props to Darryl and Liz, really running shit Piinpoint the disruptors who force down bitter medicine Evict the grittiness that made Kitchener in again Out on the town in my peacoat Buying rounds and doing shots of Crown with my people Down to earth but I still feel elite, so Why is this guy out here trying to start beef though? He looks me down, says, “What the hell is that?” I’m no denim-leather-plaid, he’s smoking a Camel pack I’m not really a fan of that, I just try to shoulder past Up the stairs and chuckle-laugh, another night at One-Eyed Jack’s Too many silos in this here town We’ve got to get to know each other, spread that love around Don’t come here as conquerors or saviours, keep your head down New money’s suspect, you haven’t earned our trust yet We’ve got to find a way to live together And I believe that we will live forever We’ve got to find a way to live for better And I believe that we will live forever Tent City taking over like, “Did you miss me?” We’ve got a history of leaving people up shit creek This week, the paper sings the praises of the Litts Bulldoze over the bits that fall out from the slipstream No amount of cheerleading the split-screen Can make certain that they’re listening to the missed dreams Of rubber workers grappling with cancer because they mistreat Our folks getting priced out of their homes again this week We’ve got to find a way to live together And I believe that we will live forever We’ve got to find a way to live for better And I believe that we will live forever [STEVEDAVE] Some people, man, you know what they say They think they know it all so they stand at the gate Knowing damn well that difference is the thing that they hate Because it scares them just to think they could get similar fates As the ones they stand on top of to get where they are at Even though those are the ones who are breaking their backs Metaphorically speaking they are swinging the axe Chopping down the things you think and replacing them with facts It’s a fucked up world and I’m telling the truth You know I always gotta do that when I step in the booth When I get behind the microphone is what I should say Because if I’m not being honest, then I’m wasting my day But back to the point, ain’t no half steppin’ No affiliations, no crew that I’m repping STEVEDAVE4LYFE and life is with a Y 4 is like a number if you have to ask me why We’ve got to find a way to live together And I believe that we will live forever We’ve got to find a way to live for better And I believe that we will live forever Coming up among the ghosts of Breithaupt and Lang Out of my way, creative ‘cause I’m writing for days Right up the laneway, we’re getting tainted with grey Who’s to say who made it and who’s faded away? This boom-bap reverberates from oceans away Respect to the MCs from Jamaica to UK Cambridge, St. Jacob’s, grime to dub Slam, trap, I bring it back to DTK love We get shoved under the rug when a rapper comes up See, T-Dot is feeding off talent that we’ve got From CKMS to C-Block we’ve got that Street Hop Spinning at Wax or in the backyard at Steve Mock’s Tight-knit so we take care of our own The right fit for bringing someone into the fold Young and old, respect the hustle you show It’s tough work revealing what’s inside of your soul We’ve got to find a way to live together And I believe that we will live forever We’ve got to find a way to live for better And I believe that we will live forever
5.
Faking It 03:56
The angels are scared of me Diego Rivera, we’re painting the town red This is therapy If you care to see heresy, share in my frequency Recently it has been hard to breathe easily Cards that you’re dealing me Flip up my hand to reveal them, I read and weep Back in the day, you know Jesus would speak to me I found relief and the words came so easily Worry released at the feet of a deity Greeting me like a believer The key to salvation was free to me — So why did I leave? I don’t have a good answer Somewhere between speaking tongues And leaving the spirit behind like a phantom At some point I knew I had left God in the pew Faking it felt fine ‘Til my faith faded I figure I’ll take my chances Save your answers I remember the night I got saved At a prayer circle in the basement They said, “Close your eyes — if you died tonight Would you make it to heaven?” Breath caught in my chest, I confessed And they sent me away with a new Bible Wrote the date on the first page: In the beginning Signed it and sealed my fate Conversion complete, some of the boys and I Snuck a peek at nude models in magazines Peer pressure up against purity Pre-teen masculinity was new to me Consuming fire, fan into shame In the secret, in the quiet I wait How will my fate play out? None but the power of grace remains So I pull a Pascal, playing it safe Faking it felt fine ‘Til my faith faded I figure I’ll take my chances Save your answers I came of age in a church at the top of a hill So we could look down on the city The key to salvation was a bigger building So said the fundraising committee They put a cellphone tower in the steeple I’d say that’s a higher calling Open the door and here are the people Saying, “I call on Jesus to heal the deceitful!” Money’s the root of all evil So lay down your burden, now you can sleep well Always felt uneasy around those deep pockets But the music was good so I swallowed my awkward That’s how I got my start singing Ringing in altar calls to redeem the sinning I threw away all of my secular CDs To keep my mind pure for the blessings God’s bringing If all of the point of this sacrifice Is to elbow your way to the afterlife And one little unrepented sin does you in So you won’t pass your last rites Well, that’s a little much for me I’ma do right while I have life, but don’t hustle me I don’t recall the last time I prayed But I think I’m done trying to ask nice This year for lent, I gave up trying to repent Rather than cut off my hand I’m done with pruning my branches We’re all fallen, can’t you leave it at that? I’m lukewarm, can’t get deeper than that It’ll take a long time to make peace with my past I’m done with disciples conspiring to save me I’ll throw out the bathwater and the baby
6.
Happy Place 04:48
I’m feeling that high hopes happy place No time for haters when the right folks take the reins Make no mistake, worry can wait I take a heel to any snake who would rattle me out of my mood today So what you talkin’ ‘bout, “nothing matters anymore”? Why d’you keep breathing for? On a visceral level you know there’s reason to leave the floor Let’s find the bits of peace amid the war I’m thinking ‘bout people that I love that I’ll see today Maybe we’ll break bread and watch some TV today Oh, you feel that freedom, eh? You wake up and you only see the cage, well I see the key I see linear time stretched to the nth degree I see back when the earth was green And we first developed lungs to breathe Summertime and the living was easy Summertime and the living was easy Well I don’t mean to get esoteric When there’s fresh wounds We as a people need to take care of But taste a little possible Brace for the onslaught And it’s not your fault If you need to process anger to get to love The happy place ain’t a drive-through The happy place can’t find you Until the time is true But when it hits, boy, you know just as well as I do Shout that shit from the rooftops Joy is a viral kind of mood So if you can’t stand the heat, open the freezer door And if you land in hot water make it a cannonball We can hold all these emotions at once, it’s incredible When the world tosses you lemons, pretend that they’re edible I’m feeling that high hopes happy place No time for haters when the right folks take the reins Make no mistake, worry can wait I take a heel to any snake who would rattle me out of my mood today It could hit you on your walk home It could hit you like heat hits popcorn – Bam! Out of your shell, don’t repress the rest of your show-and-tell Be yourself, don’t worry how long you should talk for I know I’ve hit my happy place when I feel like Making conversation with everyone in the elevator Get the moment while it feels right Tell your doubt that you’re busy, call back later It’s a different flavour of life, I play with that savoury spice Catch the wave as it rises as long as I can stay upright Happy ain’t transactional, I’m not paying a price Sometimes it’s nice just to lean into lightness When I’m in I can be more decisive Lead with my eyes wide open with love for the lifeless I’m not always like this, I make my share of tight fists Crinkle my eyelids, society’s not where I’d like it to be All the hurt in the world’s piped right to my screen And all the victories seem so tiny to me And I remind myself to breathe through the grief It’s okay to go through sadness to feel free So if you can’t stand the heat, open the freezer door And if you land in hot water make it a cannonball We can hold all these emotions at once, it’s incredible When the world tosses you lemons, pretend that they’re edible I’m feeling that high hopes happy place No time for haters when the right folks take the reins Make no mistake, worry can wait I take a heel to any snake who would rattle me out of my mood today

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released March 21, 2020

This album was made possible with support from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.

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Sam Nabi Kitchener, Ontario

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