Prevail [ft. Maya Hatch / prod. by Chucky Kim]

by Magnetic North & Taiyo Na

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about

The song is a call for civic action and an affirmation of resilient community amidst times of tyranny. International singer Maya Hatch provides elegant, torch vocals and Chucky Kim brings sleek, layered production to accompany the first Magnetic North & Taiyo Na recording in 5 years.

The chorus paraphrases civil rights activist Ella Baker and gives a nod to scholars Steve Louie and Glenn Omatsu’s seminal Asian American text to create an intersectional anthem from an APIA perspective. Through storytelling and satire, the verses oscillate between the spectrum of the personal and political, private and public, micro and macro to reveal how the process of democracy is one and the same as the evolution of people. Wisdom from philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs rounds out the song, reminding the listener of the agency and power of all people.

The film directed by Sahra Vang Nguyen is a documentary-style love letter to all survivors of oppression.

lyrics

Opening:
they want you to comply
they want you to believe in them
when we don’t ask why
we just keep feeding them
but there’s more to the story
more to the winter’s tale
like those who came before me
the brave will prevail

Chorus:
strong people need no leaders
we lead our own selves
we are the movement and moment
it ain’t hard to tell
we’ll prevail
we’ll prevail

Taiyo:
when I was a little boy I felt invisible
when father hit the boy he would feel miserable
he was a broken man a life full of broken dreams
it was a coping scheme to live through the stolen plan
this is stolen land nod first to contradiction
undo folded hands unpack hopeless systems
study heavy our vision built from fallen levees
our diction it connect me intuition won’t forget me consisten-
cy in application dreams or apparitions
we can build commitment
free your life for living
be a force of giving
the work is breathing breathe
standing rock breathe
clear that chatter
glass ceilings shatter
black lives matter
and realize laughter
inside the lie is an inner truth
a movement there as a bigger you
me and you

Chorus:
strong people need no leaders
we lead our own selves
we are the movement and moment
it ain’t hard to tell
we’ll prevail
we’ll prevail

T-Vu:
they want us to comply but they telling us lies
news coverage decided by the number of likes
on your facebook feed so much faith in these machines
and these science degrees the bottom line is still greed
how many ways to swipe left do we need
how many ways to dissect the right and left and quote celebrity tweets
how many photographic filters til we like what we see
how many more white men up in executive suites
i’m like you want a leader you don’t want a leader like me
don’t put me on a podium to condoleezza rice me
i’ma say for sure what your keynote speaker might speak
i’m never what you want but exactly what you might need
hallelujah i be that go-getter follower through-er
truth to power nothing truer i will outmaneuver
i ain’t afraid to work leaders don’t need titles or office
or bibles or profits or any kind of paperwork
just a date of birth

Chorus:
strong people need no leaders
we lead our own selves
we are the movement and moment
it ain’t hard to tell
we’ll prevail
we’ll prevail

Bridge:
we are gonna prevail gonna prevail gonna prevail

Derek:
remember that cold day in december
rolling through the corridors frozen to my center
nurses closed the curtains life unfolding in a stretcher
my eyes going dim the heart surgeon puts me under

i wondered will i wake up or was this the last day of
i wondered if i did would i even see familiar faces
i wondered if and when that i wake up if i could be courageous
enough to turn my life all around and fight my demons and failures

well i’m here now i’m here now in the present
living each and every day delivering the message
i don’t rap for the clap encores on platforms
i rap for the platform these rap words stand for

not trying to be the feature a preacher a teacher
i’m just being me a fighter a believer
and i believe in ya look in the mirror and trust
we the people are the leaders the leaders are us

Chorus:
strong people need no leaders
we lead our own selves
we are the movement and moment
it ain’t hard to tell
we’ll prevail
we’ll prevail

Grace Lee Boggs closing:
i don’t see any leaders and i think we have to rethink the concept of leader because leader implies follower. i think we need to appropriate, embrace the idea that we are the leaders we have been looking for.

credits

released November 2, 2018
Written by Taiyo Ebato, Derek Kan, Charles Kim, & Theresa Vu
Produced by Charles “Chucky” Kim
Lead vocals: Maya Hatch
Coda vocals: Grace Lee Boggs
Keys: Jaron Lum
Guitars: David “Dag” Lee, Takenori Nishiuchi

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