Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lyrics!: Bunji Garlin

Okay so, I knew that I’d have to get back to this series eventually and someone has presented a most fascinating and timely opportunity to do so. Although not his best all-around performance at the event to date, the performance of ‘Hold A Burn’ at the 2011 International Soca Monarch competition by Trini Soca star, Bunji Garlin, was lyrically DEVASTATING. Soca isn’t known as being one of the most ‘wordy’ genres around, with many tunes coming through in the ‘jump & wave and then jump & wave some more’ variety, but Garlin has always differentiated himself from most with his very unique theatre of words which is quite reminiscent of what you'll hear from his peers in the Dancehall arena. ‘Hold A Burn’, itself, is a song which is, like most of his offerings, very linguistically impressive and in a live form, Garlin, known for his ability to rearrange his songs completely off the top of his head (which is simply a really cool way of saying ’freestyling’) (and in his hands, truly, a one song can have an infinite amount of verses, depending on the situation), put on a show which will not be forgotten. So! In this, the second (actually third) edition of Lyrics!, we observe 10 completely random but damn STERLING displays of lyrical origami from one of the greatest to ever do it - Bunji Garlin.

{Note: I will be back to writing Reggae tomorrow - So please stop sending me messages saying that I'm doing entirely too much fucking Soca}
{Note 2: Thank You}
{Note 3: Not so much}

'Hold A Burn' @ Soca Monarch

“Wi go blaze dem like lava
Start to peel dem out lak cassava
Internet di fyah like Java
Catch dem ‘round di crevice and cornah
Dem caan camouflage like iguana
Mek dem jump up like stage performer
Garlin and Prophet Benjamin go do di deadly fyah!”

-’Fire Bun’ w/Prophet Benjamin

“So let de fyah bun fast
Hold de whole a dem and give dem de boom blast
All bad-minders - spray dem wid gas
Now we go bun de whole a dem like grass
Give dem fyah anyweh dem pass
Mi no business if a baldhead or Ras
Some a dem a wolf behind a sheep mask
From mi seh ‘fyah’
You seh ‘gas’!”

-’Blaze It Up’

“Well I’m no superhero
I’m not de-mon
Di gyal dem have wi in high de-mand
Mi doh know if you agree-man
Mi gyal name Fay-Ann Lyons
So I am she-man”

-’No Superhero’

“I woke up this morning
The first thing I hear is a front door kick down
I look out the window -
And a youth get lick down
Man it’s one set of badness
That take over the street from Port of Spain to Kingston
And it’s just like a mango -
In the prime of your time you easily get pick down

Now everybody want to act stainless
Walking around like zombies - brainless
Bulletproof on dem chest
Yes dem invest
Take you out of yah misery
Lef you painless
Bust out yah capillary
Lef you veinless
And innocent bodies inna big drainless
It seems like the world is in an insane nest
Time to start pray and complain less”
- ‘Lick Down’

“While you are sleeping
Lying down in your grave
Your legacy we will save -
While the crowd jump up and wave
We hold you in the highest esteem!
They give you the keys to the city
And they give you Trinity Cross
They could give you the whole of Trinidad, but you still is a boss
I know if you was here alive
You woulda hug up here wid your wife
You woulda tell dem ‘Bunji Garlin give dem lyrics and cut dem like knife’ “

- 2008 Soca Monarch Performance of ‘Fiery’

“Hey juvenile
How de hell you ah flex like dat?
You walk and ah give away de sex like dat?
You don’t even know yah school work like dat
And man ah draw yah skirt like dat?

She get pass hand-to-hand like pamphlet
Everyday she swallow man like tablet
Thing she start, big woman neva start yet
She know how to heal de bruise from de carpet
She mek experienced man start to cold sweat
She know de split up, de head top and de whole sweat
And she no mind if a man want a little zoom zoom long as she get a little money and a gold set”


“Mek blood cell re-configurate
If you wanna try pirate or confiscate my lyrics one time
You go regurgitate
Accelerate di rate
You will get liquidate
Head get bad get decapitate
Vybz Kartel seh ‘up to di time’
Lyrics hit man like a shot to di spine
Man drop down like a shot from a nine
Pass through di skin then interlock wid di spine”


“If nobody want to go by Trini Revellers to pick up dem mask
Is a boring black & white Carnival going to pass
So full up your car with gas
Get your cooler with ice and glass
Get your costume and move it fast
Start to jump now we in Mas
Everybody done know de code
Start to take up now head fi de road
Everybody get in your costume now!


“Bout ya rob and yuh kill how you act like criminal
Take man life everyday like mineral
Every night, and you ah plan man funeral
How you gone kill dem and give dem burial
How you act like one bad animal
Gunshot tear through skin like cannibal
Take it to the minimal
‘For the thing get bad and end up critical
Put on your mask so you feeling subliminal
Say that you murder bwoy and any gyal
And you done kill many gyal
From Trinidad, Berlin all down to Senegal
Bad man stay original
We don’t act and move like you fi born cynical
Listen to di lyrical
Never gimmickal
I say!”

-Mr. Murder

“They say I am a force of strength and resistance
All by your lyrical heat scorching all resistance
Antonio is my name
The Keeper of the Flame
I ain’t playing no game
I’ll make ya fall like rain
So when you know the heat is too much all you know who to blame!

My five years in this business have made me so spiritually strong
It made me see music as much more than just defending a crown
While they plotting and they’re chatting for ways they can slow me down
I would like to leave dem with some helpful words and song:
I will be recorded in history -
And not for defending prize -
As an ambassador of Soca and the forces I get to rise
The people name me their choice so hard
I raise many people voice
So all meh warriours I waan you mek some noise!”

-’Warrior Cry’


  1. Boom! Garlic is Untouchable... Don't forget the first verse of God D Midpoint

  2. You know I just go back and hear that verse and you are right my friend - It is VERY impressive. But when I do this one, I narrowed it down to ten. He have so many nice ones, I could have done 30-40 probably without much problem if I really wanted yeah.

    Maybe I'll do a pt. 2 one day yeah.