Recently I revisited Main Source's "Breaking Atoms", one of my personal favorite albums. The album still hold up today of course, however, I want to talk more about one of the album's highlights, "Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball". In a clever, conceptual masterpiece of a song, Large Professor uses the sport of baseball as a metaphor in reference to the actions of the police force in our country, or some may say police brutality. Now keep in mind this song (and album) came out in 1991, and it's just as relevant today as it was 22 years ago. I'm going to break down and talk about key lines throughout the song, and bare with me if I happen to get a little political during this post (songs like this will do that to you!).
"Cause to the cops shootin brothas is just like playin baseball, and they're never in a slump"
Well, considering how young Black men across the country have been shot and killed over the years, this serves as a complete understatement. A PRIME example of this was the killing of Sean Bell on November 25, 2006. The officers, undercover and in plain clothes, shot Bell (and two other men, who miraculously survived) 50 times on the morning of his wedding, SMH. In addition, three of the five officers who went to trial for this were found not guilty. Unfortunately, things like this only happen in America, which is sad.
"I guess when they shoot up a crew it's a grand slam/And when it's one, it's a home run"
The more there are killings, the bigger the celebration is, smh.
"...... plus I'm wanna switch/Sides, and step up to the batter's box/Fuck red and white, I got on Black socks (sox)/But let him shoot a person from the White Sox/What's the call? Foul ball!"
This one is pretty self explanatory right here.
"My life is valuable and I protect it like a gem/Instead of cops gettin me I'm goin out gettin them"
Not only is this a warning, mixed in with a possible declaration of self defense, what highlights this line is when a sample from James Brown's "The Boss" plays in the background as Large Pro delivers his lines.
"And legally they can't take a fall"
Large Pro was right about that, and I don't even think this would be an option in any case.
"RBI, real bad injury/But don't be happy you're in jail for a century"
You want to talk real bad injuries? Remember the malicious beating of the late Rodney King in 1992, plus he was defenseless at the same time? That's another story altogether, but I'm sure most of you are aware of the history of that incident. "Don't be happy you're in jail for a century". Do the same thing that the police do, even if it's in self defense, and you'll likely be doing time. But "some" escape it even if there's evidence to the contrary "on the flip side of things".
"I know a cop that's savage/His pockets stay green like cabbage cause he has a good batting average"
Well said right here and it goes back to one of my earlier points, the more killings, the more there's a celebration, but in this case, said cop won't have to worry about a decrease in salary.
"No questions, just pulls out the flamer/(Gunshot) And his excuses get lamer"
I'm sure we have heard most of the excuses if not all of them.
"The item in his hand looked like a gun" (when it clearly didn't)
"He was reaching for my gun"
"He was up to no good"
"He was looking for trouble"
"He didn't belong in this neighborhood"
Shall I go on???
"And people watch the news for coverage on the game/Hmm, and got the nerve to complain"
In addition to the actions of the police, you can attribute this to most of the issues facing our country today. Why complain when you're not trying to help make a difference? Why complain when you're not trying to do anything about it? Why complain at all when you're likely resting in front of said TV, possibly with a "this doesn't affect me, let someone else handle it" attitude?
"So the cops usually torment, I mean tournament/Win em I was sayin/You can't let the umpires, hear you speak and battle like the other kid, you won't be playing/Cause they'll beat you till your ass drop/A walking gun with a shell in his hand is their mascot"
This is favoritism in the worst kind of way, with severe consequences.
And last but not least.......
"Instead of innings, we have endings"
This one line sums it all up perfectly. As we have seen in MANY of these cases, including the Sean Bell one, no action is taken as a warning of sorts, where the person involved could live to see another day and possibly stand trial (innings ---> win, lose or draw, we will all live to see another day), but rather, measures are taken to ensure there will be no survivor(s), whether that person was guilty of a crime or not (endings ---> innocent lives taken for nothing).
I also came to the conclusion that Large Professor is my pick for the best producer on the mic, largely because of this song. I also recently said I would put this one song up against the best song of any MC/producer, respectively. Much props and respect go out to the Large Professor for this classic, and again, it's relevant today as it was in 1991.