September 21st, 2014

I kind of like listening to hip-hop sometimes – it’s so percussive, and the wordplay can be really glorious.

I am, I was, and will stay myself, not one or the other (x6)

But are you right-wing or left-wing?
Are you a redneck or a Paris hipster?
You’re either one or the other.
You’re a man, or you parry
Cultural or patetic 1There’s a play on words here with péris and (puéri)cultrice and (péri)patéticienne, which I’ve tried to keep with “parry.” There’s another opposition here as well, masculine vs. feminine – both puericulture (madonna) and peripatetic (whore) being feminine roles.
Feminist, or shut it
Either you’re macho or homo
But are you phobic or sexual? 2A similar division here, much more apparent. Even the role of men is divided – macho or gay.
Heathen or terrorist?
Long-haired or bearded? 3These two lines are linked – think of the stereotypical long-haired metalhead, the racially-profiled bearded Islamist extremist.
Conspirationist, Illuminati, mythomaniac 4pathological liar, or sell-out?
Nothing at all, or all, all at once.
From everything to totally undecided.
Hey, changed your mind, fool? 5Apparently a play on the French expression “only fools don’t change their mind”
But are you Hutu or Tutsi? 6Stromae’s father was Rwandan, and died during the Tutsi genocide of 1994.
Flemish or Walloon? 7His mother is Belgian – Flemish, if my research is right, though he grew up in a French-speaking area – another divided nationality.
Arms at your side 8lit. “dangling arms” or long arms?
Finally, you’re racist.
But you’re white, or you’re brown.

Not one or the other. Bastard, you are,
You were, and you’ll remain
Not one or the other, I am, I was, and I remain myself (x4)

Oh, sorry, Mister doesn’t take sides.
Mister isn’t even racist,
Seeing as Mister doesn’t have roots.
Besides, Mister has a black friend, 9… right. Totally not racist
And even an Aryan friend.
Mister is better than all this.
Besides, all this is useless.
And better to do nothing than to do wrong.
Hands in shit or else in the annals. 10Play on words, AND a real opposition too – physical vs. intellectual labour.
Asshole or center of the universe.
Mister shows off, higher than his asshole. 11Yeah, I can’t translate this.
Hey, no rants, gotta be calm, huh.
Gotta be gentle, gotta be cuddly
Gotta be in on it, gotta be on top of it
To look good everywhere, huh.

Not one or the other. Bastard, you are,
You were, and you’ll remain
Not one or the other, I am, I was, and I remain myself (x4)

Not one or the other. Bastard, you are,
You were, and you’ll remain (x2)
Not one or the other, I am, I was, and I remain myself (x8)

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1. There’s a play on words here with péris and (puéri)cultrice and (péri)patéticienne, which I’ve tried to keep with “parry.” There’s another opposition here as well, masculine vs. feminine – both puericulture (madonna) and peripatetic (whore) being feminine roles.
2. A similar division here, much more apparent. Even the role of men is divided – macho or gay.
3. These two lines are linked – think of the stereotypical long-haired metalhead, the racially-profiled bearded Islamist extremist.
4. pathological liar
5. Apparently a play on the French expression “only fools don’t change their mind”
6. Stromae’s father was Rwandan, and died during the Tutsi genocide of 1994.
7. His mother is Belgian – Flemish, if my research is right, though he grew up in a French-speaking area – another divided nationality.
8. lit. “dangling arms”
9. … right. Totally not racist
10. Play on words, AND a real opposition too – physical vs. intellectual labour.
11. Yeah, I can’t translate this.

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