Since 2004, under the auspices of Young Audiences of Louisiana in schools all over New Orleans, Michael Patrick Welch (Mr. Michael) has pioneered a 'Music Writing' curriculum that he describes as, "... a writing class disguised as a music class." Along with writing and publishing hilarious and critical reviews of albums by New Orleans artists in various alternative weekly newspapers, the students also learn to make beats and, most importantly, compose (an re-write and revise) rap lyrics tackling different themes the students themselves devise.
These songs did not come easy; they were not simply constructed on a computer. The students practiced and practiced their songs as groups, to record them totally live, which meant learning a lot of structure and cooperation. Other than the little bit of guitar and keyboard Mr. Michael added during mastering, this is 100% student art.
released March 1, 2010
Young Audiences of Louisiana (YALA) has served children in the state since 1962. In 2009, YALA paid over $1.1 million to over 220 professional teaching artists like Mr. Michael to work directly with thousands of students in the greater New Orleans area.
"I know my brother is the best, better than the rest/he helps me when I'm in a mess, so I know I'm blessed/ if any fool mess with me he's ready to attack/ cause he shows me all his love and I show him love back."
Track Name: Summertime Swag
"I'm the one they call Tootsie but don't forget the roll/ yeah I shine like silver, but don't forget the gold/ not a nerd like Urkle but I'm on the honor roll/ I'm so swagged-out you can hear it in my flow."
Track Name: (theme song for) U Look Hungry
"Every single moment I think of food/ smelling those shrimp changes my mood/ Eating those yummy ol' fries/ after I'm done, I goes for those pies/ Food, food, it's all around the world/ helping you date, some of those girls."
Track Name: Hard to Explain
"I love hot buttered biscuits, chicken and corn/ i been eatin' it since the day I was born/ I love my mama but she drive me insane/ when she shout 'Clean your room!' I wanna jump a train/ That's why I always go to my Grandma's for a visit/ 'cause I really really love her hot buttered biscuits."
Track Name: No Romance (feat. MC Intelligence)
"I'm in the studio revealin' the beast/ I'm like a doctor to the hood 'cause I'm healing the streets/ and even though the fan on they still feelin' the heat/ and you can call the police 'cause I'm killin' the beat."
Track Name: (Not About) The Things You Do
"It's not about the things you do/ but it's all about the things you say/ you know you shouldn't play these games/ them silly games you play/ you know that I can't hurt you, so that's why you do what you do/ you know I can't kick you out, because I'll miss you."
Track Name: We Need a Change
"Let the monkeys go, they are really innocent/ They are so kind with their prominent genesis/ They are so cute, and they are so fly/ but they are being used like a squatted on fly/ They don;t need you, they already flow/ and this is not right, so let the monkeys go."
Track Name: Take My Turn/King of the Sea
"My name is Sharif, it rhymes with reef/ you can't mess with me 'cause I'm king of the sea/ I own the oceans, I make 'em wanna float/ Instead, I just rock the boat/ the boat crashes, they try to reach the shore/ but they cannot reach anymore/ the sharks are angry, they wanna eat now/ instead, they just make the people drown."
Track Name: Katrina! Katrina! (Oh No!) When I Came Home
"My name is Havion, I'm only nine/ I live in New Orleans, I have a, a great time/ next year I'm goin' into the fifth/ holla' at me if you're not stiff/ and I'll hit you with a whiff of intelligence/ Hurricane Katrina tried to mess up my life/ but now I'm doing (ha) just right."
Track Name: Fischer Halloween Anthem
"All through the night/ when you trick-or-treat you might get a good fright/ candy bowls outside the door/ it says take one but you take even more/ haunted houses on every street/ when you walk in you might feel a nasty creep/ you're gonna be so scared by ghosts and ghouls/ you're gonna be so scared that you'd rather stay in school."
Track Name: Mardi Gras
"My cousin was in the 9th ward parade/ he stopped because he was afraid/ he did not want to walk that mile/ 'till he came back with a teddy bear and a smile."
Track Name: Sometimes It Snows (for Xmas)
"Sometimes it snows for Christmas, down here in New Orleans/ But even though/ it doesn't always snow/ we still know what Christmas means/ It's about laughing and singing/ and jingle bells ringing/ and presents unwrapped in our dreams/ It's about giving and getting/ and never forgetting/ what Christmas means."
Track Name: We Rockin' Jewish
"We need some colors, in the synagogue/ we need an elevator in the synagogue/ we need some seafood in the synagogue/ we need some silence in the synagogue/ snap with it, rock with it, lean with it, bounce with it, preach with it/ all you rabbis gotta teach with it/ do it, do it, do it, do it/ you know we rockin' Jewish, Jewish, Jewish, Jewish, Jewish, Jewish."