Sha Stimuli Says Sticks & Stones Break Bones But People Are Dying Over Words (Audio)
It’s been four years since Brooklyn, New York’s Sha Stimuli has released his most recent project, the 2012 EP The Present. Expected to drop a new album titled Lazarus later this year, it seems the MC is using his hiatus as a point of inspiration; much like Lazarus was brought back from death by Jesus, Sha has returned to the music industry armed with a resurgence of energy. All that and then some is featured on what appears to be the forthcoming album’s first single, a more than five-minute record showcasing his new lease on life.
“Sticks and Stones” starts off as a song about children and their first words, particularly the negative ones so often absorbed by kids after hearing them being spoken by adults or in media like television and music (“Kevin Hart says it, and y’all don’t even flinch“). Rapping that he could very well have a daughter in today’s world who “called herself a bad bitch when she was only two,” he turns inwardly and asks “am I a bitch n***a? Is my wife a n***a bitch?” before relaying a story about his wife being a victim of street harassment, the kind that left him horrified that he, too, had participated in similar treatment of women. The song’s hook underscores its theme – “sticks and stones break bones but we be dying over words” – with references to slavery and the complex history of the n-word providing an unflinching examination of language’s power to define identity and reality.
Produced by Atlanta’s Reddlettaz, the song features a break that samples an infamous interview between Oprah and Jay Z in which the two discuss the power of words, namely the n-word. A switch-up in the beat introduces the song’s second half, which begins with Sha saying “I’m tired of saying n****a.” He shouts out Kendrick Lamar, who says “came in with the knowledge that its origin is royalty,” and he extends his lamentations to other words, including “bitch.”
In an accompanying video, Sha explains the inspiration behind the song, which grew from fatherhood. “I got a new perspective on the n-word and words in general,” he says. Heads can learn more about the release of Lazarus from 10 Minutes Late Records.