The 5th L

A Baltimore-based spoken-word urban poetry group featuring the compositions and performances of David Ross (Native Son) and Femi Lawal (The Dri Fish).

Violence, Is It Worth It?
is a re-release of The 5th L composition “Jamal.”

The 5th L has worked extensively with the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Violence Prevention Program encouraging youth to not engage in violence.

Check out the 5th L's website:

Violence, Is It Worth It? (Lyrics)

Yup I died
With both eyes on the jackpot

I could almost taste the light glaring at the end of the alleyway or
Maybe it was just God calling my name

Nah, I was 26 and black
Such an oxymoron, surprised I grew past the cubic foot of a forearm

A grown man yet so young
So much more to live for and there I laid, degraded,
Lead pellets sprayed my body with a count half my age

The wages of sin is death
Two grand in my pants
A fat piece around my neck
Tried to trade it in purgatory's pawn

Didn't dawn on me it wasn't nearly enough to get my life back
Never owned a bank account so I couldn't write a check

But that didn't matter
Being short on breath, short on time,
Maybe I couldn't read or maybe I missed the sign on the way in
No purchase, no return,
no cash, no credit
We only take d.o.a.'s with your c.o.d.

I went m.i.a. on my p.o. see?
Like if I didn't see jail bars
that would mean I got free

Flashbacks in the mind
Scrolling through memories of good times yo,
Family and friends will miss you
But only bullets kiss you
Ripping through tissue

Never thought the game would get you, did you?
And today was a good day too,
Made a couple grand on the packs I moved but
Was it all really worth the life I pursued?
Was it all really worth the life I pursued?

Was it all really worth it?

Will you be here, when I need you?
Or will it be too late when I'm gone?

These days
It don't take much
To earn multiple gunshots to the chest

Shock Trauma

Laid that boy to rest
Price tags on toes come cheap
You'd think lfe would be
a bit more expensive

Died hood rich
The deceased still had two stacks in his pocket
Passed with a diamond studded
platinum chain around his neck
When cash rules everything
Money makes the world go round

Being broke stagnates
Some want a piece of the pie
And the riches that come with it

Thugs still mad
They really don't own
the streets they represent
Yet spill their blood on pavement
Looking for that cash advancement
Waiting on that 40 acres and a mule
Their fore-fathers forgot to collect

When life is on lease
And you missed a payment
Even your "mommy" told you
Can't take it when you're gone
Not even in Egypt
A fortune spent on your casket
Now you're in the afterlife
And still in debt

So if a young man is killed in the inner city
And no one is there to bare witness
The question is
Did he really exist?

Huh, he sure was pressed to make ends meet though
Couldn't even read the one way sign
That leads to a dead-end street

Still there's no return policy
With your death certificate
Cause it's not a receipt.

But was it all really worth it?