The Deep

The Deep is a song from the band clipping. from their album Splendor & Misery. It is an afrofuturistic song about the underwater civilization Drexciya which was founded by unborn children of pregnant African women who where thrown off slave ships. According to this myth the children learned how to breath underwater in their mothers’ wombs and adapted a live on the bottom of the ocean.

In the first paragraph an electronic voice explains how Drexciya was formed and the voice is accompanied by underwater sounds.

“Our mothers were pregnant African women thrown overboard while crossing the Atlantic Ocean on slave ships. We were born breathing water as we did in the womb. We built our home on the sea floor, unaware of the two-legged surface dwellers until their world came to destroy ours. With cannons, they searched for oil beneath our cities. Their greed and recklessness forced our uprising. Tonight, we remember“

After the last powerful sentence of the beginning passages a slow beat turns up. The slow beat accompanies the second verse and makes everything seem peaceful and without any troubles from above.

„Dreaming dead asleep and keeping time
Y’all heartbeat, deep, y’all heartbeat, deep
And all the fishes had they eyes bugged out
‘Cause y’all dancing underwater and y’all don’t get wet
And the dark smelled sweet and y’all tails touch reef.“

In the third verse the ocean gets warmer and the beat gets quicker. The denizens of the underwater kingdom feel that the water suddenly gets warmer but first they debate if this is actually a problem where you can see a parallel to the global warming debate which is going on in real life. Additionally they deny that it could be the „two-legs“ who are responsible for it. After all their mothers were „two-legs“ and so they are like themselves.

„Y’all remember saying how it couldn’t be them two legs
‘Cause y’all came from two legs
And y’all mama’s would’ve loved y’all if they could’ve breathed
But they wasn’t ready for the deep“

As an attack comes and a bomb hits the ground of the ocean the beat again gets quicker and the denizens of Drexciya have no doubt anymore that this is the fault of the „two-legs“. They are attacking the kingdom for oil, the „black gold“, like the western world attacked Africa for recourses and manpower.

„And them coral castles crumbled ’cause they wasn’t quite enough
And conversation used to break like the floor quake
Like the bleached bones and the fin friends fled from they home
But the blasts wouldn’t stop ’cause they wanted black gold
And them no-gills had to feel it ’cause they couldn’t be told.“

As the bomb hits the kingdom breaks down, castles made out of corals crumble and the denzies of Drexciya die in dozens because they have no means of defense. Shortly after that the regime the underwater world changes and a more militant ruler comes to power. The beat is getting quicker and quicker and they decide to swim up and fight back.

„If the two legs wanna wake the dead
They gon’ have to bring more fire, y’all is closer to the earth
So deep and y’all was talking how to get up in they heads
And got to bein’ real inspired circumstances of the birth
Has got y’all feeling like an army, better yet a navy“

In the next verse the denizens reach to surface of the ocean and strike back even though they pose challenges like the sun and wind, which they have never experienced before. The denizens fight by riding the waves on top of the „two-legs“ and drowning them. But at the same time they hurt themselves too because after all the „two-legs“ are their brother and sisters.

„And then y’all cry too ’cause y’all recognize mama
In the faces of the ones that y’all were terrorized
They were sisters and brothers
They were the babies born up out the water“

The track ends with the water-dwellers conjuring a massive tidal wave as pay back for “the blast, the drill and the gas”, wiping out the two-legs once and for all.

Conclusion

The reason why I chose this song is because it covers important topics. With depth and finesse clipping. is diving with various metaphors into the brutal history and present of Africa, how it got and still gets exploited from the western world. At the same time though the song shows strength and hope, especially in the ending were the oppressed is wiping out the oppressor. However the freedom and triumph of the oppressed doesn’t come without a price, without hardship and human things which must be shed behind them.