Background


CIRCA91
Ruby Ibarra (feat. Ann One)
Producer: Smiley
2017

Verse 1:

They sense the vibe in my vibrato, love the skin I’m in but I know

That’s the reason that my father always drownin’ down a bottle

Mama I’m tryna make it, but the odds against me

These people say to fake it, but my selling point's me

Pray for me, don't praise me

I got too many inner demons that constantly doubt and always try to break me

They wonder why I hate me

I don’t see myself in places of power but I’ve been thinkin’ like it lately

I’m feelin’ like I’m 8 feet

With two tongues, my words aimin like the guns that they point at kuya's face see

Ate can you paint me

Is what my youngest sister’s sayin’ ‘cuz we never seen her face up on that TV

That’s nothin like me, until, I don’t like me

I mean, is it likely, So I, I just write me, in these, poems nightly

Which means, I just fight me, between songs that might be

A scene from my life, see, I seen

My head above the water, so how will I raise a daughter?

When the currency don’t offer, same piso to a dollar

I’m the daughter of 2 immigrants been workin that blue collar

And these days they barely talk unless they dream across the water

 

Hook:

I’m tried of playing just the background, background

But when I’m down, it go back ‘round, back ‘round

I never been the type to back down, back down

I bounce back and I’m back now, back now

I never been the type to…

 

Chorus:

I don’t know why sometimes I feel blind

They say you’re gone all the time, but trust it weighs on my mind

Maybe all I know is I’ll make it this time

You see, I do this for mine, trust I’ll make it this time

 

Verse 2:

I make my mind stretch for every line that I might etch

Thinkin’ ‘bout the next rhyme like how come I ain’t signed yet?

My dreams ain’t farfetched, I’m feelin like this is the last stretch

Runnin’ through that finish line, been runnin’ from the past yet

So bare with me the wait to, my magnum opus debut

Mic check, first take it’s Day 2, we live, we never take two

Swimming’ the high tides, we swallowing our pride

We buy into their lies, I’m silent with my cries

We trying to cut ties, a citizen part time

She holding a 9-5, he holding a nine, five times

He couldn’t swallow pride, so he called it a piped lie

My father, he don’t cry, he talk, but I don’t try

The music flowing deep under the “flat” nose and skin “tones”

“Sharpest” of the “accents,” but we at home in these poems

Thicker than the fumes in the Manila sky, broken dreams and severed ties

Came here when we broke the sky, check it

I’m the “food for thought” “heavyweight,” make the letters levitate

Trying to be one of the greats, trust me, time will tell my fate

So tell me, Ruby, tell me, why the hell you still afraid?

Your only enemy is you and that’s from yesterday/

 

Repeat hook and chorus

 

Spoken word:

I scrub. Over and over

With each stroke a technique masterfully taught to me by my colonizers

That skin as brown as my father’s hands and as deep as the lines around my mother’s eyes

Nose and skin

Eyes and smile

Name and accent

Indicators of where I came from, past the Pacific Ocean where the air is a bit more tight and the sun's rays a bit more strong

I imagine the distant days when we'd bathe in the rain, the water naturally warm as it fell on my skin

I would look down and see my reflection in the puddles that would form beneath my feet

Distorted - but perfectly clear

Brown body gleaming in the reflection

But scrub harder

They say papaya soap only works when it burns. And It burns deep. So scrub harder

When we played outside on hot days, our mothers would say we smell just like the sun

You don’t wanna be in the sun... They all say

We are taught to fear darkness but ironically find solace in the shade

But this skin, was built to change colors like chameleons

This skin was built to absorb the sun til it blooms

This skin that many spend their days hating, was built to reflect the stories of our ancestors

You don't want to smell like the sun!

Ruby stay out of the sun!

So scrub harder!

Scrub harder!

I look down now

And this time

I see my color wash away with the water

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