Sixteen Years Ago, I Wrote About What Happened in 2020


I have a pretty odd but curious story to share, as we begin to close the book on one of the worst years in modern history.

When I used to rap from 1998 to 2004, I used to save a copy of all my written lyrics in Notepad. After putting out an album with the Sworn Allies, followed by an album under the duo Infliktion, my next idea was to release my own solo album, titled “Philanthropy”. At the young but naive age of 22, I organized a few topics that were important to me, but I specifically included more serious topics about corporate corruption and racial injustice.

I spent a lot of nights writing and mimicking my rappers that inspired me the most: Masta Ace, Canibus, Phonte from Little Brother, Elzhi from Slum Village, Louis Logic, even Twista for his brisk word play.

A few months ago, I found a RAR file that housed a collection of text files that include dozens of thoughts and scribblings for my unreleased solo project. The first half of 2004 was a busy year, it seemed.

I’m not sure why I titled the file me_oh_my3.txt, but inside that document was a full song I wrote called “The Wasteland”. The track was meant to expose the darker side of humanity.

Reading these lyrics in 2020, a few things come to mind:

  • I didn’t realize how deep I used to get when I wrote songs.
  • I didn’t realize I would literally write about what we just went through in 2020.

“The Wasteland” had three verses and a chorus. The first verse was on politics and violence, second on a pandemic, and the third on racism.

I’ve plucked out a few examples from the song and outlined them below. I also decided to retain the sloppy writing and misspelling below, just for fun.

The chorus, which reflected the overall theme of the song, went like this:

the wasteland
integral plot known to man
we dont even believe it but its part of the plan//
you gotta speak truthful when surrounded by lies
the hidden devil in disguise has no feelings inside//

To rational people, the hidden devil in disguise could resemble Donald Trump. With social media platforms surrounding people with lies.

To the less rational, this chorus – especially the last two lines – could also be perceived as the premise behind QAnon and their perception of mainstream media.

in the age of deception, violence spreading (1)
wars depending on weapons for more than defending (2) //
practically pretending in a population of hatred
religious ancients heed warning of deadly engagements//
world leaders, speak of peace, trust and reason
conduct treason
(3), and have ppl believin they still breathin//
the freedom air, i start to choke in dispare (4)
hands bare, with an expressionless face that shows fear//

  1. In 2020, violence has been spreading like wildfire. Hate crimes, mass shootings, police brutality, and straight up murder on the streets. Doomscrolling truly became a thing for this reason alone.
  2. The AR-15 has been the centre of gun controversy, as it shoots without kickback, fires at a rapid rate, and easily accessible in the US. And as of recent, it’s also one of the most popular weapons used in mass shootings. Sometimes you have to ask yourself: from a civilian stand point, is this weapon really meant to defend?
  3. Politics has become dirtier than ever. The number of world leaders that resemble dictators have grown in numbers.
  4. In May, the death of George Floyd by police officer was the final straw that sparked cultural change across the world. It’s odd how I mentioned having difficulty breathing and being choked here.

the scary thing about it is the lack of defense

anthrax airborne seepin thru air ducts and vents//

filtered masks, quilted to protect women and children (1)

in mass millions, as preservation of our kinship//

while skillful artists of long rifles, fill eyefuls

with red dots before shots pop at the sight of you//

in the shelter, we could be doing prayers at mass

til some satanistic jack-ass laughs when churches blast (2) //

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of every human being on earth, and is one of the primary reasons why 2020 sucked. Aside from mentioning anthrax, my verse mentions that we’re left unprotected by airborne viruses. I have no idea what compelled me to write about this. I’m sure we all know what filtered masks are by now.
  2. A part of me cries every time I hear about attacks at churches. Unfortunately I’ve heard too many that had happened this year. 2020 started off with a shooting the killed two parishioners in the West Freeway Church of Christ in Fort Worth, and closed the year with two church shootings by terrorists in Nice and Lyons.

on the case of, media rights and propositions

viewers and listeners seek to believe the opposition//

the fact that, we’re being attacked by anomilies

focused on, brainwashing policies (1), we often see//

that whether it’s satalite tv or radio

thought to bring you full circle like you were moving in merry-go//

  1. Social media didn’t exist back in the time of writing this verse, but it’s insane to think that today, tech companies like Facebook have built platforms that have essentially brainwashed people all over the world with misinformation, yet have done little to prevent it. And that doesn’t include political interference from other countries.

as a last topic, beyond health and politiks

is the invisible abolishment of racial tolerance (1) //

so came the days, where slave trading was the way

for the whiteman to lay back and use blacks as slaves//

a century later, the races are still divided

colored political activists killed for open eyelids//

to see that the lines, ultimately decides

the final prize for all, one race that survives (2) //

  1. Racism still exists in 2020, and the growth of white nationalism has made it clear that it was never truly abolished. As we work to repair multiculturalism in 2021 and onwards, we need to put a greater spotlight on racial injustice and work towards repairing what’s been done by the exiting administration.
  2. Following the Nazis, modern day white supremacists still thrive along the notion that their race is superior to all. The frightening truth is that their beliefs have never changed, and their platform has gotten larger than ever.

but in the present day, its more so consealed

by news camera black outs and human appeal//

in reality, the thoughts lurk in all of us

cause we do things that’s racial, and sometimes its obvious (1) //

arian nations, still lurking inside the basements

awaiting with the patience to bring it back to basics//

  1. I’ve previously written quite extensively on systemic racism, and regardless if we’re talking about 22 year old me, or now me, my opinion hasn’t changed on this matter. The unfortunate reality is that we’re still fighting systemic racism in 2020.

you don’t gotta agree, to the facts i see

cause we still bleed the same color, in a nation thats free//

in our society, its almost hard to see relations

racial segregation’s at the peak of it’s creation (1) //

  1. It sucks that this line is more relevant than ever in 2020. We’re more divided than ever, and it will take the efforts of all people to see that the only way for humanity to move forward is to work together. It was never truly about winning – it’s about doing what’s right for everyone.

I’m not really sure what compelled me to write about the pandemic, racism, and politically-driven violence in 2004. Some say that when you get the feeling about something, to write it down immediately because there may be something of relevance to it. It may not make sense at the time, but maybe one day in the future it will.

All I can hope for is that in 2021, we can all work together to help build a better tomorrow, centred around peace, unity, and truth.

Happy new year everyone.

About the author

Reggie Tan

Lifestyle blogger. Growth hacker in fintech & blockchain. Futurist. I write for myself.

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By Reggie Tan

RAMONE is a composition of non-fiction short stories and introspections by Reggie Tan.

reggie tan

Howdy. I first started blogging on in 2009, with a dedicated focus on men's lifestyle and stories of inebriation. Shortly after, I was listed as a top Canadian blogger, and over the next decade, I've collaborated with hundreds of notable brands.

Then I grew up. As of late, I've graduated to writing about life experiences, well-researched opinions, and hopefully a few things you might find useful.

This is my memory vault.

reggie tan

About me-Power user of technology. Style guy. Avid gamer. Obsessed with the Cybertruck. Lyrical poet. I like my beats bottom heavy. Madaline is ∞. Only God can judge me. INTP. Birthed in the East Coast of Canada by a pair of cool Filipino parents. Cautiously ADHD. I prefer my whisky neat with a tumbler of room-temp water. Otherwise, a pint of your best draught will do.

I'm a member of the anti-social club. Happily retired from Facebook or Instagram. My verified Twitter account was recently hacked. I do use LinkedIn for business.

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