Monday, January 22, 2007

In which David is confused by The Second Coming

[Welcome to Mixed Meters - my post about The Second Coming is getting far more hits than Mixed Meters is accustomed to.

The Nike Second Coming campaign interests me because it uses apocalyptic music from the Catholic liturgy to sell shoes. I'm interested in music (I like it) and in religion (I'm against it) and advertising (say hello to Big Brother).

If you're interested in this aspect of the commercial, or if you've actually purchased shoes because of this advertising, I'd appreciate you leaving a comment about why.

I post on a variety of subjects with lots of pictures plus some mp3s of my own music.. If you really like Juelz Santana's music you will think I come from another planet. Please listen to some of my stuff anyway. I invite you to stay and look around.

If all you want the real lyrics to the music, Anonymous has kindly posted them in the comments.]

[The original post begins here . . .]

It's an advertisement from a company known by a four-letter N word. (They sell shoes. I saw this on Fox while watching a cartoon show.)

The images are of 10 tall black men playing basketball inside a very large airplane hanger, cut against other shots of them walking out of the sunset (sunrise?) in a straight line, wearing all white, on a (military?) airbase runway with planes in the background. (I can visually recognize only Kobe Bryant. Is this his product-endorsement comeback? The only other name I recognize is LeBron James. No, I'm not a basketball fan.)

So far, it's a yawner for me. But the soundtrack made me perk right up. Someone is rapping over the Dies Irae, the Gregorian chant for dead people or the end of time or something, against a very heavy percussive back beat. Now that made me wonder what was going on here. (Read about Dies Irae on Wikipedia. Section 5 deals with the musical theme.)

The whole thing is entitled "The Second Coming." Watch it yourself, here. The website tagline is "The game is waiting. The future is now. And it belongs to you. Continue the legacy." Does this, I wonder, sell shoes or religion?

The Second Coming, Nike television commercialAre they selling basketball sneakers to young Catholics heading off to fight in Iraq? Are these particular athletes somehow leading George II's surge?

Rachmaninoff used the Dies Irae in his music quite a bit. (See this previous Mixed Meteristic post about the Iraq surge and Pasadena bumper stickers to understand that reference.)

Here's the "libretto" of The Second Coming (or is it some sort of sacred scripture or prayer?) (as near as I can figure it out):
They say the family that prays together, stays together.
And one that balks apart just falls apart.
So, together we stand, divided we fall
United we form ? and take our ball
Lets move, yes. The birds left the nest,
I'm all grown up I've got a flower to rest. Uh-huh
The best of the best it what we strive to be.
A legacy is what we tryin' to leave.
(?) Let's say good bye to the past.
The future's here, at last, at last.
The second comin'. The new beginnin'.
The truth is speaking. you should listen, listen.
So glorious, victorious.
We take what we want. We're ? warriors.
I'd appreciate if anyone who can identify the music or the singer would please leave a comment. (Addendum: Thanks to those who made comments for the help - it's Juelz Santana and Just Blaze. )

Here an English translation of the first 3 verses of Dies Irae
1 Day of wrath and terror looming!
Heaven and earth to ash consuming,
David's word and Sibyl's truth foredooming!

2 What horror must invade the mind,
when the approaching judge shall find,
and sift the deeds of all mankind.

3 The trumpet casts a wondrous sound,
through the tombs of all around,
making them the throne surround.
Does Dies Irae have a chorus to go with all those verses?

Here's one of my favorite MixMet posts about Iraq, television commercials, religions and virgins.

Postlude-addendum: Here's a press release with details of Nike's ad campaign - find out what they're really selling. Nike's ad agency is Wieden & Kennedy.

Another MM post, entitled Who Is Weiden-Kennedy Anyway?, about a different Nike television commercial they did which used religious-themed classical music to sell basketball shoes.

This little poem, straight out of Mordor, is from their website:
We specialize
in understanding
cultural trends.
As a result,
we have made
like Nike,
and Miller High Life
influence our culture.

Once brands
are accepted
on this level,
they are infinitely
more powerful.
Shoe Sale Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. . .. . .


Anonymous said...

Funny, I've been looking for the same thing, and got here through google. I have found out that it's Juelz Santana, a southern hip-hop/rap singer.


I really wanna get hold of this single.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same thing, this song sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like Juelz Santana is the rapper just so u guys know...

Unknown said...

It's, "Together we form Voltron", referring to the cartoon where five robots form into one.

Anonymous said...

"United we form Voltron and take on all."

"And one that walks apart just falls apart."

"I'm all grown up I've got to fly with the rest."

"A legacy is what we tryin' to lead."

"We're ball warriors."

Anonymous said...

i really want to t this whens it release i cant find it newhere

Anonymous said...

first of all juelz is from the NORTH....he's a new york rapper, from harlem, and the version juelz made is based off of the original cartoon version.

The name of the song is called The second coming:

They say a family that plays together, stays together.
And one that walks apart just falls apart.
So, together we stand, divided we fall.
United, we form Voltron and take on all. Let’s move.
Yes, the birds left the nest.
I’m all grown up I gotta fly with the rest.
Best of the best is what we strive to be. Yeah.
A legacy is what we trying to leave.
Ya dig?
Now say goodbye to the past.
The future is here at last.
The second coming.
The new beginning.
The truth is speaking.
You should listen.
So glorious.
We take what we want we born warriors.
So glorious,
We take what we want we born warriors.
If you fall, get up and try it again.
If you drop, get up and try it again.
If you fall, get up and try it again.
If you drop, get up and try it again.
We tired of being runners up.
[ Lyrics found on ]

We coming up. Yup.
We ready for whatever you put in front of us. Whatever.
Blood, sweat, tears, yeah.
We dripped all three just to get here.
No longer will I wake up and my dreams just vanished.
It’s staring right at me, I must take advantage.
Hard work pays off, you get what you put in.
So why stop now?
Gotta keep pushing. Keep pushing.
We in a fight to the finish,
So why not fight 'til you finished?
Dig it?
I’m my own author, here’s my story.
My life’s been full of pain,
Now where’s my glory?
So glorious.
We take what we want we born warriors.
So glorious.
We take what we want we born warriors.
If you fall, get up and try it again.
If you drop, get up and try it again.
If you fall, get up and try it again.
If you drop, get up and try it again.


Anonymous said...

yup dude above is correct..... just type in second coming lyrics on google and you'll see it.... now that took some creativity

Anonymous said...

The questions that you posed interested me. If anything this commercial is sacrilegious to any form of religion that preaches about the return of someone, or something; Christianity is not the only one that does this, however it is probably the best known.
This commercial is for the shoe "Air Force 25" The first Air Force (Air Force 1) came out 25 years ago. In that marketing campaign all the players who were endorsing the shoe wore white jumpsuits very similar to the ones that are being worn in this "Second Coming" commercial. In no way do I perceive this to be promoting George Bush, the war, or the religous rite in America (which is growing at an increasing rate-- off topic, but just thought I'd mention it-- Check out a movie called "Jesus Camp").
Although this commercial may be sacreligous to established religions such as Christianity, it may be promoting one that people are a part of yet they don't realize they are. The religion of consumerism.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely no Nike apologist, but this ad gets me pumped every time I see it. For the sports fan, there is nothing more rewarding than the feeling of witnessing legends in the making. That's what this spot plays to. That's why the religious theme works. It's epic. And if you want epic, what could be better than the apocalypse?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The music used in the commercial is not the "Lacrimosa" but the "Agnus Dei" from Mozart's Requiem. And yet, you went on and on and on about it...

David Ocker said...

Okay, so you're not so smart but you are anonymous so you're safe.

You haven't figured out that there are two different Nike ads under discussion here on Mixed Meters.

This post is about a hip hop version by Juelz Santana with the Dies Irae theme (not Agnus Dei although the two titles do have a lot of the same letters in them).

Another advertisement (for the same company, different shoes discussed in another Mixed Meters posting can be watched here

Of course maybe there's a THIRD commercial for Nike which uses Mozart's Agnus Dei - wouldn't I be surprised if that were true.

Anonymous, if you ever return to here to check out responses to your post, watch that ad (The Mozart Lacrimosa one) - you can compare short samples from the Mozart Requiem at Amazon (e.g. Here) Then feel free to apologize.

David, Master of Mixed Meters

(P.S. Hey Anonymous! You're right about one thing. I DID Go On and On About It. Sorry to make you read so many confusing words.)

Jonathan said...

Interesting analysis there, but it seems to me that you're overthinking it.

As others have said, the rapper is Juelz Santana. Juelz is a member of a Harlem rap group called The Diplomats. Dipset (as they are frequently called) is known for having a fanbase distinguished more by passion than size; the Dips are outsold by bigger acts, but they have nevertheless achieved a significant level of infamy within in the rap world.

One thing distinct about the Diplomats is that they are very fond of production based on operatic samples. You can hear Juelz Santana on similar beats on tracks like "Santana's Town" or "Dipset Anthem." As such, the choice of music is almost certainly to do with its sonic rather than religious qualities (of which I was not aware). Essentially, grand, deistic, apocalyptic music is a natural fit for the Diplomats' over-the-top aesthetic.

Just Blaze, the producer, is a highly respected New York producer who has worked with Juelz before. He is not known solely for operatic samples, but he is not new to that production style. Hence, when I saw the commercial, being complete ignorant of this sort of Christian and Catholic music I was only hyped about hearing a hot new Juelz Santana track. I'd imagine most other Santana fans would have felt similarly.

It didn't make me want to buy Nikes, because I don't wear Nikes. Nevertheless, Nike is popular in the hip hop community, so the juxtaposition was not out of place.