Translation: Frank Lyrics about Shanghai Lockdown in “New Slave”

A YouTube video performance of “New Slave” 《新奴隶》, a song by -based rapper Astro, has drawn attention for its frank lyrics about the chaos during Shanghai’s recent lockdown. After being widely circulated on the Chinese internet and social media last week, it was blocked on Weibo, and the YouTube video is now unavailable due to a copyright claim by the artist himself. The initial YouTube video description read: “Written on 03/30/2022, a day before the closure of Puxi, Shanghai. Feeling uneasy.”

The YouTube video link now leads to a statement of clarification, in both Chinese and English, in which Astro explains, “I was writing this song to call for more reflections and more discussions, facing the special time and problems that we are having now. However, it was never my intention to bring ungrounded criticisms […] I wrote this song because of the deep sorrow I felt when I saw all the and realized that there is little I can do.” He states that his decision to shut down the public version of the song on YouTube was due to concerns about the spread of the video on various platforms and in unintended contexts, and promises viewers that he will continue to comment on life and to create new content.

CDT editors had archived the lyrics prior to the video’s removal from public view, and we have translated them below:

Title: “New Slave”

Words and lyrics: Astro

Beat: Koin Beat

 

When power imprisons free will and freedom

and the green lane’s locked down and blocked

When the uniformed care only about their careers

and don’t give a shit about life or dignity [repeat]

 

When the healthy are shut up at home like they’re sick

and shut out the really sick

When “just following orders” is an excuse to do harm

and turns them into soulless zombies

 

Their disdain for life, expressions unfazed,

for a second, they forget they’re peons, too

Their arrogant voices, their arrogance shouts

If you don’t got the Rona, your sickness don’t count

 

“Humane” society does heartless things,

stares daggers at hopeless human beings

Minds too small for the vows they swore

Hands too dirty, reeking of blood

 

Shit, it fucking stinks out here

Rotting souls pollute the air

The “highly-evolved” can be crueler than beasts

and the “dog-eat-dog” is worse than the virus

 

Orders from on high

push the rest to one side

Except for the powers that be

other powers go unseen [repeat]

 

That’s right, in this age of light

house prices get higher, standards get lower

That’s right, in this age of prosperity

the law of the jungle kills off human nature

 

Open your eyes, open your eyes

Why does this vicious cycle keep repeating?

Open your eyes, open your eyes

How many inhuman humans are getting a free ride?

 

Open your mind, just open your mind

Under these fancy skyscrapers, how much pain and evil hide?

Open your mind, just open your mind

Who’ll be filling these trenches after the wheels roll by?

 

When power imprisons free will and freedom

and the green lane’s locked down and blocked

When the uniformed care only about their careers

and don’t give a shit about life or dignity [repeat] [Chinese]

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