Gil Scott-Heron – “The Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash)”
[Vocals/Words By: Gil Scott-Heron]

The Ghetto Code (Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash)

How’s everybody? How’s everybody doing? Everybody alright? Hope everyone is OK. Funky vibrations are still showing, yeah, are still showing and anxious to see you. I am glad that so many of you could come out and join us this evening to share vibrations with us. My name, of course, is Gil Scott-Heron, and my, my organization and my family is called The Midnight Band, and we are here this evening to, to bring you some midnight vibrations. We are convinced that midnight is the first minute of a new day, and we are further convinced that we are entitled to a new day, and we are further convinced that we are going to have to establish the new day by communicating a little bit more closely with one another. So we have, we have been spreading the word about some vibes that concern communication from place to place, and we have been trying to get into the New York vibration as it concerns this communication. What we are talking about has evolved as The Ghetto Code.

The Ghetto Code, often times referred to as “Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash”
Sounds a little bit, people used to tell me, said it sound like the Morse Code
We call it, more so, “The Remorse Code”
The Ghetto Code, the “Damned If I Know”
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash” means “Damned If I Know”
And the reason this has become such a popular phrase in different black communities around the nation is because
There are more and more things black people thought they had a handle on
That they have seen sort of slowly slip away from them
And they be saying, “Well, damn
What happened to that?” “Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash huh?”
“I’m Damned If I Know.” For example
We started to reinvestigate astrology, found out that it was an ancient artform of science
It’s something that we can depend on more so than Walter Concrete, and
And got into a vibration related to how the things were done in terms of astrology
Sun’s over here, the Moon’s over here, people started to memorize their charts
Organizing their days, they’re planning, they are reaping, and [?]
Then they found out somebody had been messing with the calendar
Because there’s a month in our calendar called July
That was slipped in there to honor Julius Caesar
And there’s a month in our calendar called August
That was slipped in there to honor Augustus Caesar
And there’s a month in our calendar called September

It means “seventh” in Latin, but it is the ninth month in our calendar
People started saying, “Well, damn. Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash”
They found out octo—involving themselves with the romance languages—”octo” means “eight”
“Ocho”—very similar to “ocho”—October, the tenth month
“Nove”—or “nueve” for “nine”—November, the eleventh month
“Dece”—or “diez” for “ten”—December, the twelfth month
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash,” “Damned If I Know”
And I believe that problem has originated right here, in February
Nothing personal, for those of you born in February, but there is something wrong with February
I have been watching February closely
And I have never quite been able to get a grasp on where February is coming from
Because it would seem that it’d take at least thirty days for it to be a month
The precedent had been established by the other eleven months having all at least thirty days
February, you get twenty-eight three years in a row. If you make it, you get a bonus
February 29th—why don’t they make that January 32nd?
[?], it’s because they know there’s something wrong with February, and they’re trying to even it out while nobody looking
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash”
This is like, if somebody was to give you four weeks and say, “Here, you have four weeks of your very own”
You take ’em home, unwrap ’em, you find out one of the weeks only has five days
It’s not that you have anything against that week
It’s just that you know white folks—ain’t gon’ be no weekend
You gon’ go home Friday night, get up the next day. It’s Monday, you gon’ have go to right back to work
You say, “Well, Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash
I got shortchanged. I had a week, but it wasn’t quite a week
Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash”
The same thing happened to me in terms of looking at the alphabet
The alphabet was originally called “The Alpha Beta”
And it supposed to contain all of the symbols—and that’s important—all of the symbols from Alpha to Omega
Alpha was the beginning, Omega was the end
Alpha was the letter “A,” the beginning. Omega was the end, the letter “Q”
But, “R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z”
They did not say that from Alpha to Omega was from beginning damn near to the end
They said, “From beginning to end.” I took their word for it
The end was Omega, and that’s “Q”
And they all these extra letters, which means there may be some words out there that don’t mean nothing
Somebody very soon may come up to you, using the alphabet as it was originally intended
From Alpha to Omega, and something like, “[*gibberish*]
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash,” “Damned If I Know”
I ain’t got the, I ain’t got the papers
The letter I would like to go into with you very briefly is the letter “C”—it is one of my favorites
Oh, it’s very underrated in terms of letters, you know?
Very people sit around and comment on the virtues of the letter “C”
But it is the first letter in “Cash Money”
It is the first letter in “Constitution”
And it is the last letter in “Music”
It is the first letter also in “CIA”
The CIA and FBI, their noses pressed against our windowpane
Ears glued to our telephone. Why won’t they leave us alone?
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash,” “Damned If I Know”
The CIA and FBI, their noses pressed against our windowpane
Ears glued to our telephone, trying to pick up on The Ghetto Code
Old-fashioned Ghetto Code, you remember, you used to jump on the telephone, say
“Hey, Bree-is-other me-is-an, how you fe-is-eel?
Is everything all-re-is-all-right?
Well, why don’t you, uh, well, why don’t you tell me about this pe-is-arty to-ne-is-ight? You going?
We-is-ell, why don’t you bring me a ne-is-ickel be-is-ag?’
[laughter]
“Yeah, and if you get back [?], why don’t you bring some be-is-am-be-is-oo so I can re-is-oll all these up. I appreciate it”
I know whoever it was they was paying to listen in on my phone had to be saying, “Well, Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash. Damned If I Know”
The “C” that reminds you of “CIA” and “Cash Money,” they’ll come together
In a case that concerns itself with Howard Hughes
The CIA gave Howard Hughes 400 million dollars cash money
Give or take a million or two, you understand?
And told Howard Hughes that he was to build a salvaged ship
The salvaged ship was going to called the Glomar Challenger
And the Challenger was going to go out in the Pacific
To try and recover a Russian submarine that sank in 1968
The reason our government was so interested in this submarine was because of the “C”—

We assumed that Howard Hughes, indeed, did build this ship and equipped it with a giant magnet
We would not assume that Howard’d come back with a little bitty magnet for all that money
But the submarine that sank to the bottom of the Pacific had broken into three parts
The magnet went down, brought up the first part of the submarine, had onboard seventy dead Russian sailors
Well, no real advantage there
I mean, it hadn’t been worth a dime to the Russian—I mean, whatever it is
нет rubles—they… whatever it is Russians say when that means they ain’t putting up a dime
Which means that, in certain instances, we could see ourselves having been overextended
Magnet went down, brought up the second part of the submarine, had onboard two bombs
Two warheads, two Polaris-type warheads, two nuclear weapons
Point is that this country already has plenty of bombs
Matter of fact, they have little bombs, big bombs, round ones, and square ones, and have been stockpiling them for quite some time
To the point where they now have damn near one bomb for every individual
And if you don’t like the way they’re running things and you call them up and tell them, they may send you yours
Neutron, oltron—whichever kind of tron—electron
The vibe related to the third part of the submarine and the m-m-important and mysterious Russian codebooks
But before the magnet could go down to get the third part, somebody said, “Hey, wait a minute
You know, that Russian submarine went down in 1968
And we’ve been trying to pick it up now for the last six years
And everybody knows that when you lose your codebooks
You change your code”
Which means that, for 400 million dollars, we have recovered seventy dead Russian sailors, two bombs we did not need, and, perhaps, Russian codebooks for codes the Russians weren’t even using anymore
Somebody said, “Why in the world we spend all that money?” Somebody else said
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash. Damned If I Know”
Cash Money may not be what you need right through here
You might need some explanations related to other activities—like, the “C” might remind you of “Cuba”
The “C” in “Cuba” and the reminiscence of that reminds us that the CIA undertook a very secret project towards Cuba called the Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was very much repelled
But it did reveal “C”—clues—clues that had to do with assassination attempts on a man whose name starts with “C”—Castro
The “C” might remind you of “Chile”
Over eight million American dollars spent in Chile by the CIA to help overthrow a man named Salvador Allende, who just happened to be a “C”—communist
The “C” might remind you of the “Canal”—say what?—the Canal. The Canal? The Panama Canal?
There seems to be some problem in dealing with the geography of the Panama Canal—it’s not really that complicated
There’s a little bit of Panama over here, then there’s some Canal
Then there’s a little bit of Panama over here, but the Panamanians do not control the Canal
You could think of it as if Amtrak came through your crib
You would at least want to know the man who was punching the tickets and have a very tight relationship with him
The “C” that reminds of the “Canal” could remind you of a “covert operation,” headquarter base: CIA
Information related to “C”—Columbia
And assassination attempts and destruction attempts on a man whose name starts with “C”—Che Guevara
The “C” might remind you of the “Congo”—say what?—the Congo. The Congo?
The “C” that reminds you of the “Congo” could remind you of how geography sometimes changes
Looking at the map of Africa today, where you see the word “Zaire,” you would, at one time, see “Congo” or “Belgian Congo”
Remembrances of this would remind you of a man who stood for African unity, a man named Patrice Lumumba
But somehow, but somehow Patrice Lumumba was assassinated during a mysterious “C”—”coup d’état”
Other things that haven’t been solved and haven’t been quite explained to anybody’s satisfaction like
Was that Lee Harvey Oswald over there or was it Lee Harvey Oswald over there?
Was he 5-feet-8, 165 pounds or was he 6’2″, 205?
Was he photographed for his passport in Dallas or was that Moscow?
Arthur Bremer? Was he from Maine, Maryland, or Massachusetts?
Was he captured in the Midwest or the Middle East?
And if they always have a chance to photograph these people before they commit their crimes, why can’t they stop them?
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash,” “Damned If I Know”
But other problems we would still like to see solved like JFK—you believe all that?
RFK—you believe all that?
MLK—you believe all that?
Malcolm X—you believe all that?
All of this was some great, big old “C”—coincidence—or just a little bitty “C”—conspiracy?
There are two questions that concern us very much about the letter “C”
The first one is: the CIA—who the hell runs that organization?
The second one is: who runs this country?
“Dot Dot Dit Dit Dot Dot Dash,” “Damned If I Know”

Brothers and sisters, thank you very much. A first minute experience, The Midnight Band. Thank you, thank you.

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