Last updated: April 16, 2020
During the summer of 2019, Florissant Fossil Beds hosted Hip Hop Boot Camp. Hip Hop Boot Camp was inspired by the work of the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP!) which started at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. The goal of YAP! is to connect youth to the NPS and its mission through hip-hop music.
Through the Interpretation and Education fund, FLFO was able to fund a project this year. The park collaborated with Ben Gilbarg of Big Picture Anthems (BPA) in Oakland, California. BPA utilizes the power of music and video to produce communication movements that have an educational and social impact on society. Ben Gilbarg was one of the founders of the YAP! program. Another partner was the National Council for the Traditional Arts. The goal was to find two high school aged youth hip-hop artists, provide opportunities for them to deeply connect to Florissant Fossil Beds, and have them compose and record two hip-hop songs about their experience at the Monument. Jeff Wolin, Lead Interpreter for the Monument, and Education Intern, Kevin Jauregui (Geoscientist in the Parks Intern) led the efforts.
In late July, Ben Gilbarg along with Nehemiah Vaughn and Joey Lovett embarked on a journey to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Joey Lovett, also known as Cangaroo, is a 19-year-old Hip Hop artist from West Oakland who was inspired to write music at the age of 15 when one of his closest friends was murdered and turned to music as a healthy way to find healing. Nehemiah Vaughn, also known as Nuisance, is a 19-year-old Hip Hop artist from Oakland who started rapping as an outlet for his anger and painful obstacles he was facing and while informing others that they are not alone with any hardships they may be facing.
For two full days, these three artists accompanied by Kevin Jauregui, took in a mind-blowing amount of information. Nehemiah, Joey, and Ben hiked on the Monument’s trails, learned about paleontology, and searched for fossils at a nearby privately owned quarry. They experienced wildlife and became absorbed in deep time, and they learned about the human history at Florissant. During their time at the Monument, Joey and Nehemiah began to free-style to beats provided by Ben. With beautiful mountain meadows and Pikes Peak in the background, they would pull out their laptop and just start rhyming. In mid-August, just days before the Monument celebrated its 50th anniversary, Ben emailed rough drafts of the two songs they created. The songs were amazing and even gave Jeff and Kevin chills!
The two songs written by Joey and Nehemiah expressed the joy and freedom they experienced at the park. One of their songs called “The Defenders of Florissant” was inspired by the landmark environmental law case and grassroots effort, which saved the Florissant Fossil Beds from development in the late 1960s. The song was so amazing and inspirational, it was played at the 50th anniversary celebration and the crowd was in awe.
Defenders of Florissant
Lyrics for “Defenders of Florissant” Chorus We’re the defenders of Florissant this pleasant place has been put here in our presence the present that we’ve been gifted is so pleasant we stressing no more you get the message (3x) I’m a protector of this pretty place I smell the sweetness and for some reason I feel embraced I got no drama I won’t be bothered when in this place I saw some llamas � and I was honored I’ll keep it straight Run the facts on the knowledge I’m being fed I need house or something that’s like a homestead I lay my troubles down down but never in the way I should But I hold on and stay strong like the redwoods Aye shout out to Hornbeck She was the first ever woman to own a homestead Aye now tell me my brother you know how rare that is For you to go against the odds and become a champion Aye but that’s just how we do When we fighting for something like this that’s national I keep my feelings in check but I get irrational It’s the Florissant fossil beds so I’m gonna give it to you We’re the defenders of Florissant this pleasant place has been put here in our presence the present that we’ve been gifted is so pleasant we stressing no more you get the message (3x) Verse 2 Cangaroo (Joey Lovett) : It's a nice day in the state of Colorado, grass looking greener than a fresh avocado, I'm still trying to live so I could see tomorrow, can't depend on nobody I depend on hope looking at all the fossils through a microscope, i ain't gonna lie to ya, I’d rather be =real, looking for other fossils just like Charlotte Hill beautiful blue sky make my mind reappear, natives was living here for over thousand of years florissant yea I'm good guy, why be a hater, one day I might just be a park ranger, view so nice look like a screen saver, let me be just a human being trying to keep his Brain free, life is so beautiful like a golden rain tree, food for thought but I really lost my appetite, they stumped the place and exploded it with dynamite, staying with my redwoods, stick together, florissant fossil beds had many strong defenders. We’re the defenders of Florissant this pleasant place has been put here in our presence the present that we’ve been gifted is so pleasant we stressing no more you get the message (3x)
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Circle of Life
Hip Hop song written by Nehemiah Vaughn and Joey Lovett (aka Nuisance and Cangaroo)
Lyrics for “Circle of Life” Chorus I don’t wanna I don’t wanna say goodbye I just wanna take my time I done realized that all I see is life circle of life(2x) Verse I Cangaroo (Joey Lovett) : Nice park in Colorado springs, hear the birds and I hear the bees, big mountains and redwood trees, nature helps me find inner peace, take a hike and explore some things, dope fossills that I never seen, mother nature must be blessing me, in the sky see the sun beam, and the breeze smelling super sweet, i don’t got time for no enemies, I'm just trying to find the recipe, and I ain't never really satisfied, all these trees looking petrified, big clouds up in the sky, park rangers are really nice, yea my rhymes is cold like ice, so blessed to see different sights, everything gonna be alright, up in the circle of life. (repeat last 2 bars) Chorus I don’t wanna I don’t wanna say goodbye I just wanna take my time I done realized that all I see is life circle of life(2x) Verse 2 Nuisance (Nehemiah Vaughn) Looking up all I see is trees Looking down all I see is green Feel myself surrounded by the leaves So you know exactly what that means I’m gonna leave the lovin’ to the bees Mother Nature gives me energy So I think I found the recipe Just so I can breathe that heaven leaf I’m feelin heavenly I hear my heartbeat Nothing can stop me I think that I found that melody Tell em that I found my inner peace Tell em that that’s what it’s supposed to be Tell em that this how it’s supposed to be Chorus I don’t wanna I don’t wanna say goodbye I just wanna take my time I done realized that all I see is life circle of life(2x)
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