When hosting teen boys from Russia, Ukraine, or Latvia, its’ almost guaranteed that they are into rap.  Our Sasha loved it and so have many other hosted boys. 

One day, Sasha wanted me to hear some of his favorite songs.  He looked them up on YouTube and had me listen to them with him.  Yeah, they had pretty good beats and I just love the way the Russian language can sound so musical, but that did not make it a good song.  I could not always understand the things they were saying, but it just gave me a feeling like the words were far from life-giving.  I actually went back later and had some of the lyrics of Sasha’s favorite songs translated… it shocked me how vulgar they were.  Often times it is said that the kids do not understand the words they hear or sing along with, but it doesn’t matter to me.  No kid should be filling their mind with the kind of things those rappers shamelessly symbolize. 

After Sasha returned to Ukraine, I spent some more time wondering about this Russian rap scene.  One day I accidentally stumbled on the song “Mama” by a Russian rapper who goes by the name Basta on a trailer for a film called “Family Portrait in Black & White.”  (Film looks incredible by the way, check it out at the hyperlink!) The song had a tone and lyrics that were quite different from the ones I had heard before… a message that was quite different from the rest. 

The heart of the song’s message is repeated in the chorus: Tell me mom, how much is my life worth? / My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.  The lyrics resound the regrets and pain of a wayward son.  It reflects on his hardships, questions, guilt, and need for a rescue. …and for that he is looking to his mom. 

Under all the profanity, vulgarity, and outright sinfulness of most Russian rap (and American for that matter!) … I wonder if the sentiments in this song are underlying in all the others.  What if all those lost and desperate sons and daughters are  just crying out for someone to just take them back?  No matter what has happened or what they have done?  Under that guilt and pain there’s a desperate need for a mom… a family. 

I believe many of our kids that come for orphan hosting have emotions that resonate with the lyrics of this song.  With so many questions and fears.  They need someone to validate them and know that they do have worth.  What an honor it is to take in these one who are outcast and bring them in.  To show them compassion and love of a mother and to reflect that love of the Heavenly Father.

The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:13


“Mama” by Basta–one version of the music videos via YouTube.com

“Mama” by Basta–English lyrics on screen

“Mama” by Basta

Forgive me mom,
For growing up so early, for bringing so much pain.
Forgive me mom, I am guilty at so much.
Forgive me that I did not become like my older brother.
My life mom, is like a black and white movie,
It always seems everything is fine,
but you always have one "but".
It’s hard to understand:
Why is everything like this?
Especially like this and not otherwise?
What does this mean?
Wish me good luck mom,
the road calls for me,
And you hide your tears
I won’t be back for a long time.
I know you know it mom, I know you believe it mom.
You kept to believe in me, and that’s not something small.
When my luck made me fall of my legs,
through the pain I heard a little voice: "Get up son".
I dedicate this song to every mother,
that gives their love to us.

Tell me mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.
Tell me mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.

In the hardest minutes of my life,
when death came so very close,
stars like sparks fell from the sky,
and thoughts of you, mom, like a ray of light.
In search of an answer, in search for a way
I gather my strength and continue to walk.
Forgive me for everything mom, I was guilty in so much stuff,
but it’s all in the past, you cannot bring time back.
I’m trying to get off my knees, to raise myself a little,
but something prevents me from leaving the earth.
Praying – Give me strength, God,
To understand: What’s disturbing me? Who will help me?
It may be, God, that my faith is weak,
but wherever I am, I remember these words:
Sorry for saying them so rarely: Mom – I love you.

CHORUS (x3):
Tell me Mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.
Tell me Mom, how much is my life worth?
My life is this drama, my soul is drawn to weep.