‘New Crass Massakah’ – Linton Kwesi Johnson (1981)
An ugly truth beautifully expressed
On January 18 1981, 14 young black people were killed in a house fire which swept through a birthday party at 439 New Cross Road. Although the cause remains unknown, a racially-motivated arson attack was suspected, and the police were accused of covering up the truth. In light of the Macpherson Report, LKJ’s brutally simple verses describing the party and ensuing horror seem more cutting today than when the track was recorded.