Where You From?

Jonah Deocampo, also known as Bambu DePistola, 2012

The lyrics of the opening sample "introduce a city" of constant change with "charming contradiction[s]." What are some characteristics of your home town or neighborhood? If your neighborhood offers "a prize for everyone," what is it? Do any of the characteristics of your town or neighborhood seem contradictory?

Based on the lyrics, what are some of the positive characteristics of Los Angeles that should make its residents "stand tall"?

What do you think Bambu means when he calls Los Angeles "a city drown in the sun"?

According to Bambu, what are some of the challenges facing people in his community?

Is Bambu proud of where he's from? What does he want for his community's future?

"Where You From?" performed by Bambu on One Rifle Per Family, © 2012. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

For more information about Bambu, visit Beatrock Music.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:


The song "Where You From?" is from Bambu de Pistola's 2012 album, One Rifle Per Family (2012). It begins with a sample that resembles popular musical styles of the mid-twentieth century. Over bright, jazzy chords played on a piano, a male crooner sings affectionately of an ever-changing city of charming contradictions. Contradictions and the ever-changing nature of Los Angeles then become the themes of the rap. Bambu's rap contradicts the optimism of the sample by focusing on economic disparity in the city. Disparity is expressed in the music before it is voiced in the lyrics by the abrupt interruption of the sample by a somber, slow groove in the piano, which then underpins the rap.

Bambu Dipistola

In the first verse, Bambu highlights issues facing the poor of Los Angeles, including the underfunding of schools, mass incarceration, and the lack of attention paid to these issues by city officials. In the second verse, he addresses the factors that caused him to join a gang—the glorification of gangs in rap, politicians who do nothing to help his community, and teachers who push students away—and he denounces gang violence. In the chorus, he encourages listeners to show their strength not through violence but by being proud of where they are from.

Throughout the song, Bambu draws on his own experiences growing up in an immigrant family in Los Angeles as well as his work as a community organizer. (See biographical details under "Rent Money.")

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