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How much does the city control its inhabitants?

A recurring theme in music, film, or literature about the ghetto is that the city is a character. In other words, "the city" is less of a location or setting and more of a character itself. The city has power to make people think and act according to a pre-set social construct. This construct, most artists contend, has been around since Blacks first migrated from the rural south.

The city in Stevie Wonder's song has power to unemploy, pollute, and alienate its residents. While people attempt to live for this city, they are consumed by it; Stevie Wonder warns that living for a city - a city being something that is dead and is spreading death - will ultimately end in unhappiness.

Listen to a live version of this song: "Living for the City" with George Michael. (It's Quicktime, and it takes a few minutes to load.)

click to learn more about the artist behind Living for the City