My must-listen list of music containing singles released between June 6th and June 12th, all which specifically reference systematic racism, police brutality, and/or the associated protests which have occurred and continue to occur across the world.
Week 7 will be structured like Week 6 (Must Listen, New Music: Week 6 #BLM). Instead of interpreting, I am listening and learning. I will not be making assumptions about these songs as they would mean absolutely nothing, as I do not personally suffer from acts of racial injustice. In order to properly support and fight for those experiencing racial injustices, we must understand the situation from their perspective and confront the racial injustices that they face — each and every time they happen.
Music provides an outlet for artists to express their own experiences, in their own words. So, instead of me speaking on behalf of each artist about experiences I can never fully understand, I will let the lyrics and the artist’s words speak for themselves.
FEVER 333 member Jason Aalon Butler took to the band’s Instagram to announce the release of “SUPREMACY.” (Definitely click this link and read the entire caption). To highlight the part directly about the song: “This project is and forever will be a reaction to its environment- and right now it seems, for the first time in our generation’s timeline, those that typically have some implicitly racist and misaligned thing to say about the unjust killing of non white citizens are not as loud this time. It seems as though for the first time even these people have no room to call the case of Derek Chauvin against brother George Floyd anything but exactly what is was- another remorseless murder of another black body…”
"Tell me, can you hear us Through the sound of the sirens? And you wonder why the streets getting violent Another mother shed tears at the cemetery Burying her first born child I've been watching through the years Got my nerves firing, waking up screaming And we live in a cold sweat Segregated, they consider us a known threat So we hopeless"
He continues “…As painful as this all is for us, we must utilize this moment. We must speak out. We MUST mobilize, show up for our non white brothers and sisters and do not waiver in our speech when we scream #BLACKLIVESMATTER…”
"When time turns into history The story that we'll tell will be When we were marching for our lives You stood on the other side"
He also tells listeners to expect more songs exactly like this one from the band “until the day [he] feel[s] as though the idea of white supremacy that has plagued our nation and nations outside of ours for centuries is elucidated, attacked, and eradicated.”
"Born into a world Where we're dying to be free But we're living underneath their supremacy"
[ ℗ A 333 Wreckords Crew/Roadrunner Records release, ℗ 2020 Roadrunner Records Inc. ]
Lil Baby used his Instagram to announce the single in 3 separate posts. With the first, he featured a sneak peak audio clip along with the cover art for the single, which is a photo of him at a Black Lives Matter protest in Atlanta. At the particular protest, Lil Baby lead the crowd on his bicycle, handing out supplies and money to protesters, and spoke in front of the crowd when they reached the protest’s final destination. For the second, he posted a compilation of videos from various protests and announced that proceeds will be allocated to multiple organizations. And lastly, the third announces which organizations will receive the proceeds: “National association of black journalists- Breonna Taylor attorney- The bail project- Black Lives matter.”
The intro for the track features a compilation of audio from news broadcasts regarding the murder of George Floyd and the associated protests:
"Protests and growing national outcry continues over the death of George Floyd Last night, people protesting in Minneapolis escalated As demonstrators were lashed by tear gas and rubber bullets The main message here [...] Is that they want to see those officers involved They want to see those officers arrested (I can't breathe, I can't breathe)"
The three verses cover police brutality in the community, mass incarceration, systematic racism, police brutality during protests, and the need to continue peacefully protesting.
"It's too many mothers that's grieving They killing us for no reason Been going on for too long to get even Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas I went to court and they sent me to prison"
"We just some products of our environment How the fuck they gon' blame us?"
"Crazy, I had to tell all of my loved ones to carry a gun when they going outside Stare in the mirror whenever you drive Overprotective, go crazy for mine"
"I see blue lights, I get scared and start runnin' That shit be crazy, they 'posed to protect us Throw us in handcuffs and arrest us While they go home at night, that shit messed up Knowing we needed help, they neglect us Wondering who gon' make them respect us"
"Seems like we losing our country But we gotta stand up for something, so this what it comes to Every video I see on my conscience I got power, now I gotta say somethin' Corrupted police been the problem where I'm from But I'd be lying if I said it was all of them"
"I can't lie like I don't rap about killing and dope, but I'm telling my youngins to vote I did what I did 'cause I didn't have no choice or no hope, I was forced to just jump in and go This bullshit is all that we know, but it's time for a change Got time to be serious, no time for no games We ain't takin' no more, let us go from them chains God bless they souls, every one of them names"
"They training' officers to kill us, then shooting' protestors with these rubber bullets They regular people, I know that they feel it These scars too deep to heal us"
"I never been a fan of police But my neighborhood know I try to keep peace So it's only right that I get in the streets March for a reason, not just on GP Our people died for us to be free Fuck do you mean? This was a dream Now we got the power that we need to have They don't want us with it and that's why they mad"
[ ℗ Quality Control Music/Motown Records; ℗ 2020 Quality Control Music, LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc. ]
For the release of the single, Kiana Ledé posted a compilation of video clips from the protests occurring across the country on Instagram. The video begins with a still picture of Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by police while asleep in her bed. The picture fades into a protest chant of ‘no justice, no peace!’ and viral video clips from protests occurring across the country. As the music plays, more viral videos are shown, along with an image of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old who was fatally shot in 2012 for wearing a hoodie, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee on the sidelines. The caption reads: “Through all the crying and pleading, all the protesting and donating, I wanted to do something that is therapeutic for me – singing. I came across the song ‘Dear Mr. President’ by @pink and realized so many of the lyrics are STILL relevant today. This song was originally released 14 years ago…”
In the caption, she also dedicates the proceeds from the song to the NAACP Empowerment Programs, “which fights for social justice, voter participation, quality education and much more.”
"I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street? Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep? What do you feel when you look in the mirror? Are you proud? How do you sleep while the rest of us cry? How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?"
[ ℗ The Heavy Group / Republic Records; ℗ 2020 Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]
For his third released solo single, Grammy-nominated producer boyband released “get home safely” as a response to the recent events covering the issues of police brutality and sexual assault. On Twitter, boyband spoke about the reasoning behind the release: “wanted to speak on a few things that have been troubling me…if you’re angry, just know you’re not alone.” On Instagram, he declared “all royalty proceeds earned by myself and the label will be donated to…” the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and RAINN, the creator and operator of the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
The first verse covers police brutality:
"Hoping no one got their stainless 'Cause they just need a reason I ain't really tryna talk to 12, unless I have to 'Cause I got a few issues, and my reform's past due Don't get caught at a traffic stop 'cause they might blast you Some might call it hate, but really that's the sad truth"
The second verse covers sexual assault:
"Watch her at the party Make sure no one touch her cup And if she tells you 'No', my ni***, you need to give up You don't know what she's been through I don't wanna hear that lie, 'I ain't mean to' I don't wanna hear that lie 'She ain't ask for it' I just think you're sick inside, and you need help Do you feel like a man when you push her around? You feel better now when she falls to the ground? I really, really hope you not proud of yourself"
Both the bridge and the chorus are pleads:
"Never thought it'd end like this Never thought it'd end like this Never thought it'd end like this Never thought it'd end like this"
"Please make sure that you get home safely 'Cause I've had a lot of friends die on me lately (And I don't wanna lose no more) Just check in, drop a pin, tell me who you with And tell me when you get home, hope you don't forget And I just need you to promise that you'll get there safely"
[ 2020 Dirty Hit. ]
“Black 2” is the sequel to “Black”, a single he released in 2018. For “Black 2”, Buddy calls out white privilege and the focusing on Black culture instead of Black societal issues. To release the sequel, Buddy tweeted one of the song’s lyrics “if you ain’t a ni*** then you can’t say ni***, it’s a Black thing.”
"Everybody wanna be an athlete Everybody wanna rap on beats Everybody wanna eat watermelon and fried chicken But sorry, it's a black thing"
"Everybody tryna get dreads and shit But they ain't African All the light girls gettin' a tan so they can darken they skin I'm sorry, it's a black thing"
"Don't step on my Nikes, just got these Go rogue for the neckpiece, ni*** Yup, in my white tee Know you wanna be just like me, huh? 'Til the police wanna lock me up"
For the single’s cover art, Buddy recreates the iconic image made famous in 1964 of Civil Rights activist Malcolm X peaking out his window while holding a M1 carbine rifle in his New York home (original photo taken by Don Hogan Charles). A year after the photo was taken, Malcolm X’s house was firebombed. And a week after the firebombing, he was assassinated. He acknowledges the iconic photograph in the chorus of “Black 2”:
"Feel like Malcolm X, peekin' outside my window Everybody wanna be black, but don't nobody wanna be a ni***"
[ ℗ 2020 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]
After releasing the single, T-Pain posted an image on Instagram with the single cover art and a message stating “streaming and merchandise revenue will be going to Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice to help continue their work to change the justice system and bring resources to make our communities safe.”
"Long as my heart beatin' and I'm breathin' air I'll fight for me, you decide, anytime, anywhere And I will never back down from it"
"Oh, no, I can't stop now I gave it my all and it still ain't enough Everybody gettin' knocked down The only thing that matters is what you don' do when you get up"
"Long as I got somethin' that I'm fightin' for Even if you don't believe, you won't see me stayin' down on the floor 'Cause I will never back down to it"
[ ℗ 2020 Nappy Boy Entertainment / EMPIRE. ]