The southern California rapper, singer and drummer originally released “Lockdown” in June of this year along with a music video in response to the nationwide protests that were sparked due to the tragic murder of George Floyd. While the original version addressed issues of police brutality, the remix goes even further, touching on wealth inequality and the unfair treatment of Indigenous populations by the government, among other issues.
After .Paak’s familiar chorus detailing the front lines of the protests, JID takes the first verse to call into question those who are still critical of the motives of those protesting. Although JID’s tone is laid back, the anger in his lyrics is palpable, as he brings mass incarceration into the forefront when he raps, “Just run the paper, maybe then we can start the conversation / common ground, prison compounds full of my fuckin’ people / How you still sleepin’?” JID further criticizes those against the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and brings to light the countless amount of lives given for the movement throughout American history, as he raps, “But you mad when they “#BlackLivesMatter” on front your sidewalks / diabolical thoughts, diatribe from dialogues / damagin’ images of men and women who died off / fightin’ for civil rights.”
Noname, one of hip hop’s most socially conscious figures, furthers JID’s critique of the American state through her verse, calling into question the history of the police against Native Americans, as she raps, “Had no money I can make some so the cops get little / we seen ’em murder the indigenous, the passage middle.” Noname also touches on the murder of Trayvon Martin through the line “The Constitution, a life for a bag of Skittles?,” and references the writings of Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Army and an FBI target during their resistance against the BLA. Noname is well known for founding a book club that aims to “highlight progressive work from writers of Color and writers within the LGBTQ community.”
Jay Rock takes the final verse of the song, and further pushes the notion of resistance against the current status quo. He opens his verse, “Turn on your tube, dawg, look how they do us / knee on our necks, bullets in backs,” and only goes further to address injustices against communities of color both past and present. Jay brings the unjust murder of Ahmed Aubrey earlier this year, as he raps, “Look at the world we livin’ in, they got us shook in it / and then you go on your jog, then your color might get you took in it.” Rock also alludes to Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” a common rallying cry of Black Power movements in the 1960’s, through his line, “Ready for the revolution, who ready to ride? / it won’t be televised, so tell me, who ready to die?”
Perhaps more impactful than the verses of the three talented rappers are the historical issues that the artists bring to light. JID’s reference to mass incarceration is an important fact for people, especially white people, to understand today, as black boys growing up are almost six times more likely than white boys growing up to go to prison in their lifetimes. Latino boys are three times more likely than white boys to go to prison. Noname is constantly bringing to light the historical injustices of the American government through her Twitter account, and often calls into question societal norms and practices that have been perpetrated by the state through the country’s history. Both Jay Rock’s and Noname’s historical references reminds listeners that the problems faced by communities of color today are no different than the problems that existed decades ago. Although the media’s national coverage of the protests may have died down, this remix of “Lockdown” reminds us that the fight is far from over.
Listen to the remix of Anderson .Paak’s “Lockdown” below: