The police regularly target black and brown men and women, and that fact alone is devastating. Every day, it feels like we’re in a state of mourning; it’s difficult to ignore and it doesn’t leave our minds.
Besides July’s freestyle tape #12FOR12, the Mississippi emcee has been fairly quiet since the release of It’s Better This Way in October of 2015. Last week, however, he teased the cover for his next project with Whalum, Might Not Be OK, which is due tomorrow (September 16). While many of us may not be familiar with Whalum, his resume is extensive, having previously worked with a handful of prodigious musicians, like D’Angelo, Maxwell, and Jay Z.
To put it plainly: holy shit you need to hear K.R.I.T’s verse:
The gut-wrenching track opens with hauntingly soulful vocals by Whalum who tells us, “I won’t tell you that it’s gon’ be ok.” K.R.I.T. continues the sentiment in his verse, his gritty lyricism and the staccato rhythm of his raps sitting in stark contrast to the gentle piano.
There’s an urgency in his voice that is hard to shake, as he references Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling—not by name, but by the way in which they were killed. “Hands behind yo' back, face down, and still say you shootin' / Can't breathe / Knee where your neck be like why you movin'? / Kids in your car and they on like what you doin'?” His anger continues to build as the song progresses, his rage rising to the surface.
The raw quality of Whalum and K.R.I.T.’s vocals are chilling. And what they say stands in contrast to what many activists and political figures claim—that there is a solution to police brutality. Whalum sings in the chorus, “I don't claim to have the answer, it's more than some can say / I won't tell you that it's gon' be ok.”
The duo admits that there may not be a resolution or an answer right now, which certainly is a scary notion. Whether or not that’s true, though, all I know is that K.R.I.T.’s right: We’re really not okay.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram