The day before Donald Trump's inauguration, Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$ released "Land of the Free," a highly-political record that tackles mass incarceration, the history of racism in America and Joey's desire to be a beacon for change.
As a part of their Verified series, Genius recently invited Joey to break down his lyrics in "Land of the Free." Thanks to his pristine eloquence and unbridled transparency, the entire seven-minute clip is a highly insightful viewing experience, but there is one portion, in particular, that grabbed my attention.
At the tail end of his first verse, Joey spits the following four bars:
Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier
Obama just wasn't enough, I just need some more closure
And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over
Let’s face facts 'cause we know what’s the real motives
At face value, there are plenty of assumptions that could be made about the intention behind Joey's words—Is he blaming Obama for America's transition to Trump?—but as he makes clear in his explanation, it's the people who failed, not our former president.
"Putting President Barack Obama in office for black people was, of course, a good thing, but what it did to us—you know, our political selves—was put us to sleep. Because a lot of black people was like, 'OK, my president is black, let me turn my back, let me not worry about what's going on over there.' And not only that, it was almost like, look—you got a black president now, you ain't got nothing else to worry about. But there's still racism in America, there's still systematic prejudice, there's still stereotypes that exist all over the country. I won't be fooled. Just because you gave me a black president don't mean that all our problems is resolved, it don't mean our history is erased."
Joey took plenty of heat from fans for his more pop-oriented (and now Gold-certified) single "Devastated," but it's hard to imagine that same crowd isn't impressed by "Land of the Free" and the sentiment behind it.
While most of his early 20-something peers are not overly inclined to make music with any political messaging, opting instead to create fun, party joints that have charting potential, Joey is proving that he's both wise beyond his years on Earth and is more concerned with being a leading voice in the black community than popping bottles and cashing checks.
Land of the free... and home to Joey Bada$$.
By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram