Sorry no-name and marginally famous music artists, just because your song is about Trayvon Martin doesn't automatically make your shit hot. In fact, self-serious over-politicizing can turn a good song into a real bummer, especially when all you're looking for is some dope music to puff a fatty to. That's not to say you can't address some real issues in your raps, but before you try to tackle some of the most challenging and polarizing problems of human existence (racism, murder, etc…) in your music, you better make sure you are actually a good musician.
Here is a quick rundown of the good and the awful Trayvon Martin tribute songs.
Awful Song: "Hoodie Rap" by PiKaHsSo & The Fabulous Verbadelycks
Does anyone like it when rappers sound like those dreaded dudes on Def Poetry Jam? This guy has a terrible lisp, too. Nobody's trying to hear Sylvester the cat kick knowledge.
Good Song: Hoodiez by Willie D. featuring Scarface, Propain, and D. Boi
Willie D. is a legend who helped invent gangster rap with the Houston group the Geto Boys. So of course political anthems are a cake walk for him, he's been doing this shit since the late 80s. But you young rappers should feel ashamed that an older cat can come in and take one of the defining events to happen in your young life and make a better song about it than you. Get your weight up, kids!
Awful Song: TrayVon Martin Tribute by Chaka Khan
Man, I really wanted to like this song and video because it's got crazy cameos from black celebrities like Angela Bassett, Eric Benet, and Kenny Lattimore. But is this track even about Trayvon Martin? Chaka is mumbling something on the chorus about "living a super life." Doesn't she know Trayvon Martin is dead as a door nail? Also, the beat to this song sounds like something from an off-brand Disney film, like the Goofy Movie. All you need to bring to life is this beat and Tevin Campbell in a pair of Hammer-pants.
Good Song: We Are Trayvon (Trayvon Martin Tribute) by Plies
Plies is a hood dude, but on this track he has some of the realest and most coherent words on this shooting. He rhymes "My son is supposed to bury me. I'm not supposed to bury my son. You can call me nigger all you want, but you aren't supposed to treat me like one." What can you say after that? It's a free country. It's not illegal to be racist. But actually allowing that racism to manifest itself into violence is where things really do get scary. We all want people to get along, but they don't have to. But they can't be permitted to go around shooting each other. Well done Plies.
Awful Song: Trayvon Martin Tribute by Papoose
This song sounds like he's rapping an AP news wire report. And what's with the negro spiritual on the hook? Talk about forced, Papoose. You couldn't think of anything better to sample than "Wading in the Water?" Get creative. Turn a Glee or a Justin Bieber sample into a political song. But get out of here with that baptism music shit. That was probably like the first thing that came to your mind. CORNY!
Good Song: Suspicious by Soulklap
Full disclosure, SoulKlap is my roommate. But this song is good, right? Several weeks ago, while hanging out on the streets of Williamsburg, Klap saw me get called "nigger" and punched by some racist white thug from Greenpoint, Brooklyn for pretty much no reason. The shit was craaazy and came out of nowhere. As a civilized black man, I made a police report and pressed charges. I kind of expect some people to be racist, so even though it sucked, it didn't kill me inside or make me hate being black or hate all white people. But Klap was pretty broken up about it. It's hard realizing that racism is definitely still an issue. After the Trayvon shooting became a big thing, he sort of encapsulated the feelings of that awful night and the emotional response of the Trayvon's shooting into one song, this song. So, I have to say it's good. If you don't like it, jump in a lake.
Awful Song: Trayvon Martin Tribute RIP by Swagg D
Anyone else listen to this and wonder why it's raining in the song? Was it even raining when George iced Trayvon? PROBABLY NOT, but then again I have no idea. And I'm not going to check either because if Sawgg D was too lazy to find a creative way to make the song dramatic, I feel perfectly justified being too lazy to look it up. What I do know is that this song is knock off of Bone Thugs' "Crossroads." You can't get that funky off in here, Swagg D. I know your influences. And when you steal from one of the few hip hop icons from my home town of Cleveland, I'm going to call you on it. If for no other reason than I'm salty that Bone isn't good anymore. Come up with your own swag, and stop jocking Bone's! Stealing isn't right, even in the name of Trayvon Martin.
Good Song: Lock and Load by Omid G.
This song is so bad it's good. Omid G. has that Dip Set swag. I mean, what's iller than smashing on some Captain Crunch and spitting knowledge at the same time. And he's got a ROBE on. I love that shit. I wish Ghostface would rock his robe again. They even have a dance at the end, and who doesn't love to dance? Sometimes in a times like this, that's all you can do.
Awful Song: RIP Trayvon Martin Song by Toast
This has to be a joke right? First of all this dude's name is Toast. It's bad enough I had to listen to a guy named Papoose earlier. I really can't take Toast's perspective on this issue seriously, since he is named after a breakfast dish. Also, what is up with this beat? You shouldn't be partying for Trayvon Martin. Toast is jumping the gun, so to speak. This song was made on March 21st. Zimmerman hadn't even been charged yet!?! Everybody knows protests songs are supposed to be angry. When I'm trying to feel revolutionary, I want to have a back beat that is gritty. This song makes me want to go the club, not to the OWS march. Get your shit together Toast and stop mixing my emotions.
OK, I'm getting sick of doing this. There are like a million songs made in tribute to Trayvon Martin. If you want more, just search YouTube. However, this wasn't a complete waste of time, because through this small sample we've proved that the most of these tunes are terrible and/or laughable, which is fun to do. Next time a tragedy happens like this, and trust me it will, you music guys need to come harder. You can't go around talking about racism and murder with weak rhymes and canned beats. It's shameful. Think of Trayvon's mother, she has to live with you knuckleheads tweeting her this nonsense for the rest of her life.
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