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The Bigger Picture: Lil Baby’s protest song is an early contender for song of the year

Atlanta rapper Lil Baby is one of the most prominent artists in popular trap music, receiving a Grammy nomination in 2019 for the hit single ‘Drip Too Hard’ alongside his frequent collaborator Gunna. His album My Turn, released this year, is one of the highest selling of the year, but it’s a single, separate from the album, released in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is becoming his greatest career achievement.

Although the instrumental is standard fare for Lil Baby’s work– sombre piano, alongside hard-hitting trap drums– the bitter aggression he displays in the song’s first verse is like nothing he has ever released, cutting no corners with lines like “I find it crazy the police’ll shoot you and know that you dead, but still tell you to freeze.” His bitterness is no surprise, considering his vocal presence at Black Lives Matters protests. This features in the music video for the song, which has amassed over 50 million views in just over a month.

His anger erupts across the whole track, rapping against the beat with lyrics like “We just some products of our environment,/How the fuck they gon’ blame us?” His disgust with systemic racism is punctuated by tragic reality: “Crazy, I had to tell all of my loved ones to carry a gun when they going outside.” In the song’s second verse he admits ‘The Bigger Picture’ contrasts his usual subject matter, but this only serves to strengthen his message a thousandfold– “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.”

The song was released a few days after he was seen at the George Floyd protests in Atlanta, accompanied by the city’s councilman, Antonio Brown. Proceeds from the song go to various sources, including Breonna Taylor’s attorney, The Bail Project, and Black Lives Matter. You can watch the song’s music video here.


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04/08/2020

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Jack Oxford