Over the past couple of days, I’ve been deliberating writing a piece about how odd it is that, in the era of perhaps the most civil unrest in three, if not four, if not five decades, there’s been almost no protest music being made. Hell, even in the Clinton era (when things were actually going reasonably well,) we had Rage Against The Machine and latter-day Public Enemy. Even Michael Jackson and Prince took time out from dancing and sex to put out a “Heal The World”, “Live 4 Love”, or “Money Don’t Matter 2Night.” These days, a quick scan down the charts reveals…nothing. Are today’s pop stars so vacuous that they don’t have any idea that some serious socio-political shit is going down? Where’s the 21st century “What’s Going On?”
I’m particularly chagrined that hip-hop, the musical genre that awakened my social conscience, has been very quiet when it comes to these matters. Kanye and Russell Simmons may have stopped by Zucotti Park to meet with the Occupy protestors, but maybe ‘Ye’s too busy counting money and dating models to rap about what’s going on in the news? Thankfully, some old friends are holding it down for socially conscious hip-hoppers. A couple of weeks back, we showed you Talib Kweli’s latest video, which was shot in the heat of the Occupy protests in NYC, and now we have the latest video from EVITAN, called “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall St.)” This group is comprised of two underappreciated icons from hip-hop’s golden age-Black Sheep’s Dres and A Tribe Called Quest’s on-again off-again fourth member, Jarobi White.
Jarobi’s mic skills are not on display on this particular cut, but Dres more than holds it down on his own. Songs like “Similak Child” should have reminded me of how sharp this dude is, but I was incredibly impressed that he’s still able to deliver on the lyrical tip two decades after the release of A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.
“P.T.I.” is available on iTunes now-and EVITAN (which, by the way, is Native spelled backwards…a reference to Native Tongues, the legendary assemblage of rappers that both gentlemen were a part of) has a full-length album arriving sometime this spring.