Local rapper Kevin Prince (aka Mr. Composition)
“We’re not all without sin
But that gun should point the other way
If you’re trying to rid the streets of the bad guys today”
In the weeks since the August 9 shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer, the nation has been spinning its wheels to come to grips with the tragedy on various levels. The meaningful, if ridiculously overdue, dialogue has centered on issues of police militarization and police brutality, particularly towards young black males. Today, local rapper Kevin Prince (aka Mr. Composition) shares his own take on the tragedy, in the form of a powerfully pointed song called “Just(US).”
The song features urgent production by Amazin J, bringing to mind the sound of sirens on a loop shortened by anxiety; it expresses feelings of anger, alienation and betrayal. With the simple chorus repeating the line “There is no justice naw naw it’s just us,” the track especially brings home the sense of abandonment and isolation that accompany the suspicion that law enforcement is “Sworn to serve and protect / Depending on the race.”
While “Just(US)” is a song of earnest wrath and painful (almost) resignation, it is somewhat nuanced in its handling of the aggressor. With the line “I see you on the news looking embarrassed,” Prince seems to empathize, even as he continues “I hope it hurts like those rubber bullets of defiance / Gotta kill you with words, since you’re killing us with violence.” Prince recognizes the difficulties that the Ferguson police have faced, but knows they can’t compare to those faced by the community on the other side of the guns and tear gas. The song’s most heartbreaking lines find Prince afraid of the affect that all this might have on the youth:
“I shouldn’t have to teach my kids
When you see the cops you run,
Sergeant Fuck You has a gun
With intent of redrum
Doesn’t matter how come”
Dig the song here and let us, please, continue to address the issues it raises.
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