A closer look at some of the stand out lyrics on Joey Bada$$’ politically charged album
by Shiloah Coley
“America my masseuse, massaging my back/ Tryna’ act like, she ain’t gonna do me like Pratt” – Good Morning Amerikkka
Analysis: Joey expresses that he believes that since he is currently a public figure who is gaining popularity and wealth, America is “pampering” him. However, he believes that once America recognizes that his music criticizes American society and government then America will turn and stab him in the back like revolutionaries before him, referencing the late Geronimo Pratt. Pratt was an influential leader in the Black Panther Movement, until he was wrongly convicted of murder charges.
“Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane
No, it’s the young black god livin’ out his dreams
What you mean? I been up on an ultralight beam
They don’t wanna see you fly, they just gonna shoot your wings” – For My People
Analysis: Joey is saying that young black men who are living out their dreams are just as rare and amazing as superheroes, and that they should be cherished and appreciated by society. However, often times they are not. The story he tells parallels the story of Icarus that is well known in Greek Mythology. Icarus was a young god with wax for wings flying too close to the sun, which resulted in his wings burning and him plunging to his death. Similarly, when young black men fly high, society tries to shoot their wings to make them fall.
“I come here today to talk about how I feel
And I feel like that we are treated differently than other people
And I don’t like how we’re treated
Just because of our color doesn’t mean anything to me” – Temptation
Analysis: This is the intro of the song. It’s the recording of a nine-year old girl from Charlotte, North Carolina in 2016. This was the address that she gave in a council meeting days after police fatally shot an unarmed black man named Keith Lamont Scott.
Analysis: The first part of the lyric conveys the idea that some white Americans just use blacks to their own advantage no matter what the cost. In addition to that, blacks have constantly been kept separated from each other. Slavery separated the familial unit, and now incarceration keeps many black men from their families.
Analysis: Many labels throw money at rappers who make trap music that focuses on money, women, drugs, and gang-banging. However, music on these topics is often times heard by a young audience and has the power to influence their behavior. Therefore, record labels signing artists who only promote that life style further perpetuate the implementation of high incarceration rates amongst black men in America.