Rapper T.I. has released a politically charged song titled “War Zone” that’s chock-full of Black Lives Matter-inspired themes and racial rhetoric.
The song, featured on the Atlanta-based artist’s new Us or Else EP, features the refrain of “Hands Up, Cant’ Breathe,” a reference to the Black Lives Matter protest chants made popular following the police-involved killing of New York City resident Eric Garner.
“War Zone” references other high-profile shootings of black men, including that of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer in an incident that was live-streamed in a widely shared Facebook video, and of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police.
They pull you over, ask you where your license at
Be careful reachin’ for it, you know you can die for that
Pardon me, somebody tell me what happened to Alton
Sterling, killed Philando right in front of the girl
And the world saw
Everybody’s reaction was, “Hell naw”
The anthem also mentions Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Imagine Trayvon askin’ why you followed me
Feel threatened, hit him and whip him, that’s when he shot him down
His voice full of rage, T.I. concludes the song by trashing America’s founding document: “The Constitution and Emancipation Proclamation’s just a fu*kin’ piece of paper.”
“War Zone” was released exclusively on Tidal, the streaming service founded by Jay-Z. Tidal announced in February it would donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other social justice-related causes.
The song dropped a day after T.I. ripped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his strongly-worded critique of Beyoncé’s pro-Black Lives Matter MTV Video Music Awards performance. T.I. slammed “America’s Mayor,” saying he “destroyed” black families by imprisoning black people “for too long.”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson