Music has long been a way to express anger, frustration and emotion, to protest what you feel is wrong and preach what you think is right, to establish a platform upon which your voice can be heard. It is especially amplified in times of widely-experienced distress.
In the 1960s, for instance, various artists used music to protest the Vietnam War, including Creedence Clearwater Revival with "Fortunate Son," Barry McGuire with "Eve of Destruction," and Edwin Starr with "War." The Library of Congress added "Fortunate Son" to its National Recording Registry due to its cultural and historical importance. These songs are heard by huge populations of people and can act as an effective, unavoidable means of spreading a message.
Rap music, as of late, has often taken on this role, pointing out a number of societal issues and frequently focusing on President Donald Trump. Notable examples include Childish Gambino's "This Is America," Common's "Letter to the Free," and Eminem's freestyle "The Storm," which captured the attention of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (warning: explicit lyrics).
Damian Lillard, who is best known for his prowess on the basketball court, has also gained a reputation as a talented rapper and recording artist, and joined the many established musicians above to record a protest track that directly disses Trump. He had previously made his feelings toward one aspect of the song, police brutality, known on Twitter.
The lyrics are filled with expletives, and for that reason we won't post those lyrics on here. You can read the lyrics of the song in its entirety on the Blazers' official NBA.com page. However, some notable lines are below:
- We in a pandemic, thought getting out I’d be more joyed
Then I watched a cop knee to the neck kill George Floyd
They hid behind the badge, we get to posting, it never lasts
Like, was we ever mad? Speed up the process and do the dash
- As a rich black man living in this country, it’s hard being comfy
When the hate your people get is coming from the ones amongst me
Used to call us "monkeys" and "slaves" and we overcame
Still our work is just beginning, protests look like parades
- How the president get on TV and be mad casual?
Like “If you looting we shooting” like it’s a game
Dude’s a clown and a trust fund baby, he numb the pain
Never had it hard, came into office unpatched the scars
Let the racist folks tell us we really ain't make it far
- I feel the tension rising, 1950 how we divided
I ain't even tripping on how the season decided
Racism pandemic is years ahead of the virus
Really mean it but they going to try to play us as tyrants
- Support black businesses, got to fight evil
We love ourselves, we don't hate white people
We just striving for equality, acknowledge me!
Don't just kill me for chilling when in my property
Lillard additionally mentions Colin Kaepernick in his passionate anthem for equality. Some fellow NBA players showed their support of Lillard's newest song through Twitter.
The full song is available on Lillard's SoundCloud.