I changed so much since ‘Volume 1’
I don’t give a fuck who don’t like me…
Pandemic illuminates darkness
Uprisings just hit me the hardest
And all you virtue signalling fucks
Will not get to sample the harvestJesse Got Away
Hey. Hey. Hey you. Yeah, you, future cultural historian. Yeah. I’m contacting you from the past. Wooooooooooo! Wait… no, I’m not a ghost, am I? Scrap that last comment. Just put down your Diplomat smoking pipe and remove your monocle, listen to me for a second. How’s the future treating you? Flying cloud storage, you say? Electronic cigarettes with AI sentience? Well that all sounds absolutely pointless, but good luck to you. Gig economy for cultural history, is it? Because Elon Musk is now the Great Leader at more than a thousand years old and can’t afford to give any workers at all any rights because he needs to fund his great humanitarian expedition to carve a visible doge meme onto the surface of Jupiter? For the lols? You have to pay for your own monocle and pipe?? Yeah, yeah, that all sounds awful, but not much different from my time and I kinda wish you’d stop going on about it, it’s my turn to speak.
How are you currently gauging the cultural mood of the years 2020-21 out there in the year 3000? Sure, if you wanted an inspiring and comforting read on everything you could just go to Arlo Parks’s debut album. Perhaps if you wanted a glimpse into how humanity strived (and often succeeded) to make creative connections despite the viral barriers you could take a listen to Charli XCX’s magnificent ‘how i’m feeling now‘. Or, yeah, if you wanted to go all Pitchforky I guess you could name that Fiona Apple album. What’s that? You’re actually currently evaluating the era through the prism of Emily in Paris? Damn, that’s a good angle, and I’d love to see what horrors you’ve unearthed during your studies. But can I suggest something far more advantageous? How about you study the illuminating trilogy of albums released by Big $ilky over that period?
Big $ilky Vol.1 was released in April 2020, less than a full month into most Western nation’s full lockdown, and likely recorded back before society being sealed off was even a serious concern. It was a cool, breezy collection, wrapped in an multicoloured and vibrant album cover, full of absolutely top tier mainstream rap bangers such as Put Your Cape On. The mood was good and the vibes were vibing.
On May 25th 2020, George Floyd, a 46 year old black man, was murdered by a Darek Chauvin, a white policeman, after being accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill. People were obviously shocked, as this as the first time an unarmed black person had been illegally killed by a white police officer apparently sworn to protect people.
Nah, just kidding, it was roughly the 64,803,832nd time it had happened. As far as I can tell, it’s pretty much a national pastime over there in the US, they just frequently give racists guns and watch to see what happens. The results are pretty much what you’d expect. George Floyd wasn’t even the first of the year 2020. By the time of his gangland execution, there had already been the case of Breonna Taylor in March, shot six times by police while in her own apartment, and the case of Manuel Ellis earlier that same month, choked to death in a police cell after being brought in on charges the racist police can’t even verify. Manuel’s last words, chillingly, were ‘I can’t breathe’, achingly quoted in a fantastic Shamir song of the same title. Oh! Except, no! That song was released in fucking 2018, and was referencing a completely different case of police brutality against black Americans! The 2014 killing of Eric Garner, who was arrested after breaking up a fight and then accused of – and you’ll like this –selling loose cigarettes without a tax license! You’ve gotta murder these dangerous criminals, right? How many other good natured brawls is this hoodlum going to break up? What if that obviously bullshit cigarette selling charge were true?? What if Eric Garner was just allowed to go ahead and sell all of the twenty cigarettes in a packet?! Think of the tax that New York state would miss out on!! Like, maybe even a full dollar!! Some people just don’t deserve human rights, do they? So, yeah, Eric was also choked to death, because this giant criminal gang of the US police do love them their ritualistic killings. Eric repeated ‘I can’t breathe’ eleven times as his face was crushed into the concrete by policeman Daniel Pantaleo.
Yeah, so, guess what? ‘Big $ilky vol.2‘ was again a sign of the general mood when it was released in July 2020. The good times were absolutely over. It was angry, it was accusatory, it didn’t politely advocate for potential systematic change, it indignantly demanded that this fucking shit stop right motherfucking now!! The cover of the record was no longer a peppy party of pills, champagne and vaginas, it was an aggressive monochrome, with cartoon depictions of Psalm One and Angel Davenport scowling while brandishing assault weapons and giving black power salutes. Angel Davenport has the name of Trayvon Martin scrawled across her chest. Overdone? Ha! Did you not read the last paragraph?? The name of God was often brought up, as if the duo believed that it was the best way out of this crisis. ‘Vol.2’ was named as one of the greatest protest records of 2020*. However, there was still hope in the possibility of change, ‘Vol.2’ was still empowering and expectant in the inherent good of society.
(*and, let’s not forget, also the 27th best record of 2020 on these hallowed pages. Slightly tangentially, so many of those EPs on that list of the greatest protest records I linked to are absolute bops)
Well, fuck, here comes ‘Vol.3’. It’s May 2021, and what have we really done in the ten months since ‘Vol.2’s release? There have been three further recorded (recorded! These are just the ones who happen to be caught, I’ll let you consider how small a percentage that might cover) incidents of police murdering unarmed black Americans. Andre Hill was shot dead in December 2020, because apparently a mobile phone looks like a gun, then over the course of three days in April 2021, both Daunte Wright and Lindani Myeni were shot dead in Minnesota and Hawaii respectively. Now, before you get angry about Daunte Wright, know that the officer who shot him apparently confused her gun with a taser, so that’s all completely above board and understandable. I’m sure the next time that a black person is caught carrying a firearm the police will cheerily move him along once the black person explain that they thought the gun was a packet of Juicy Fruit. Rather than, y’know, just shooting him immediately six or seven times and arguing that it was in self defence.
Ah, fuck, ‘self defence’, that means we have to talk about Kyle fucking Rittenhouse, don’t we? Listen, I really don’t want to, I think the general discussion around Rittenhouse’s murders are as divisive, polarising and as toxic as those around Ariana Grande licking that donut (Never. Forget), but the whole thing really does depict what the near militarised response to the Black Lives Matter movement has become since the grains of optimism evident on ‘Vol.2’. In August 2020, Rittenhouse was seventeen years old – barely a fucking foetus and probably still in the phase of seriously considering a Chester Bennington tattoo – and went to a BLM protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin armed to the fucking teeth with an AR-15 rifle (for all you people who aren’t gun nuts, an AR-15 is, scientifically, a really fucking big gun. It’d be, like, one of the best weapons to pick up in Call of Duty). By the way, this BLM protest followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, which we’ve not even had time to mention. Blake didn’t die, so I guess it was only a second degree case of police brutality. A few people at the protest thought it was a bit too much for this child to be intimidating the protests armed like he was supporting the Mujahideen in the 1988 Soviet-Afghan War, so attempted to disarm him. Joseph Rosenbaum lunged at Rittenhouse, attempting to take the AR-Killing-Machine from him, and was shot four times, dying on the spot. Rosenbaum was unarmed. Anthony Huber, also unarmed, decided to bravely take down the mass shooter with his fucking skateboard, hitting Rittenhouse in the shoulder, neck, and head. Rittenhouse shot him as well, killing him instantly. Gaige Grosskreutz then attempted to prove the whole ‘Good Guy With a Gun‘ thing by pointing a handgun at Rittenhouse to try and convince the shooter to down his weapons. Rittenhouse shot him as well! Luckily only hitting his arm and not killing Grosskreutz as well. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start labelling these people killed as heroes or anything, they’ve all got their personal issues and never announced themselves as pefect human beings. But they both tried to stop a potential mass shooting, and did not deserve to die.
And he was found not guilty of all charges. OK, first of all, let’s not go crazy here, I don’t think we should suddenly support the Prison Industrial Complex when it suits us, I’ve seen people who laughably consider themselves left wing (‘So disappointed in most of my top peers’) grossly fantasise about the horrendous punishments that need to be handed out to Rittenhouse, drooling while they explicitly imagine homophobic situations for the teenager in prison showers. Usually involving well built and violent black men. Like, dude, that’s still racist! Secondly, it is absolutely and evidentially true that Rittenhouse would not get anyway near the same treatment were his skin even a slightly darker shade, but that’s an issue with the wider structural racism in Western society (this is not. Just. An American issue), and shouldn’t be used as an argument why Rittenhouse should be more harshly punished as some sort of reparation. The solution to one thing being shitty isn’t to make everything shitty.
But, fuck, that was miserable, wasn’t it? A baby munchkin takes a gun that even the NRA President shouldn’t be allowed to get his hands on and marches to a BLM protest with the obvious intent of at least intimidation and with the obvious endgame of shooting someone, and the courts say “Yeah, fair enough, fuck those woke SJW cunts, we can’t lose this Culture War”. Jesus, the fucking Culture War! ‘Big $ily Vol.3’ came out and looks over the landscape, at what has changed since the (latest!) BLM movement and sees… what? Structural reform? Real attempts at change? The demilitarisation of the police? No. Aunt Jemima removed a stereotypical black character from their syrup bottles. Harry Shearer said he will stop voicing black characters on The Simpsons. Dr Seuss stopped publishing a few of their books that were straight up racist*. Disney… probably did some sort of fucking nonsense, I don’t know. Seriously, fuck Disney. In case you didn’t notice, all these things are *drumroll* absolutely fucking meaningless. BLM fought for structural change and complete police overhaul. All it got in the end was a handful of multibillion dollar companies performing some utter virtue signalling shite. I know, I often hate the phrase ‘virtue signalling’, when it’s often used by certified bollockfaces as a meaningless comeback to people doing actual good things that the bollockface has no response to. “What’s that? You’re donating millions to BLM causes and funding scholarships to some of the least fortunate people in the world? Jeez, megacringe, such virtue signalling, bro”. I mean, I work at a refugee charity, so my virtue signalling is off the chart. Oh, but me just casually saying that I work at a refugee charity then? Yeah, that was absolutely virtue signalling. And big fucking multinational companies, whose vulture capitalism is actually destroying the world, deciding not to call one of their products ‘Coon Spray’ and announcing what an important ally they are? Fucking shameless virtue signalling, yeet that shit into the sea. All that BLM ever got was pathetic wins in a gross Culture War that nobody wanted to be in in the first place.
(*Ted Cruz. The absolute worst. A pathetic lacky who licks the boots of a man who once claimed he killed Diana and orchestrated 9/11, or something. If you happen to be in America, next tme he’s giving a talk on some utter Culture War bullshit – maybe claiming The Loony Left are trying to cancel Rick and Morty or some shit – please, for the love of humanity, just turn up with an AR-15. And shoot him. Honestly, this isn’t a ‘bit’, that would actually be a great thing. See, part of my white privilege is that I can happily and enthusiastically encourage the murder of public figures with no consequence. It’s awesome fun, and you non white people are really missing out)
Because Disney, Aunt Jemima, fucking Fox, they’re all allies aren’t they? Look, black people, we’re not going to actually do anything, but our new logo doesn’t have a minstrel caricature anymore! We’re all allies, yeah!? Jesus fucking Christ. One of the highlights of ‘Vol.3’ is a song called Allyship Fatigue, which opens a whole other kettle of nonsense. The term originally refers to white people getting tired of supporting BLM and similar movements which… fuck me… poor you, tissues for your issues. I read $ilky’s take on it as being fatigued by the fake and virtue signalling allyship that’s been offered as a solution to the issues highlighted by BLM and similar movements. Honestly, I’m a white person, and even I’m fatigued by that bullshit. I would never call myself an ally, that’s seeking involvement and importance that isn’t earned. I sometimes do shit, I sometimes give money, I guess I work in a sector (and for a black run charity) that’s on the correct side, but calling yourself an ally is just announcing that you shouldn’t be forgotten in all this. No, I didn’t attend any protest, I’ve never donated to a worthy cause, but I call myself an ally on Twitter, so don’t forget about me! I may be white, but I’m one of them, yeah?! I sometimes even think that referring to yourself as an ally even betrays a thought process that considers black people a completely different species and that you, as an exceptional white person are announcing that you allow the existence of black people. It’s gross. OK, I might be overthinking it, but I get fucking angry sometimes!
Psalm One, at least, has seen this shit before. At the height of #MeToo she bravely decided to reveal the horrendous sexism rampant at the Rhymesayers label, where she was the only female artist. And what did she get for that? Absolute blacklisting, because we have decided that we generally don’t like sexual abuse as a society. but we hate people who actually call it out. Christ, I remember when I first discovered Psalm One, and naively thinking “Gosh, she’s amazing! Why isn’t she a bigger deal?!”.
Christ, I’d planned to write four entries today, but this record has got me al fired up. I was going to write more about the European response to BLM, to stress how this was very much not just an American issue, but fuck me, I need a lie down. Anyway, Psalm One states that ‘Unless you a fan or supporter or family/I’ma do me you can do yours’, so I’m OK as a fa, right? We cool?
God, I love these artists. Give them your money!!