Killer Mike has teamed up with celebrated visual artist/scholar Fahamu Pecou for a bone-chilling new single, “Emmet Still.”
Pecou is the artist responsible for the visuals on Killer Mike’s standout 2012 release, R.A.P. Music—his paintings also appear on the hit ABC series Black-ish and the Fox juggernaut, Empire. Pecou is well known for his intersection of hip-hop and visual art, as well as his poignant look at how those two art forms inform mainstream perceptions about blackness.
As Creative Loafing reports, the new single, which premiered on the site, doubles as the title song of an album and accompanying short film bearing the same name. It’s part of Pecou’s upcoming multi-disciplined solo exhibition at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
The poignant track features snippets of iconic author/activist James Baldwin’s 1965 debate against conservative William F. Buckley at Cambridge University over the question, “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” It’s a question that obviously still holds relevance today.
As for the rest of the song, which was produced by NerdPac aka Brian Harrison, it’s compelling and raw. leaning heavily on Pecou’s intellectualism about state-sanctioned violence against black bodies and the feeling that the killings are a part of an overall narrative about how a psychologically diseased country views black humanity.
But it gets raw when Mike shows up on the second verse, offering his scathing insights about how black people, namely men, are perceived– regardless of social standing. If it’s a prelude to what we’re going to see with Run the Jewels 3, we’re in for a treat.
“You’re name could be Tamir or your name could be Obama/They don’t like you, they don’t like your father or your mama,” Mike spits.
The song is obviously a play on the name of 14 year-old Emmett Till, whose 1955 lynching propelled the Civil Rights Movement.
“I represent the people po-po never loved/a hundred years ago we was lynched, we was drug,” Mike raps. “A hundred years later still face down in the mud/but I’ma tell you dirty ass devils one fact/you better get hip [cause] we will shoot back.”
Check out the song below.