"It's time, man. Damn, it's time."
—The Education of Sonny Carson
Rapper OG Maco recently sparked the internets by tweeting that his ATL neighbor Future has "ruined countless lives" with the drug advocacy in his music. I think it's absolutely super crucial that we have somebody in rap right now (and I don't mean you, dude—I mean somebody who people actually listen to) who is questioning the endless glamorization of drug consumption—if not the attendant brain/organ damage—that lots of young people (whose brains haven't even finished developing yet) are being absolutely saturated with via rap music. Which they should be, because rap is the most honest music in America.
That said, this is Young Super Future, who just released the best work of his life with Dirty Sprite 2—and no, you don't have to like codeine, molly, or benzos to agree that this shit is nasty. Future's blues bemoan—just as much as they celebrate and exalt—his cold soul, his heartbreak, his addiction. ("I gave up on my conscience, gotta live wit it/This remind me when I had nightmares.") If you really like rap—and not just the way that rap informs your self-image, and not only the rap you or your friends make, or the rap you grew up on (or the shit that just sorta sounds like it, which you also might make yourself)—well goddamn, you really might just be enjoying all this good shit dropping in 2015 right now.
Or that could all be bullshit. All I really know is that I am loving it. No, not your shit. Now sir, please, sit down.
Okay, but maybe we need something more than the voices arguing about whose fault it is that people are fucked up on drugs (a tired argument I've been hearing since I was a kid). Something more soul-balming than yet another rock star's out-loud self-examination (no matter how great it is). What we need most are those rare voices who speak to the struggle, the only struggle. The struggle for existence and freedom—for breath. The breath that white supremacists, imagining their power slipping away, would deny black people. The breath denied Jonathan Sanders, choked to death by an officer who allegedly said, "I'm gonna get that nigger." Breath denied Sandra Bland, found dead in her cell two days after being pulled over for switching lanes without a signal and "assaulting an officer." Breath denied Kindra Chapman, also last week—another alleged jail suicide. More names, more dead from this war.
If you want to hear somebody who knows these names and who's been on the front lines, connecting struggles worldwide since Ferguson, go check St. Louis's Tef Poe, who just released his opus War Machine 3. Go buy it on iTunes—I'll wait. Tef rightfully extols 2Pac as the patron saint of revolutionary rider shit, screaming holy war on his enemies—who possibly include street rivals, but definitely include tools of white supremacy: specific Missouri officials, neo-Nazis, even the Democratic Party. "Now follow as we ride," as Makaveli said.
Or as Sandra Bland herself said in one of her videos: "It's time, y'all. It's time." Ticktock.