In the wake of a recent string of brutal murders of Black Americans, including two at the hands of police, protests have erupted across the country to call for an end to structural racism and police violence. People are righteously outraged, and in some cases that level of anger mixed with a few individuals who wish to take advantage of the moment has led to rioting, looting, and violence.
Many in the music industry have been using their platform to draw attention to the movement in a different way by refraining from releasing or promoting their work during this time. However, it seems that XXXTentacion’s estate felt that we all needed to hear one of his old tracks right now.
The song “Riot” was initially released in 2015 and includes lyrics about issues of race and the unfortunate byproducts that sometimes occur when peaceful protests turn destructive. “Look in all the stores you wreckin’, n***a, I reckon/Think about the people who own it for ‘bout a second,” he raps on the song.
“I know you got your problems, but brother, they got theirs/This is not a game, quit violence and grow a pair.” He continues to advocate for peace on the track, continuing, “But sure, you’d rather hear me say, ‘F**k the black prejudice/Let’s murder different races, grow hatred, and form irrelevant/Views, and etcetera”.
It has been almost two years since XXXTentacion was gunned down in an apparent robbery outside a luxury motorcycle store. His estate has since release two posthumous albums titled Skins and Bad Vibes Forever. The Florida native was only twenty-years-old at the time of his death but had already made a big splash in hip hop with his genre-bending style. While he may not be around to witness the events happening around the country now, his lyrics are incredibly relevant for the time in which we are living. “Riot” is available now on streaming services.