Aria

Trayvon Martin playlist

For my playlist, I’ve decided to gather a spectrum of songs that either name drop or merely dedicate the entirety of the song to Trayvon Martin., who was the locus of major news networks for a while in 2012, following his shooting by a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. The biggest issue that arose from this incident and unfortunate death of an innocent teenager was race, which clearly had a lot to do with Zimmerman’s motives. With this in consideration, it is easy to see why Hip Hop was so resolute to rap about it in songs. Although, many of the artists that have spoken out, whether it be an imperative political statement or just simple name-drop for the sake of acknowledgment of the occurrence, have received criticism, there hasn’t been an incident of this caliber that has been so widely acknowledged by Hip Hop, since the Rodney King attack caught on camera.  These songs are in no particular order.

On Designer, Tyga raps the lines “I got the gold thang/Makin these bitches scream/Make these pussies pop/Killin niggas for no reason, Trayvon/ This is Zimmerman, that drop head”  Obviously, this comment is quite tasteless, in that he uses the shooting of Trayvon as a way of bragging about his strength, power and sexual encounters. He was by no means addressing any of the social issues that revolve around this matter.  It’s almost an attempt at shock value gone terribly wrong, especially considering the song was released no longer than a couple months after the incident.

Rick Ross raps, “Channel Hoodie on, looking like Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman don’t want”. Perhaps this line wasn’t as bad as his date rape reference on U.E.N.O, however the name drop still felt out of place on an Usher record of all places. The saddest part was the amount of radio play that this song got on Hot 97 and Power 105 and having to hear that line over and over again.

So the Trayvon reference comes towards the end of the first verse, where Mr. Glover raps, “I’d Die for my hood, Trayyvoon”. The actual line received a lot of backlash, but I think it was mostly due to the fact that Gambino uses a goofy voice.  This just shows how Trayvon Martin has become a mere prop for a rapper’s attempt at clever punchline.

Instead of a mere reference, Plies went the latter route and dedicated an entire song to Trayvon Martin. This song is actually pretty heartfelt, which is surprising coming from an artist like Plies.  He spits some clever lines without much of any punchlines. He raps, “I’d never thought I could kill somebody and get out the same night”. It’s deep and it gets even deeper, when Plies raps, “My son is supposed to bury me, I’m not supposed my son”. The chorus is catchy and hearing Plies talk to Trayvon at the end of the track about how he heard that he was a great baller (Football, that is) and one can’t help but to feel the emotion coming out of Plies mouth.

This track is somewhere between an emotional breakdown and Def Poetry Jam session. Though the beat is fitting, I felt as if the artist was trying a bit too hard to use Trayvon Martin as a means of getting attention and selling records. The song is sort of bi-polar. One second, the rapper sounds like he’s crying and the next he’s sounding hard as a gangster. Also, the song is a little bit more than a minute long. The least he could’ve done was add a hook or something.

Houston legend Willie D. and his boys create an anthem in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death, which is exactly what this event needed.

Besides the fact that this song contains the actual audio footage of George Zimmerman calling 9-1-1 after growing suspicious of the unarmed Martin, which is irritating, since that had been played on various news outlets hundreds of times over and over again. This song is the farthest thing from creative and although I think Papoose is a lyrical monster on other tracks, he just sounds like a reporter on the track giving the listener details of the incident, instead of expressing himself on the matter.

This is what Papoose could’ve done with his Trayvon tribute if he had chosen to go the creative route. This is a well made track with a nice delicate beat. It is possibly my favorite off the list.

Another track by another rapper under the radar. With lines like, “George Zimmerman, you could go to hell”, it is clear that Swagga D is the most lyrically savvy rapper out there.  The chorus is weak and the flow is off at times. It’s the thought that counts. (and Youtube views, of course)

Only dude that could rap about locking and loading while sitting on the coach in his living room with a robe on and enjoying a bowl of Captain Crunch.  Well Played Omid.

This was apparently the first song dedicated to Trayvon in the wake of the incident.  This song seemed to cause a bit of controversy as well with the lyrics, “Lynch that cracker”.  It looks like the song was taken down from Youtube after some major backlash, however Zoeja Jean offers an update and review on this video.

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