GroovyTracks – This week in Hip Hop, Kanye West joined the movement, as protesters across the U.S. continue to revolt against the recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black men and women. Also, JAY-Z personally called Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and demanded justice for Floyd, which was met with new charges for the four officers involved in his death. Finally, Run The Jewels surprised fans by releasing their album, RTJ4, two days early and for free, as fans were encouraged to instead donate money to protest efforts.

But first, a message from GroovyTracks:

Hip Hop Week In Review: Kanye West Joins Protests & JAY-Z Demands Justice From Minnesota Governor

We here at GroovyTracks are in solidarity with the organizers and protesters in the streets, who are demanding equal law enforcement protection for the Black men and women and other people of color that America has failed.

As early as Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s “The Message” (1982), Hip Hop has churned out music addressing inequality, police brutality, illegal search and seizure, and the outright murder of Blacks and Latinos in its lyrics.

Song after song.

Album after album.

Rap has served as the voice of our culture, shining a light directly on this nation and its unequal treatment of brown people who continue to die.

It’s not enough to decry racism, we need to stand up against it!

For George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the many many Black lives lost before them, we honor your legacy.

Fight for what’s right.
Fight to be heard.
Find a way to help.

Kanye West Joins George Floyd Protests

Kanye West‘s silence after the death of George Floyd prompted speculation from some about how — and if — the MAGA hat-wearing rapper would eventually respond to this latest example of police brutality. This week, that changed, as ‘Ye was seen joining Black Lives Matter protesters in the South Side of Chicago, as they demanded the termination of multi-million dollar contracts between the police department and local public schools.

Furthermore, Kanye reportedly donated $2 million to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in an effort to cover their legal fees. The Jesus Is King crafter also set up a 529 college savings fund for Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, that will fully cover her college tuition when she’s older.

Read more about how Kanye has joined the movement here.

JAY-Z Demands Justice From Minnesota Governor — Gets Results

This week, JAY-Z called up Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz personally to demand that the ex-Minneapolis police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death be held accountable.

During a press conference, Gov. Walz said Hov had spoken to him, not as the world-renowned “performer,” but as a “dad” in “visceral pain.” Following their phone call, JAY applauded the governor’s reassigning of the Floyd case to Attorney General Keith Ellison.

“Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law,” the billionaire-rapper wrote in a statement.

It seems JAY’s voice was heard, because on Wednesday (June 3), Ellison charged the three remaining officers with aiding and abetting murder and upgraded Derek Chauvin‘s charge to second-degree murder.

Read more about Hov’s impact here.

Run The Jewels Release RTJ4 Two Days Early & For Free

Due to the world being “infested with bullshit” — as Run The Jewels put it — the acclaimed duo decided to release their new album, RTJ4, two days ahead of schedule and offered fans a download link for free.

“Here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all,” they wrote in a joint statement. “We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love.”

Although the album was offered for free, fans of the duo were encouraged to donate to organizations listed on their website that support protesters during this time, with El-P reporting that efforts had raised over $150,000 only a day after RTJ4‘s release.

Both Run The Jewels members have been vocal following the senseless killing of George Floyd and during the country’s protests against police brutality, with Killer Mike’s impassioned Atlanta speech gaining compliments from Dre and Eminem.

Read more about RTJ4‘s early release here.

Reviews

— G Herbo — PTSD (Deluxe)
— KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz — H.A.R.D.
— Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist — Alfredo

#DXCLUSIVES: Dre, Chuck D & Rakim

Dre Hopes His New “Captured On An iPhone” Video Inspires Young Rappers To Speak Up

Dre, of the famed production duo Cool & Dre, spoke to GroovyTracks upon the release of his new video and single, “Captured On An iPhone.” As the title suggests, the song focuses on the shocking accounts of police violence often filmed by bystanders.

After the song received a co-sign from Snoop Dogg, Dre released the track in hopes of inspiring young rappers to speak out and create music in response to the current — and long-standing — presence of police brutality in America.

“I just hope that when people hear it, it moves them and makes them reflect on everything that’s going on,” he told DX. “Hopefully, it’s also a force of positivity. Music is like medicine; it’s healing. I hope it inspires the artists to get a boost and create some music to talk about what’s going on.”

Read Part 1 of Dre’s interview here.

Chuck D Says “Every Single Emotion Young People Have Is Justified Right Now”

As a Hip Hop pioneer who’s been urging the masses to “Fight The Power” for 30 years, many fans looked to Chuck D for his reponse to the current climate. However, the Public Enemy frontman told DX the crushing weight of Geroge Floyd’s death has left him with “no words.”

“If you don’t really feel it’s conducive to say certain things, you just stay fucking quiet until you find the right words for it. And right now, there are no words for this shit,” he said. “I got no voice at this moment, because every single emotion young people have is justified right now. It’s emotion.”

See his full interview here.

Revisit: Rakim Speaks On Police Racial Profiling and #BlackLivesMatter Movement

This week, GroovyTracks revisited past stories and interviews where Hip Hop artists have taken a stand against racism and police violence in America. In a 2016 interview with Rakim, the golden age spitter detailed his experiences of police racial profiling and how he’s taught his sons to deal with cops.

“I got sons, and I try to tell them, ‘Look, man, when you in the car and you get pulled over, hands on the steering wheel. Yes, sir. No, sir.’ Your job is to either wind up in jail, so I can come get you, or be able to pull off,” he said. “So we have to be smart, but still, what they’re doing is uncalled for, and unfair, man. The laws are gonna have to change.”

Revisit the interview with Rakim here.

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