The topic of police brutality has always been a conspicuous point of question within American society, and one that the east-coast wordsmith has equitably blown the whistle on.
Chicago rapper Woes describes his latest offering as feeling “like riot mace”, a description so apt I wonder whether I have anything to add at all. War kicks off with the notorious sound of Edwin Starr’s 1970 smash hit, eminently sampled by Baltimore-born producer GoodBoy, where vintage tones melds into the glitz of more contemporary textures. Alongside a vitriolic Denzel Curry Unlocked-esque vocal performance from Zachary Sogh (Woes), the vibrant instrumental marries with sheer vigor to birth a tenacious protest piece the likes of the Chicago Seven could advocate for.
Whilst Woes’ staggered delivery occasionally contorts into unconventionality, his playful musings on the white house (highlighting the ‘white’), only serve to accentuate the striking relevance of the track, delivered as incendiary as a Molotov through a windshield, and, like vandalism, as striking as a rock in a cop’s face.
There’s not much you can do when there’s a line of 100+ officers between you and where you are trying to protest. The police were not diffusing the situation in the least; they were abusing their power in every way they could which included personal boxing matches between themselves and the protesters they had their eyes on.Woes reflecting on the violence at one of the rallies in downtown Chicago
“The land of the free” is a rhetoric awash in American culture, however 2020 and the years preceding shroud itself in enough hypocrisy to lodge its own protest against a slogan as old as the Francis Scott Key poem it’s based upon. Woes has frankly addressed the elephant in the room, using his impassioned narration to invert the old saying that a picture is worth 1000 words. The sonic contrast between the soul-infused tints of early 70’s Motown and Woes fiery and rhapsodic cadence hits with more validity than the hardships of life itself, emboldened by the screams of oppression that the previous regime sought to silence.
Trumps ironic MAGA motif has failed to stand to test of time, chiefly down to the endeavours of individuals like Sogh and the movement he represents; reminding all of us that in the face of adversity and inequality, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.