Listen: Muja Messiah, Brother Ali & Boots Riley link U.S. currency to slavery
Photo by Adam Stanzak
Rap songs about money are a dime a dozen, but there are few that use it to put the American economy under the microscope as effectively as "Pocket Full of Slave Owners." The new Muja Messiah track featuring Brother Ali and Boots Riley of the Coup provocatively dissects the almighty dollar -- even featuring shamed L.A. Clippers owner on the cover of the single's art as part of a modified $100 bill.
On May 23, Muja Messiah will release his Mike the Martyr-produced solo album, God Kissed it the Devil Missed It. He has dropped tracks on Soundcloud to give a glimpse of the project's direction. So far, we've gotten the politically contemplative "King Joffrey" and the anti-police track "It Goes Down" with I Self Devine, evidence that Muja's only sharpened his skills as a solo artist since dropping collaborative projects with Maria Isa and Bobby Raps. This one is a beast.
Over a breezy, soulful Martyr beat, Muja details the necessity of the paper chase and the damages that come with it, while Ali zooms in on the money itself as symbol of how slavery's roots continue to run deep in the veins of America. "Admit it / Jewish brothers might feel a little funny if somebody put Nazis on the money," he raps with his trademark smooth but forceful style, showcasing how U.S. currency bares the faces of oppressors, and he goes on to highlight how slavery lives on through low-wage work and the prison industrial complex.
Suddenly the beat changes up as Boots Riley slinks into an intricate repeating rhyme scheme dealing with class and racial disparity in the legal system. The flow is slick, enough to be somewhat hard to parse, but it's jam-packed with knowledge and is worth the multiple listens you'll want to give it. The song's heavy and bursting with ideas, with a beat that wouldn't feel out of place at a backyard barbeque.
Almost every line here is filled with strong imagery and powerful sentiment, and Muja, Ali, and Boots once again prove to be quintessential examples of on point messaging sifted through straight rap skills. "We don't call 'em 'dead presidents', we call 'em 'slave owners,'" Muja concludes, after four verses connecting the dots between the current capitalist climate and the plantation system it was built upon.
With this many promising previews, God Kissed It The Devil Missed It is definitely a record worth looking out for.
Check out "It Goes Down" and "King Joffrey" below.
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