LL Cool J is expressing his pain through rhyme.
As tensions build over George Floyd’s death, the hip-hop icon has taken to social media to demand justice. On Sunday night, the Rock the Bells founder released a powerful rap about the racism, police brutality, and injustice in America.
“For 400 years you had your knees on our necks / A garden of evil with no seeds of respect,” he begins.
He addresses the police officer who killed Floyd after kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes and the protests that have resulted across the country. “After Chauvin killed George Floyd, we got next,” he raps. “Molotov cocktails, anarchy on the set / The rich took the loot so now we loot shit / Feeling like a caged tiger that’s whipped to do tricks / That’s why I started fires and yelled and threw bricks.”
During his nearly three-minute freestyle, LL also pointed out the disparity in the treatment of white and black protestors. “But let a ni**a try and do that white boy shit / Won’t be no rubber bullets ricocheting off ribs / But the white supremacists go in the cops’ face and spit.”
In addition to rapping about Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner, the 52-year-old reflected on the years of racism he has endured. “How much of my pride I gotta swallow,” he raps. “I was dealing with this shit as a teen in Kangols / Harassed by cops, word to my ancestors’ souls / And watching that man die slow left a hole.”
He continued with more chilling bars. “I’m tellin’ it to those with melanin, you’re not alone / The new Malcolm, Martin, and Marcuses are now grown / America’s a graveyard full of black men’s bones / And I ain’t gotta tell ya that Breonna Taylor got slayed in her own home.”
He concluded, “Black lives matter, forever.”
The hip-hop community continues to speak out. JAY-Z called Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to demand justice for Floyd, while Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Dr. Dre have used their platforms to bring awareness. J. Cole, Ariana Grande, and Tinashe have also participated in rallies across the country.