The Brooklyn rapper tackles racism and white nationalism in new album
"(Trump) revealed that (racism) is still alive and well," he said
For Joey Badass, there are three K’s and two A’s in America and in the land of the free, not everyone is liberated.
“People have to realize and wake up and notice that the country is not here to benefit everyone that’s living in it,” the Brooklyn rapper told CNN.
Joey released “Land of the Free,” a passionate critique of racism in America that touches on the rise of President Donald Trump, mass incarceration, police brutality and the rise of white nationalism.
The single is part of the rapper’s upcoming album, “All-Amerikkkan Badass,” which is out April 7 and includes collaborations with artists like J. Cole and Styles P.
The three K’s in America also appear in rapper Ice Cube’s 1990 debut solo album, “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.”
“(Trump) revealed that (racism) is still alive and well – that there’s still bigots out there. He exposed the bigotry that still exists in this country even after a black president,” Joey argued.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Joey, whose real name is Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott, voiced his support for NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose refusal to stand for the national anthem to protest racism last year ignited a movement in sports, but also triggered a fiery outrage from others.
“I loved when (Kaepernick) did that because we haven’t seen an athlete stand up in a way that he did since like Muhammad Ali,” Joey said. “… “We gotta be heard in some type of way. I know me, I’m not standing for the national anthem any time soon.”
According to a report in ESPN, Kaepernick has said he has made his point and will stand for the national anthem if he’s playing next season.
Joey said that while he does not agree with Trump on the issues, there is a “silver lining” in the Trump era — a surge of “more uplifting,” socially conscious music.
“The music has taken a shift now. I’m not the only artist that feels this way,” he said. “Everyone is starting to feel somewhat responsible because we’re realizing the power that we have as individuals, as musicians, as people with high influence.”
Joey said that his new collection of music is inspired and charged by a sense of responsibility he felt as a young artist to speak out on issues that impact his community.
“This is what I think about everyday. This is not me stepping out of my comfort zone or anything,” he said. “This is literally what I feel and what I’ve been dealing with since I was born.”
Joey got candid about his personal experience with racism as a young black man in New York City.
“Just being a young black man, throughout my lifetime there’s been many encounters that I had that I deem as racist,” he said, describing incidents where he would be watched or followed walking into stores and not being able to hail a cab in New York City late at night.
“Uber saved me like every young black man in New York City,” he said.
The rapper said that while he is “honored” to have lived through Obama’s presidency, even the former President experienced racism himself and was unable to usher in the change that many had hoped for.
“People are starting to wake up and confront the issues that are going on,” he said, adding, “Especially black people because I honestly believe President Obama put black people to sleep, in a way.