Joey Bada$$, Malia Obama's favorite rapper, released a new clip "Like Me" featuring BJ the Chicago Kid that goes beyond the usual chick track, where rappers try to bring the ladies to the table. Instead of just a love story, Bada$$ touches on the Black Lives Matter movement when police cut him down for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Raised between the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush and Bed-Stuy, Bada$$'s clip is shot in the latter and follows him as he begins dating a girl just out of an abusive relationship with a thief. When the thief sees Bada$$ with his old girlfriend strolling hand in hand on the block, he pulls a gun on Joey and the girl. A struggle ensues and he accidentally shoots the girl and is poised to shoot Joey too until police turn up and he turns the gun on them. Joey escapes as the cops shoot the gunman. Later, Joey returns to the crime scene where the cops see him in the crowd and chase him. Eventually the police catch up to Joey who surrenders with his hands up, before turning to run again. The police shoot him in the back and his blood splashes the camera.
Moments later, he rises from the ground as a ghost, bumping into the gunman who killed him, the girl he'd been dating and numerous others who've died.
One part Lost Boyz's "Renee," Joey's video shows how, by virtue of your surroundings, one can end up in the middle of a situation that becomes deadly—especially as an African American. From Joey's interview with Mother Jones:
"I pray that there is hope," he explains. "But even the fact that I have to dream like that is what's disturbing. My message is that it can happen to any one of us."
From BJ the Chicago Kid's beautiful voice to the universal message of a young black kid dreaming of hope in an environment where the odds are often stacked against him, I'm glad to see artists digging into politics again.