With everything going on in the country right now, it seems as if pretty much everyone in the Hip-Hop community is taking different approaches to making a change regarding the same topic. This variety of voices ensures that the topics of police brutality, prison reform, and especially Black Lives Matter will get through to everyone, and they’re narratives that can no longer be ignored by the ignorant citizens of this country. One rapper that these topics hit especially close to home with is Meek Mill, who has been in and out of the prison system multiple times due to harsh punishments for certain things over the course of the last fifteen years or so. After being freed in 2018, he made it a very important point in his life to speak out and bring light to the idea of prison reform. Meek knows he has a very powerful voice and can speak up for those who might not be heard nearly as easily, so this has become a very important part of his life. In light of recent events, his messages are as relevant as ever, and he hasn’t remained silent about them either, unsurprisingly.
After taking to the streets to protest and speaking up about many different facets related to this monumental movement, Meek also released a song entitled “Otherside of America”. The beat begins with a smooth, somewhat Jazzy collection of some trumpets before drums and church bells come into the picture to build so momentum as they often do in many Meek Mill offerings. Finally, when the beat reaches its peak and it drops, percussion begins rattling off and even more drums blast through the speakers at intense, powerful decibels. Before all this happens, however, there is a clip taken from one of Trump’s speeches where he pretty much insults the African American community during his presidential campaign in 2016. It’s preposterous as is, but the fact that he wasn’t even president when he made these comments makes it even more unbelievable than ever that people still voted for him and he was elected president.
Beyond this, Meek continues to go on an absolute rampage as he remembers growing up in Philadelphia and his way of life back then. I knew Meek was going to go off like he always does, but especially in this track considering it’s so near and dear to his heart and man did he deliver. As the beat builds during his first verse, his energy builds right along with it so when it finally drops, he absolutely tears the entire instrumental to shreds. He spits in his uniquely characteristic fashion where he yells into the microphone, but it just adds more depth and vitality to the track than ever before. As he goes into more personal topics, it appears as if he’s not only passionate but angry in a sense, which is more than understandable. His frustration comes with the fact that he’s justifiably fed up with all of the injustice and inequality in his life. The premise of the song is extremely interesting as well, considering his perspective is literally on the other side of what Trump and his privileged followers stand for.
As he begins the second verse, he tones down his delivery ever so slightly as to lay a basis to rise up from. He does so somewhat rapidly, too, and after only about four to six bars, his words are as vigorous as ever. The song begins to come to an end and the production starts to die down, but there’s a clip of Meek appearing on CNN where he highlights how he wants to be the voice for the voiceless, while also discussing his rough upbringing full of murder which is his justification for needing to carry a gun around to protect himself. Beyond this in his actual lyrics themselves, Meek discusses his struggles like going to bed hungry because his mom was at work and his dad was deceased, how he was pretty much raised by the streets, and how the violence and destruction are never what he wanted, but he has to continue running from his own untimely death.
So many different artists are using their voice to make a change, and all of their different sonic styles are making sure that everyone is going to receive the message no matter what music they might listen to. I personally think that Meek’s rendition and story is one of the most powerful interpretations yet. Not only does his highly energetic disposition draw you in and captivate you, but his message is as raw and true as ever, so it’s sure to open some eyes and make people take a step back to look at the bigger picture. Even the cover art for this single is powerful, as it is a still shot from the Black Lives Matter protests in Philadelphia and shows cars engulfed in flames as a representation of the outrage that people understandably feel. A change needs to be made as soon as possible and it’s clear that this is a cause that a large portion of Americans is passionate about according to our actions over the past few weeks, but this needs to continue in order to truly make a difference. Meek Mill’s song “Otherside of America” is one of the most powerful protest songs released to date, so make sure you tune in as soon as you get the chance.