R.O.E. Delivers Resistance in the Age of Revolution With “The Race”

We’ve seen an unsettling stream of unarmed black men and women being targeted by police officers. From Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, to Rekia Boyd – we all know their names. We have seen their deaths televised, right into our living rooms and mobile devices. It’s a dark reality that has led to the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, activism and conversations on police brutality. Chicago rapper R.O.E. walks listeners through the pain of witnessing this injustice on his new track “The Race.”

Story | Zara Hurtado

R.O.E. introduces his latest track “The Race” off the Long Way From Home EP with a no holds barred video directed by FromBailey. R.O.E. uses this track to speak on the injustice and discrimination plaguing the black community, tackling topics like police brutality and a corrupt justice system.

Depicting scenes of police brutality spanning from the 1960s to 2016 mirrored side by side, the visual sends a chilling message, reminding us of the reality of being black in America as R.O.E. raps:

“Feel as if the world is closing in on me/Putting an end on me because the color of the skin on me”

He packs his frustration into a steady flow that builds up with intensity over a simple beat, letting his anger serve as the driving force behind this track. References to Trayvon Martin and #BlackLivesMatter set a somber, yet determined tone proving that the rapper will not stay silent with lines like:

“I put my fist in the sky/Let my people know I’m down for the ride/‘Cuz normally I would sit and keep quiet/But I can no longer hide behind these walls/They have built to divide/So like a prophet I just have to transcribe.”

The visual is hard to watch at times, but when R.O.E. raps: “I thought I was chasing my dreams but I’m dodging my realities” it’s a reminder that the struggle the black community is facing is not over. It’s an act of resistance as he refuses to stay silent but promises to go forward.

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