Lorraine Motel – One of the most provocative and insightful records of this decade was released out of Houston by rapper Killa Kyleon this past April on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. The album is 16 tracks filled with Kyleon’s belief that the Black American Dream died with MLK Jr. in 1968. Each song builds on that belief and presents different experiences that impact life for everyone.
“They done killed a n***a dream Dr. King, now I’m certain that a change won’t come/ It’s like we marchin’ for nothin’, 50 years same topic that’s the shit we discussin’/ Racism, gettin’ killed we ain’t accomplishin’ nothin’/ They did away with the rope now they pullin’ the trigga/ The dream died in Memphis, we ain’t fullfillin’ his vision, demoralizing our women, leaving our kids with fatherless children…” (Track 9 – ‘Change Gone Come’)
Story | Sara Loretta
Image | RBC Records
When I first sat down to listen to this album, I wasn’t prepared for the content, partially because Kyleon has predominantly been classified as a gangsta rapper. About halfway through on ‘Skin Is My Sin,’ I completely lost it and cried for the rest of the album. Let me point out that there are MAYBE two other records (It Was Written by Nas, and All AmeriKKKAN Bada$$ by Joey Bada$$) that have made me cry because I can actually feel the pain, hatred and sadness between an artist and their lyrics.
‘Skin Is My Sin’ discusses the disadvantages the black community still experiences today (60 years after I Have A Dream), including the idea that Obama wasn’t enough…
“God Bless America, say that they Christian / white versus black, they just hate that we different. Obama in office it don’t make a difference/ What’s crazy he back and he in position, but they actin’ like he ain’t influential”
There isn’t just pain on Lorraine Motel, there’s celebration for hard work, for pushing through adversity. On the ‘Strong Black Woman’ track, the ballad applauds women that are putting themselves through school, while either being mothers or broke. Kyleon gives shouts “to all [my] strong black women” who have succeeded such as Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Obama, Oprah and Condoleezza Rice.
Overall, this album is a response to Killa Kyleon’s infuriation with our government and the minimal evolution of racial equality since the 1963 March on Washington, the Selma March of 1965, the Black Panther protests and the fateful day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. His lyrics are so raw and melodic that the project speaks an unfortunate truth that most Americans look away from.
While I am not going to sit here and pretend like I have even remotely experienced hardships similar to what the black community has been burdened with, it’s albums like Lorraine Motel that keep me educated and open-minded to the stationary environment we face as a nation.
Lorraine Motel is available for download or streaming on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play.