As the tragedy behind 17 year-old Trayvon Martin‘s fatal shooting continues to garner national attention, SOHH reached out to rapper Jasiri X to find out more on his decision to pen a record sparking awareness on the fatal shooting.
Asked what motivated him to rap over Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s “No Church in the Wild,” X said it was the hook, sung by Frank Ocean, which drew him to use the song to tell Trayvon’s story.
“I was just so angry and heart broken about what was going on,” Jasiri told SOHH when asked about the motivation behind his record. “I wanted something to capture the intensity of what happened. Just as a writer, I felt I needed a beat that could capture the intensity. I didn’t feel like any beat that I had captured that intensity so when I heard the hook, it’s Frank Ocean asking what’s God to a non-believer. I looked at Trayvon as a child of God, like, what’s a child of God to somebody who doesn’t see you as that. He didn’t see Trayvon as a child of God or even as a human being. He saw him as a criminal, as a suspicious character that he could shoot down in cold blood and get away with it. And then I heard Frank Ocean say, will he make it out alive, no church in the wild, and I saw that as, ‘Where’s the refuge as young black men? We can be shot down and killed without justice. We will make it out of this society as old men?’ Many of us don’t even see ourselves making it to 25, 30.” (SOHH)
No stranger to penning socially conscious records, Jasiri said his fans expected him to speak out on the Martin tragedy before even laying down his vocals.
“This is what I do,” Jasiri added when asked his thoughts on being the first hip-hop artist to make an awareness record on Martin. “I’ve made songs for Oscar Grant because I was actually in Oakland when the rebellion happened. I make those socially-conscious records in hip-hop. People actually began to hit me on Twitter before I even put the song out. They were like, ‘Are you going to do something? We know you’re going to address it.’ My fans know this is what I do. I made a song during the whole Jena Six. That was a time where I had actually stopped rapping and I wrote a song about the Jena Six and it ended up being played all over the country. That’s what got me back into hip-hop.” (SOHH)
Jasiri’s new record began bubbling across the Internet this week.
Rapper Jasiri X, along with doing performances and speaking gigs at the conference, shot a video for his song “Trayvon,” protesting what he declares is a lack of justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed Feb. 26, allegedly by a block watch captain in a gated Florida community. Jasiri X, working with Paradise Gray, raps over the track “No Church in the Wild,” from Kanye West/Jay-Z, as he documents the youth’s tragic walk to a neighborhood store to buy a bag of Skittles. He comes around to the conclusion, “And George Zimmerman wasn’t even arrested/the message is only white life is protected — in America.” (Post-Gazette)
No longer a local story, Martin’s death has even sparked a reaction from United States’ President, Barack Obama.
President Obama spoke in highly personal terms on Friday about how the shooting in Florida of a 17-year-old black youth named Trayvon Martin had affected him, saying that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” The comments by Mr. Obama were his first on the explosive case in which George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, has claimed self defense after shooting Mr. Martin several weeks ago. The case has generated outrage about the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law. Mr. Obama was asked about his feelings regarding the case during the announcement of his nominee for president of the World Bank in the Rose Garden on Friday morning. (The New York Times)
Check out Jasiri X’s “Trayvon” below: