In times like this, Nina Simone’s quote “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live” deeply resonates, and indie hip hop artists are stepping up to meet the moment. For the track “Leaders and Shooters,” a group of some of today’s most consistently social justice oriented hip-hop Black and Brown artists came together to deliver a potent message in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The Bronx-based duo Rebel Diaz collaborated with fellow rappers Tef Poe, Sa-Roc, Bambu, T-Dubb-O, and Rah Digga to speak up for the fight against police brutality—by all means necessary.
“From Minnesota to Ferguson to Chile, people are out in the streets resisting the police. Resisting a system that got its boot on our neck! We demand Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, for the Mapuche community in the South and so many others murdered by police,” the artists said in a statement sent to Latino Rebels.
In the song, each artist delivers a verse, as Rebel Diaz rap “They gone’ light this bitch, you decide your future, who are the leaders, who are the future,” in the verse, speaking to the protesters who have been criticized by many for expressing their rage using violent methods, including reportedly burning down the a Minneapolis police station. In her verse, Rah Digga raps, “Rather go out standing, than down on my knees,” after calling out the names of previous Black freedom fighters and leaders who were also vilified like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur.
“This is justified rage,” the artists said.