The USA is in an economic free fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Black Americans are the ones who have been disproportionately impacted by mounting deaths and crushing job losses, making up a disproportionate number of the millions of people left unemployed. Already subjected to generations of systemic racism, stats showed that they were more likely to die from the coronavirus after losing their jobs in higher numbers. State medical examiners confirmed that George Floyd had contracted the coronavirus by late-April. He had also lost his job. But that didn’t cause Floyd’s death.
Instead, with a knee to his neck and head against the concrete, George Floyd became the face of one of the largest uprisings in modern American history. His final moments at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers was replayed on social media and television all across a country.
“I can’t breathe,” George Floyd said repeatedly, pleading for his mother and begging “please, please, please”. He was pronounced dead later in hospital. These are sadly, indelible moments in our history and have afflicted millions across the globe.
The Nashville native LiL Stormy, recently dropped his single “Damaged (RIP George Floyd)” to convey his thoughts and feelings on the subject. The plainspoken depiction of this tragic event, is the emotional center of the track, which takes a comprehensive look at police brutality.
The rapper’s voice is nuanced and understated, allowing his words to surface clearly above the skittering hi-hats and the shimmering keys: “We’re damaged, imagine a world living love, and never savage. We’re damaged, it’s tragic, gotta twelve running up and causing havoc.”
LiL Stormy’s focus, along with the connotations of the song is clear to all. It radiates out from everything he says, and reverberates through the speakers as he croons: “I can’t breathe, no baby I can’t breathe. Help me please, somebody help me please.” This makes the first listen of the track truly haunting, as it also serves as a reflection of the suffering so many people are enduring daily.
You can feel the empathy and passion poured into the track, as the lyrics pull and pull, until you are drawn into the bone-chilling narrative, and begin to ask the question why. Again, the plain-spokenness is the center-point of LiL Stormy’s oeuvre here, as he doesn’t hide behind cryptic messages, or ambiguous metaphors, to fill his melodic flow.
A high-water mark in LiL Stormy’s catalog, “Damaged (RIP George Floyd)” enlightens listeners of the talent the artist possesses. The song makes it easy to see just how naturally LiL Stormy’s vocals, raps, and lyrics come together to create a thoughtful and mature piece of work.
While the artist’s music has often detailed his own personal struggles and demons, this time around LiL Stormy has cast his attention on a national issue that should no longer be tolerable in the 21st century. The only problem is…too many of us are damaged!