T.I. of Grand Hustle released an EP in September 2016 called “Us or Else” with six tracks featuring various artists.
I cannot pretend I have ever listened to his music as much as I have in the past six months.
Don’t get me wrong I like his music. I rock to it when I hear it on the radio and I dance to it when I hear it in the club.
“Whatever You Like, Ain’t I, About the Money, and Live Your Life” are just a few favorites.
Three months later, in December 2016, he released a fifteen song full studio LP album entitled “Us Or Else: Letter to the System”.
It continues to be in heavy rotation on my playlist.
It feels like what real hip hop was meant to be, a pure expression of how you feel about the society in which we live set to music that moves you.
T.I., members of Hustle Gang and other guest, including Uncle Charlie, have created an oral history chronicling the social sentiment of the day.
When the trap is spitting bars of consciousness know its time, you best wake up.
What I love is, I have been listening to both projects since they dropped and I’m unable to choose a favorite track.
I just put it on and let it ride, cause they jammin and droppin knowledge from start to finish.
Still, I am partial to a few songs. Of course, the song “Writer” feat Translee and B.o.B hits home for me.
“My ambitions as a writer…I just wanna answer what yall askin…” Listen. Hear the words.
“Narrator, culture curator, middle finger **** the haters…”
“I be writing cause it’s therapeutic.”
Don’t neglect to see those who are preaching the path by being too caught up in the hoopla.
“They don’t respect us, just respect what that paper do…” “Don’t Fall for That”
I could quote near about the whole album but really, I mean really, you should just get it yourself.
And like me, each time you hear it you will find another metaphor, analogy and word combination that makes you think and evaluate where we stand currently.
The title “Us or Else” clearly pays homage to the “Justice or Else” slogan popularized by Minister Farrakhan of the NOI for the 10.10.15 rally at the National Mall.
I said it then and I will say it again:
“These past years have held serious turmoil. Since the election of the first Black president of the United States, bigoted hate filled so-called ‘citizens’ of our nation have heightened the hysteria.
Some killing in uniform under the guise of protection and service, others in plain clothes killing pastors and parishioners after sitting with them in prayer. The devil does not care.
Or else – is the inevitable implosion this nation will face if it refuses to rectify the sins of the past and create a level field for the future. Without TRUE justice there cannot be peace.”
So much has happened since then, unfortunately we continue to be under attack by the injustices ingrained in too many of the policies and people of this country.
However, if you know me you know I am going see the bright side. Quiet as it’s kept, there is so much positivity within our community.
We are still here, fighting in one way or another, creating, building and growing stronger than ever. “I Believe”
“The people finna set it off.” We the people. “We Will Not” You. Me. #Us or Else #ICU #cNakeesha