Hot 100 Review: The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby

Watch the video:

Music is one of the fastest creative mediums around. Movies, TV, and novels all need time to be throughly edited, crafted, and made. They can be just as poignant as any other medium but they take time. Music does not always the same constrictions. Rap music even less so. Rap music has even less since they do not always have to make the beats from scratch. This is all to say that these activists songs are on the rise and the biggest one this week is by Lil Baby (obligatory dunk on how that’s a ridiculous name for someone talking about very charged issues).

It’s hard to talk about the song, but not for the obvious reasons. It’s difficult because the song is just so straightforward about what it’s saying and how it’s saying it that any reading does not feel honestly necessary from someone like me. Cops killing people when they don’t have to is bad. Cops arresting and forcing Afican Americans to hold jail time longer than white people is a bad thing. The system does not work the way it is intended and that is bad.

There, that’s what the whole song is about. The beat is workman-like. It’s nothing amazing, but does the job to help convey the tone. That along with the additional voice clips and extra medium put into the mix is well handled to give the song a timeless context that may not be remembered in a couple years or decades.

Something that repeat listens does bring out is the interesting structure of the song. This being the structure of each verse and where he centers his attention on the current problems facing the black community.

The first verse feels incredibly reactive in a good way. He seems like he’s feeling out his frustrations with everything that is going down. This evolves in the second verse where he confronts his friends and family about what they should do and how it impacts them. Then ends it by focusing and trying to sympathize with the police, but does rightfully say that they too can protest and not just shoot people. This arc feels really well done because it is both so focused and well structured, growing out his concerns in a proper escalation, while also feeling so simple. It sounds like he did it the first time as a freestyle and nailed it. It’s kind of incredible if very on the nose.

The video matches the directness of the song with a montage of news footage of the protests along with him rapping the song at his own protest and rocking BLM (I was going to clarify Black Lives Matter because for some reason the BLM is a thing stuck in my brain from a TV show or movie or something and I can’t figure out why. Or maybe it’s the VLM from a video game. Either way I can’t remember). It’s direct and works just like the song. It doesn’t really add any new context that the song doesn’t already have. So it’s not a markedly improved version of the song, but works fine.

My only idea for a Punisher comic book story is one where he is kinapped by mercenaries or someone, held hostage, and forced to take a job where he has to kill Captain America because his captors, government people who are backed by big business, want him dead. Do you get it? Do you get the point of what that story is saying? I hope so because it’s on the nose. Now, I haven’t written it so I couldn’t say if it’s execution would work. However, it’s not a terrible story idea. It’s just incredibly obvious, and that’s not bad. That is this song. It’s incredibly obvious, on the nose, and in your face, but it feels fine in the best possible way that it works.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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