Joey Badass Slams The Prison Industrial Complex In His ‘Colbert’ Performance Of ‘Land Of The Free

Music Contributor
04.04.17

This Friday, on April 7, Joey Badass will finally unveil his highly-anticipated second studio album All-Amerikkkan Badass. In the lead-up to the drop, the Brooklyn MC has taken to unleashing some of the material beforehand, most notably the single “Land Of The Free.” Last night, he hit that stage on Late Night With Stephen Colbert to give the track it’s live debut.

Opening from a crouched position, with an American flag draped around his shoulders, Joey talks to himself saying, “Sometimes I think they truly don’t understand me, you know, cause they don’t.” He then proceeds to air out his feelings on topics ranging from Donald Trump, the American political system, mass incarcerations and violence in the cities. “Trickery in the system, put my n****s in prison / All our history hidden, ain’t no liberty given / We all fit the description of what the documents written / We been lacking the vision and barely making a living.”

“People know how it goes,” Badass told the annotation site Genius. “The ghetto are not just bad because their bad. They’re bad because they have no other options. There is nothing else for them to turn to. Except for crime and stealing and stuff like that. Robberies, killings and murder. There are no other options. There is no way out.” The broken prison system is a topic that’s been brought up by other prominent rappers in the past, including Remy Ma who recently said, “The first thing has to be the de-privatization. We have to end the private prison system.”

Joey dropped the video for “Land Of The Free” last month. Directed by Badass himself, along with Nathan R. Smith, The clip opens with a montage of images set in a stark desert setting. Midway through, the scene changes to reveal a line of minorities standing in front of a firing squad of white people who gun them down until Joey intervenes and lowers their weapons. The next image is of a burning cross surrounded by four hooded KKK members who stand by as Badass is apparently lynched. One of them takes off his hood and replaces it with what appears to be a policeman’s hat.

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