Open Mike Eagle and Baron Vaughn’s whirlwind first season of The New Negroes is coming to a close with a double feature final night, so rightfully, both of the final two satirical music videos from those episodes have arrived as a package deal. “Racism 2.0” features fellow underground rapper Sammus, while “Heaven Application” once again features Phonte, who previously appeared in “Woke As Me.” This time around he resurrects his Little Brother-era crooner persona, Percy Miracles.
In “Racism 2.0,” Mike adopts the character of a television news anchor doing a live report on the return of overt racism that’s been trickling into real-life news reports as hate groups are emboldened by the political climate to hold rallies to propagate their bigoted ideals. Sammus is the on-the-scene reporter at a sneaker store that seems to be selling all the latest racist hype, from tiki torches to Klan hoodies to yes, Make America Great Again ball caps. The irony of such groups being raised on hip-hop and Black culture isn’t lost on the pair, who encounter Klansmen doing the latest dances while listening to Kanye on their iPhones.
Meanwhile, the “Heaven Application” video takes on American’s growing debt crisis, imagining that taking up residence in the preferable half of the afterlife is just like getting a place anywhere in this lifetime — credit check required. A good score can get you salvation, but a bad score sends you you-know-where. It’s probably the only miss among the last several weeks worth of hits, but hey, if every joke landed, everyone would do comedy.
Congratulations to Open Mike and Baron Vaughn on a successful first season of The New Negroes, though, and here’s hoping the show gets renewed for even more incisive, musical social commentary. Check out the show’s previous videos, including “Extra Consent” with Lizzo, “Eat Your Feelings” with Method Man, “Police Myself” with MF Doom, “Lit” with Father, and “Unfiltered” featuring Danny Brown.