With police violence on the news seemingly every other night these days, the subject has become something of a preoccupation in hip-hop circles. The genre has always tackled the subject, but lately, it’s been much more overt. YG’s “FTP,” DaBaby’s “Rockstar” remix, Lil Baby’s “Bigger Picture,” and Denzel Curry’s “Pig Feet” have all emerged this year to take on the persistent, pernicious predicament of institutionalized violence in policing.
The latest artist to join the trend is the outspoken and eloquent Rapsody, who contributes the new song “12 Problems,” which plays on the street name for police and points out how their ever-present threat adds to an already insurmountable list of obstacles to overcome for the average Black person. “I got 99 problems and 12 still the biggest,” she chants on the hook, “I got 99 problems / Batons, bullets, triggers.” She also points to the hypocrisy of using “Black on Black violence” to counter anti-police protests using the death of Nipsey Hussle as an example. “33 Nip, gotta a heavy heart / His killer in jail, y’all don’t get that part / Cops kill lawfully, no remorse.”
“12 Problems” will appear on Roc Nation’s upcoming Reprise compilation aiming to bring light to social issues like “police brutality, hate crimes, and other violations of civil rights.” Some proceeds of the project will benefit organizations fighting these injustices and supporting their victims. In July, the initiiative shared Jorja Smith’s “By Any Means.”
Listen to Rapsody’s “12 Problems” above.