Never one to shy away from controversy, Berkeley rapper/riddle wrapped in an enigma Lil B released a new song yesterday on YouTube called “I Can't Breathe.” A cathartic seven-minute sprint through the ways, both personal and political, that American institutions have failed and continue to fail people of color, the song is named, of course, for the iconic last words of Eric Garner, the black man whose choking death at the hands of a white NYPD officer has caused protests around the country in the weeks after a grand jury voted not to indict the officer on homicide charges.
[jump] We've heard B upset before, but his anger is (understandably) visceral here in a way that really commands attention — even if you don't get him or you've written him off in years past, it's worth a listen. It also made us want to compare and contrast with “No Black Person Is Ugly,” the gorgeously positive black pride anthem he released over the summer.
Also worth noting: The song, which Lil B released by tweeting it out yesterday, comes a day after the rapper claimed that he was blocked by Facebook for posting a series of status updates about rape, animal rights, and racism. (We tried to check with Facebook on this. Will report back if a rep from the company responds.)
Update: Lil B appears to have removed the song from YouTube. Here's hoping he releases it elsewhere soon.
Update #2: A rep from Facebook writes: “He was mistakenly blocked from posting on Facebook earlier this week. That was a mistake on our part. He should now be able to post again.”
Update #3: Some enterprising individual uploaded it again, albeit a longer version. That's below.