Bay Area rapper Oscar “Paris” Jackson, Jr. released a video for the song “Night of the Long Knives,” a track off his upcoming Pistol Politics album that he describes as politically-charged in the wake of the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson, MO.
“Been too much talkin’ man, no talkin,’” Paris raps on the song. “No more speeches,/ candles, no marchin’/ No more grievin’ parents, no Sharpton / No more calls for peace, let’s spark it / And ride on these pigs till the wheels fall off / Collide for our rights till we rise above / Ain’t no time for no talkin’, let’s chalk ’em off / Back ’em off us and show the cost, till they recognize.”
The video was written, directed, produced and performed by Paris. The name is a reference to a violent night in Hitler era Germany, in police aggression turned murderous.
“Much of Hip Hop has been commercialized, commodified and neutered to reflect only sensibilities that are actually harmful to Black people,” Paris says in a press release. “Corporate-endorsed black-on-black violence, glorification of drug culture and degradation of women have become so commonplace that it is accepted as normal — though it’s anything but. There’s room for all, but I want to hear music and see imagery that reflects what’s really going on and addresses issues I care about too.”
The Sonic Jihad artist says that he is not attempting to glorify violence with this project; instead he aims to shed light on important issues.
“Malcolm X said that self defense is common sense,” Paris says in the press release. “That’s a credo I can live by. ‘Night of the Long Knives,’ is a record promoting self-defense. Of course, I’m not glorifying senseless violence against the police. But I am condemning the plague of brutality against members of the Black community. And I’m advocating the protecting of oneself in the face of unwarranted aggression. It’s sad that people in opposition to this message are never upset about its actual causes — only the effects. They never decry the racism and classism that’s at the heart of it all.”
The Devil Made Me Do It artist’s vocal support for the issue of police brutality has been a steady theme throughout his career as a politically-charged rhymesmith.
The rap game’s support for the protestors in Ferguson gained major network headlines for the people on the ground. Atlanta artist Killer Mike spoke to CNN about the complicated nature of the conflicts underlying the systematic brutality in the streets.
“This isn’t just a Black people/cop problem,” Killer Mike said. “This is an American people/cop problem…I sympathize with police officers. …So, I understand the need for policing. I understand the need for black cops.”
J. Cole’s “Be Free” tribute to Ferguson and other artist tributes can be heard on HipHopDX.