“The Bigger Picture” by rapper Lil Baby was released June 11th 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death.  It was inspired by the injustices and hardships faced among the black community.  The Bigger Picture comes at a time of an unfortunate sheer length of forceful arrests and killings of people of color by police officers. However, in the midst of protesting for change and justice, innocent black men and women’s lives are still being taken by the hands of authority. CBS News reports compiled a list of 164 Black men and women who were killed by police from January 1 to August 31, 2020. The Atlanta based rapper has shown his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement as he joined protests in his hometown, Atlanta, to fight against police brutality, working with the Atlanta mayor on a police reform plan, and by releasing a protest song. 

The protest song falls into the genre of Hip-Hop/Rap and was written by Baby himself along with Rai’Shaun Williams and Noah Pettigrew. Interestingly enough, the Atlanta rapper chose Pettigrew, a white, British music producer to help compose a song about police brutality and racism. On the other hand, Lil Baby and Rai’Shaun Williams both being men of color are able to express their fear, frustration and personal experiences towards racism, police brutality, and a divided nation through the lyrics. Many Black musicians especially in the Hip-Hop/Rap genre have reacted to these incidents by releasing songs that speak to the issue at hand. The main message behind this protest song is to address forceful attacks while calling for justice and change of the unfair treatment against black people. The Bigger Pictures lyrics portray the horrific events of police violence, systemic racism, COVID-19 and Lil Baby’s personal encounters with the law enforcement. 

The song opens up with an eerie newscaster voiceover talking about the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the intro ends with the 3 word slogan, “I can’t breathe.” Then, in verse one Lil Baby opens up with his experience with criminal justice, “Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas/ I went to court and they sent me to prison/ My mama was crushed when they said I can’t leave/ First I was drunk, then I sobered up quick.” Before, Lil Baby started his music career, he grew up poor, living with his mom and sold drugs as a teenager to help her pay the bills. At the age of 19, he got sentenced to two years in prison for weapons and drug charges. He mentions the experience in the first verse and expresses the time spent “almost like being a dog.” Lil Baby then draws on his fear of being a man of color in verse one with the lyrics, I boost security up at my home” “I see blue lights/ I get scared and start runnin’/ That shit be crazy, they ‘posed to protect us/ Throw us in handcuffs and arrest us/ While they go home at night, that shit messed up.”

In the chorus, he recognizes the issue and that it’s going to take time to improve the situation but has to start from somewhere, “It’s bigger than black and white/ It’s a problem with the whole way of life/ It can’t change overnight/ But we gotta start somewhere.” The song then offers a solution to the problem in verse two with it’s emotional yet powerful lyrics. Lil Baby raps about writing lyrics with drugs and violence because of the need to address police brutality and systemic racism, “I can’t lie like I don’t rap about killing and dope, but I’m telling my youngins to vote/ I did what I did ’cause I didn’t have no choice or no hope, I was forced to just jump in and go/ This bullshit is all that we know, but it’s time for a change.” The Atlanta rapper is voicing that in order to tackle these injustices that exist in our society individuals have to act by voting for a brighter future.

Lil Baby paints an image through his lyrics and music video of how traumatizing it can be for a person of color to personally be affected by these issues or to consume news about another black death. The song depicts how police officers have stereotyped black people as bad people and subject them to death even when most of these individuals are innocent and unarmed. It really highlights the white supremacy that unfortunately exists in America because rarely do you hear on the news about a white person being killed by a police officer.