“First Listens” / Proposals

KRS-One – “Sound of da Police”

I have always been interested in the United States’ criminal justice system, especially its past. Studying the past helps prepare for a better future, and getting different perspectives always helped me keep my eyes open to what is truly going on. I did this through reading, documentaries, and following artists like KRS-One.

This song is definitely considered a protest-type music because of the lyrics, the audience being addressed, and during the time period it was released. Addressing issues about the war on drugs, police brutality and profiling, broken-windows theory, and much more, KRS-One is using the microphone and his platform to act as a form of activism to help spread awareness and create positive change.

I’ve studied a good amount of sociology, and the issues and topics that struck me the most were some of the ones mentioned in “Sound of da Police”. Additionally, I am a fan of KRS-One, rap, hip-hop, and pop music in general so beginning to analyze this content more will be interesting. The only thing that concerns me the slightest bit about conducting this project is the fact that I have an outside perspective on these matters, being that I have not experienced what is discussed first-hand nor have I lived in the middle of it. Which is not necessarily a problem, but is definitely something that should be kept in mind when writing or discussing about it.


JAY-Z – “The Story of O.J.”

This song has similar effects to “Sound of da Police” to me as a listener but a different message as a whole. Jay-Z is talking about fame and money throwing a veil of ignorance over factors of race or ethnicity in the criminal justice system. He is extremely lyrical and word-choice careful, making sure he directs the right message he wants to get across. Additionally, he utilizes his old-style music video to convey a message of its own regarding racial injustice in America.

I am also a fan of Jay-Z and his music, but I might face the same issues I discussed about with KRS-One’s music. Though I would have the same amount of dedication to addressing and analyzing these important message conveyed in such powerful, modern music.

– Justin Leon