Bill Wolff: Welcome back to Protest Anthems, the podcast about all things music, social justice, and protest. In this episode, Emily will be examining how the national uprising of Black Lives Matter protest has inspired artists to record songs that express their anger, frustration and solidarity with the movement. These protest songs represent the injustices that musicians witness in their communities and a stance for what is right. Specifically, Emily will look at the Atlanta-based rapper Lil Baby’s protest song,  “The Bigger Picture” which was released less than three weeks after the tragic killing of George Floyd.

Tape from Youtube: Sermon of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr      

“And one day, some great opportunity stands before you.. And calls upon you to stand up for some great principle.. some great issue, some great cause.”

Intro: Lyrics

Protests and growing national outcry continues

Over the death of George Floyd

Last night, people protesting in Minneapolis escalated

As demonstrators were lashed by tear gas and rubber bullets

The main message here, the main message here, the main message here

Is that they want to see those officers involved

They want to see those officers arrested

Officers arrested

(I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe)

Tape from Youtube clip – Kimberly Jones 

“When you have a civil unrest like this, there are three types of people in the streets,there are the protesters, there are the riots, and  there are the looters. People are like well what did you gain, well what did you get from looting? I  think that as long as we are focusing on what, we are not focusing on the why and that is my issue with that. As long as we are focusing on what they are doing we are not focusing on why they are doing it”

Narration (Myself): 

“The national uprising of Black Lives Matter has many Americans including myself and rappers like Lil Baby feeling angry and distraught over injustices occurring in America. As a member of the black community having experienced the systemic racism and police brutality himself, Lil Baby felt inclined to take action which lead him to use his platform and voice for the release of his protest  song called “The Bigger Picture” which was inspired by the tragic killing of George Floyd and released less than three weeks after his death. The protest song starts out with different news clips reporting on the recent protests and tragic events that have occurred around the world, with the main messaging being that the protesters on the streets want justice. They want the police officers that took the innocent lives of each individual held accountable for their actions.“

Tape– Black  Lives Matter Protests Around the World   

“GEORGE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD…repeatedly told officers he couldn’t breathe after the officer knelt on his neck.”

Tape– -’I can’t breathe’ George Floyd dies after being detained

Mayor JACOB FREY: “When you hear someone calling for help you are supposed to help.. This officer failed in the  most basic human sense.”

Lyrics Verse:

I find it crazy the police will shoot you and know that you dead

But still tell you to freeze

Fucked up, I seen what I seen

I guess that mean hold him down if he say he can’t breathe

It’s too many mothers that’s grieving

They killing us for no reason

Been going on for too long to get even

Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas

Tape– Black  Lives Matter Protests Around the World   

George Floyd brother: “My brother is gone..  but the Floyd name lives on”

Tape– Black  Lives Matter Protests Around the World   

“George Floyd… we are saying your name, we are saying their names Breonna Taylor, we are being loud”

Narration (Myself):

“Written and released in the wake of George Floyds death, Lil Baby and  protesters are using their voice to call for CHANGE. The rapper makes it his mission for listeners to understand the pain and struggle that he, along with other American’s experience because of their skin color. He immerses the listeners into the experience of the typical life of a black man. He even illustrates how police violence and excessive use of force is a recurring problem. Rarely do you hear that a white man was killed by a police officer, the headlines are all black men and women which goes to show that this is a problem of RACE. We need to come together,  to fight and solve this issue of inequality.”

Youtube  Tape– TED Talk interview with BLM creators

Alicia Garza: “The reality is that race in the United States operates on a spectrum from black to white. but it means the closer you are  to white on that spectrum the better off you are… And the closer to black that you are on that spectrum the worse off you are.”

Youtube Tape: Derek Chauvin prosecutor: This was a “hateful” crime 

“Some of the calls I got from friends and colleagues who happen to be white were in tears and they were in tears because they were aware that as white people that this would never have happened to them.. But people have a hard time believing this would happen to the average white person in the state of Minnesota.”

Narration (Myself):

“The two audio clips you just heard consisted of an interview with the co-found of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Alicia Garza and a 60 minute interview with Derek Chauvin’s prosecutor. Both of these individuals said in their interview that police brutality is a race problem. According to statistics, black people are 3x more likely to experience police violence than whites. Thee Black Lives Matter movement was created in 2013 by three black organizers after the murder of Travyon Martin and is dedicated to fight against America’s biggest issue: racism and police brutality.”

Lyrics Chorus: 

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

Might as well gon’ ‘head start here

We done had a hell of a year

I’ma make it count while I’m here

God is the only man I fear

Narration (myself):

“One of the most shocking lyrics is in Lil Baby’s chorus as he raps, “It’s bigger than black and white/It’s a problem with the whole way of life” Here he is illustrating he isn’t coming for pro-black or anti-white but instead is trying to tell his audience the issue is much larger than just race.   Lil Baby realizes that this issue isn’t going to change overnight, it is something that will take time but based on the tragic events that circulated around the news and has caused national headlines. The Black lives matter movement is something that is worth marching and fighting for.”

Youtube Tape– TED Talk interview with BLM creator 

“That we deserve to be fought for, uh..that we deserve to call on local governments to show up for us”

Youtube Tape: Why is Black Lives Matter important?

“Why do they say black lives matter?  I can’t tell you the number of people who have said to me “all lives matter” “why should it only be black lives matter?” No no no.. you knuckleduster heads.. that’s not what BLM means it doesn’t mean ONLY black lives matter. It means that black lives historically and today have not mattered and since they have not mattered to America we are asking you please notice that black lives matter..”

Lyrics Verse Two:

Seems like we losing our country

But we gotta stand up for something, so this what it comes to

Every video I see on my conscience

I got power, now I gotta say somethin’

Corrupted police been the problem where I’m from

But I’d be lying if I said it was all of them

I ain’t do this for the trend, I don’t follow them

Altercations with the law, had a lot of them

People speaking for the people, I’m proud of them

Stick together, we can get it up out of them

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

Got time to be serious, no time for no games

We ain’t takin’ no more, let us go from them chains

Narration (myself):

“In verse two of Lil Baby protest song, the rapper calls out the divide in our country and realizes that the only way to improve this situation is to stand up and fight for what’s right. He expresses in his lyrics that as an artist, he feels that it is his responsibility to use his voice to make a change. The rapper in his verse also applauds and praises other artists and individuals who have spoken up for the movement. Lil Baby unapologetically calls out his past altercations with law but had to make those choices in order to survive, in his verse, he is calling on his listeners to vote, to work together, and stand up and fight for what is right because together we can make a change.”

Tape: Sermon of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr      [

“You die when you refuse to stand up right… you DIE when you refuse to stand up to truth.. You die when you refuse to stand up for justice” 


(Protesters chanting: Black Lives Matter)