In my first listening post, I analyzed what Lil Baby is critiquing in his song, “The Bigger Picture” for this post, I’ll be exploring the musical lineage of how “The Bigger Picture” connects to songs by theme and direct reference. The Bigger Picture is an unapologetic, powerful protest anthem released during the surge of Black Lives Matter protests and in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Much like other protest songs, The Bigger Picture draws on police brutality, systemic racism and personal interactions with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The lyrics provide listeners with a clear description and understanding of the struggles Lil Baby and other colored men/women experience but it is through the music video which immerses viewers into the black experience of these injustices. 

The music video is a masterpiece in itself, it opens up with Lil Baby, accompanied by fellow citizens at a Black Lives Matter protest in his hometown, Atlanta. Alongside the rapper are other black men wearing a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt, voicing their frustration and raising their first to show their solidarity. The music video depicts live footage of everyday people at a BLM protest marching, chanting and holding signs fighting for a change against the injustices and police brutality in exist in America.  The Bigger Picture’s music video flashes back and fourth from color, to black and white and shows news headline footage of protests across America. My interpretation behind the alternation from color to black and white is to address the issue being “Bigger than black and white” and “Every colored person ain’t dumb and all whites not racist.” Lil Baby is refuting the common stereotypes which exist in our society, that some people see black people as “bad” or “not intelligent” and others often assume if someone is white, then, they’re “racist”. The music video leaves viewers with chilling, goosebumps as it draws light on the racism and the unrested police violence that exist in America. Even if you aren’t personally affected by these issues because of your race, the song and music video leave viewers heartfelt and eager to take action for the injustices faced against people color. Lil Baby does an incredible job of expressing the authentic, raw emotion and pain of the experiences of being a black man in America. 

The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby —> 2020 Riots How Many Times by Treyz Songz —> Alright by Kendrick Lamar

 “2020 Riots: How Many Times” by Treyz Songz released June 5th, 2020 inspired by the death of George Floyd and protests.  Much like other protest songs, Songz acknowledges the civil unrest in our country. 2020 Riots: How Many Times with its smooth, gentle and R&B/Soul approach draws listeners into the wide range of emotions that Songz is expressing. It’s hard not to feel a downpour of emotions while hearing the pain in Songz voice and watching the music video with its touching and powerful images. The rapper draws us to an emotional yet uplifting chorus, “How many mothers have to cry?/ How many brothers gotta die?/How many more times?/How many more times?/How many more marches?/How many more signs?/How many more lives?/How many more times?” The message is definitely heavy but touches deep and captures the ongoing civil unrest. The music video is powerful visual of the rapper taking a stand in the Black Lives Matter protest in demanding justice and change. 2020 Riots: How Many Times music video is very similar to The Bigger Pictures in which they both show the artists marching in protests, footage of large crowds participating in the movement, wearing BLM t-shirts and showing solidarity by raising fists and a large crowd holding their phone’s flashlights up. The main message behind these songs call for justice and change to the harsh and unfair treatment against people of color.


“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar was released in June 30th, 2015. Like, The Bigger Picture and 2020 Riots: How Many Times, the mixed anthem of hip-hop, soul and jazz opens up with a VoiceOver of Lamar reading a poem and also address personal experiences as a black man and police brutality. It offers hope that in the midst of police violence against black people that as long as they have God and each other then, they will be “alright”. The music video was shot entirely in black and white, which seems to be a common theme for protests songs as the music video for 2020 Riots: was filmed in black and white and The Bigger Picture’s music video alternated from color to black and white. In the Intro of the song, the lyrics read, “Alls my life I../Hard times like, “God!”/Bad trips like, “yea!”/Nazareth, I’m fucked up/Homie, you fucked up/But if God got us/Then we got’ be alright” Lamar is clearly illustrating upon the struggles that he has encountered as a black man of hard times, having to fight for himself and that these experiences have messed him up but with God by his side he will be alright in the end. Then, in the pre-chorus, the American rapper mentions police brutality, “And we hate the po-po/Wanna kill us dead in the street sho/ I’m at the preacher’s door/My knees gettin’ weak and my gun might blow”. The music video also illustrates police brutality as it opens up with a police shooting his gun and then four officers hold up the car that Kendrick alongside with 3 others were in.

All three of these protest songs are incredibly powerful and inspiring as they draw light upon civil unrest of police officers killing innocent, black people. Listeners are able to envision the pain and frustration that is expressed through the artists voice and music videos. They highlight that this is unfortunately a prevalent issue in America and action must be taken for change in our society.