In April of 2015, a man named Freddie Gray was arrested for carrying a switchblade, and received so much trauma to his spinal cord during the arrest and ride to the police station it killed him. This unjust and violent death ignited a rage in the people of his hometown of Baltimore, and the city broke out into violent and destructive riots in protest of police brutality. The 6 officers involved in the arrest were charged with crimes including manslaughter and murder. Years later in 2017, the federal and criminal charges were dropped for the 6 officers; this upset the Baltimore community even more as his violent death was deemed unjust. Sweeping the charges under the rug and not bringing justice to Freddie Gray’s death is one of just many tragic stories regarding police brutality. 

Sheep by Mt Joy was first released in 2017; It’s a reaction to both the initial incident as well as the dropped charges and how it created a deeper meaning for this social issue. Singer/songwriter Matt Quinn integrated these two concepts into the song through his lyrics by directly saying the name of the city and describing the initial incident, as well as indirectly hinting to his main call to action. This is evident when he sings “When there’s blood on the streets of Baltimore kids are getting ready for a long war”. The first part of the line vividly describes the scene and makes it recognizable and easy to distinguish exactly what event he’s talking about, capturing the listener’s attention. When he talks about kids getting ready for a long war, Matt Quinn is using his sociological imagination by addressing how kids from Baltimore are dealing with an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon. Using kids in this imagery adds more depth and intensity to how innocent people are being mistreated, and it’s going to keep happening in the next generation too. When he sings  “maybe I was born in the wrong skin” and “Oh it haunts me” he begins to talk about how much this upsets and disgusts him, even if it directly has nothing to do with him as a white man. He deeply cares for these people and knows he’s in a position to create change. The imagination of the song uses this incident to direct the protest to change the future.