I don’t think I had a particularly hard time understanding the song; it is very clear that Joey is displeased with how this country is only free for some people and for others it’s very oppressing. I think he said it best in this CNN article, “People have to realize and wake up and notice that the country is not here to benefit everyone that’s living in it.” Hidden within America are the KKK and other white supremists as well as just general bigotry and hatred that seem to never go away. The song was released on Trump’s inauguration day and while Joey does not support Trump, he says to CNN that now there is a surge of more “socially conscious” music. But is there more or are people becoming more aware of it? This entire class we have gone through decades of protest songs and uplifting anthems to bring movements together, I honestly don’t think there is more now than there was before. I think more and more people are becoming aware of the problems in the country and are turning to music to help them through it. Especially when looking at the music video of Joey’s song, the images are not new but they are just as important. NPR describes the video well: “In the video, which he co-directed with Nathan R. Smith, Joey presents himself as the all-American alternative, leading a group of chained African-Americans through a mountainous landscape, before coming to a standoff with authoritarian figures in the form of white policeman, businessmen, and politicians. In a climactic scene, Bada$$ is lynched, before Klansmen gather around a burning cross and remove their hoods to reveal police officer uniforms.” The chains, white professionals, and lynching are all images that we have seen repeatedly before. These visuals certainly do not get easier to bear with time and yet these are things that are still happening today. And when you realize that the past isn’t in the past, I can see why Joey feels the need to write emotionally charged songs like LAND OF THE FREE. Whether or not you feel the oppression that is woven into this country, there is a section of Wikipedia for “political hip-hop” for a reason. The catchy melody draws you in and the message sticks in your heart, making you want to hear more.