For the third listening post, I’ll explore three texts and media that help deepen my understanding of  “The Bigger Picture” By Lil Baby.  Firstly, I’ll be examining a live performance of “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby, secondly, I’ll explore a cover of “The Bigger Picture” by Desjo, and lastly, we’ll look at a fan choreography video to “The Bigger Picture”.

Lil Baby leaves an emotional but yet powerful message with his live performance of “The Bigger Picture” at Philadelphia’s 13th annual Roots Picnic’s virtual concert. The rapper’s delivery was powerful and inspiring ranging from the raw and authentic emotion expressed in his voice and his set’s visuals. The performance opens up with dimmed lights, as Lil Baby appears on stage accompanied by a backdrop of two screens featuring b&w footage of the rapper at a protest in his hometown, Atlanta, along with other images and videos of fellow citizens marching and names of victims of police brutality. The footage shows young children to adults participating in the BLM protest, holding signs with messages such as, “Black Lives Matter” “Change just do it” in addition to, images of phrases like, “When we all vote”, “No Justice, No Peace” a line from Baby’s song “My people died for us to be free” and a list of victims of police brutality. 

The rappers emotion is expressed in his voice, body language, and hand movements throughout his performance. In his performance, Lil Baby appears to get sniffly which makes me jump to the assumption he was either holding in tears or running out of breathe from singing his protest anthem live. I feel as if this live version had more emotion than the recorded studio version because the pain and frustration is heard and clearly expressed throughout the rappers performance. More importantly, this version isn’t edited or manipulated by the effects of auto tune and mastering so it’s clear to hear the raw, unfiltered, feelings. The Atlanta based rapper makes you realize how terrible our society actually is by referencing the long history of injustices against black communities. Moreover, by showing footage of fellow citizens participating in marches, the signs in support of Black Lives Matter and honoring tribute to the many innocent black men, and women whose lives have been taken by the hands of law enforcement behind Lil Baby as he performed made it more visual to picture the pain and experience these individuals face. It is one thing to hear the lyrics but to see videos and images of people fighting for change, justice, and equality with the pain expressed on their face was not only impactful but heartbreaking as well. 

The annual concert ended with Lil Baby raising hiss fist to show solidarity with the BLM movement with a message on the screen that reads, “and countless others gone but not forgotten, the fight continues. Black Lives Matter.” The entire performance was very moving and I truly admire how Lil Baby brought awareness to such an important issue.  The ending really illustrates how passionate the rapper is towards this movement and how he is going to continue fighting until their is change. Lil Baby serves as a voice for those who feel voiceless through his activism and by using his platform to make a difference through music. 

Another text that contributes to my understanding of “The Bigger Picture”, is a cover by a young woman, named Desjo. While searching for covers on YouTube, Desjo’s cover was one of the very few I came across. I was quite shocked that not much popped up, considering this is such a powerful protest song with such a moving message behind it. My general assumption is some people want to avoid controversy,  don’t want to appear political, or maybe the song is just  too difficult to cover because of its speed. Out of the bare minimum covers of this song, I was even more surprised but delighted that a women of color was one of the selected few who covered The Bigger Picture because I feel like it shows power. Desjo’s gave a twist on her version of “The Bigger Picture”, with her soft, angelic voice and her selection of echoes and ad-lips. I think she has such a beautiful, natural voice that the excessive effects of obvious autotune almost took away the authenticity of the song.  However, I enjoyed how the aspiring artist kept the cover video simple by wearing an oversized black sweatshirt while singing into a recording microphone in her living room shows the rawness. Towards the end, Desjo raises her hand, and the video fades to black with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, along with her username to her social media platforms. This goes to show how Lil Baby’s song is impactful and holds meaning to other individuals. 

The last text that helped my understanding is a fan choreography video L.Y.E Academy.The video opens up, by panning up close on young children of color in a dance studio wearing a L.Y.E matters black t-shirt, holding up signs with message that support the Black Lives Matter movement and raising their fist to show solidarity. As soon as the news eerie of the Bigger Picture ends and the intro opens up, the young children immediately start dancing. Everything about this video is beyond incredible, the choreography for the protest anthem left me speechless and in literal tears. It was truly so moving and powerful to see such young children put such passion into dancing and have knowledge on such an important issue that they’re able to bring awareness by dancing because the injustices against black people isn’t something you are taught about in school. From the beginning, you can see the pain expressed in their face as the video pans up close on them and in their facial expressions while dancing. I thought this was another powerful way that the rappers music takes on meaning to individuals and that they’re able to express that meaning with  their passion, dancing.

All three of the texts really helped contribute to my understanding of The Bigger Picture. Through all of these, I was able to understand the message more clearly and really envision the emotion and pain expressed by all of these individuals.