"This video is happening right now outside your window," reads the opening caption in the video for "Pig Feet," the new track from Terrace Martin, the longtime Kendrick Lamar producer and multi-instrumentalist. An incendiary clip and track (listen and watch here) built over the last week by Martin and collaborators Kamasi Washington, G Perico, Denzel Curry and Daylyt, it harnesses fury over the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis to fuel an explosive protest document.
With a pumped-up beat and backed by Washington soloing on tenor saxophone, the track opens with Curry rolling through a scene-setting verse: "Helicopters over my balcony / If the police can't harass / They wanna smoke every ounce of me." Decrying the injustice of a life in which black men "go to jail and get murdered," Curry ends the indictment with a conclusion: "Nothing can save us."
As he, South Central's G Perico and Watts-raised Daylyt maneuver through their reactions, footage shot during the protests of the last week is edited to visualize the rhythm, a relentless display of imagery that underscores the tension: police macing unarmed protesters, flames engulfing cars, National Guard troops patrolling downtown Los Angeles.
Martin, 41, produced or co-produced six tracks on Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly," as well as classic jams by YG, Travis Scott, Snoop and DJ Quik. He named his acclaimed record label, Sound of Crenshaw, after his home base. The artist was in his early teens when police were caught on film beating Rodney King.
In a statement accompanying the release, Martin wrote: "Someone asked, how do I feel? I told them hurt, fearless, angry, aware and fully ready to protect me, my family & my people at all cost. I got together with Black men that felt the same way and created a work of truth. PIG FEET."
At the song's conclusion, the names of black men killed during encounters with police scroll across the screen for nearly three minutes.
For his part, L.A. bandleader and saxophonist Washington posted an Instagram video in which he expresses his thoughts on Floyd's killing and how he's chosen to respond.
In the five-minute video, Washington says of the four policemen involved in Floyd's death, "They murdered a man in broad daylight with cameras obviously pointed right at them, and they didn't look nervous. They didn't look scared. They didn't look like they had a care in the world. That should tell us something."
He then speaks directly to the authorities who hold the power. "We don't have the authority to make the peace. You have the authority to make the peace. You've made mistakes. Fix them. Get real. Don't just ask us to be quiet."
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