Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Music: Justice Or Else by Equipto (Prod By Monk HTS & Evaclear) @EQUIPTO @Hardtostopmonk @Evaclearmusic


Over the last 15 years Ilych Sato—better known across the Bay Area and in the underground hip-hop scene as Equipto—has been no stranger to the ills plaguing his community in San Francisco or to the struggle that is required to overcome those ills. A longtime icon of the Bay Area underground rap scene, Equipto not only speaks from experience, but is also known for backing his rhymes up with action. Last year, Equipto made headlines around the world as a member of the #Frisco5 protest movement, going on a sixteen-day hunger strike to call global attention to police brutality in San Francisco and the city’s well-documented problems with systemic racism in the criminal justice system. So when Equipto gives the ultimatum of Justice or Else, it is by no means an empty threat—better yet for those ready to join him in the struggle, it is an assured promise.

It is this promise of action that has struck a chord with San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Adachi, a veteran defender of many of the people who have been victim to San Francisco’s police brutality and institutionalized racism, has just finished writing and directing the acclaimed documentary Defender. And just like an exclamation point to drive home the concept of a protest slogan, Adachi chose Equipto’s Justice or Else as the theme song for the film. Laced with speeches from legendary Black Panther and Bay Area native Bobby Seale, and recorded over the soulful sounds from earlier generations more known for their civil disobedience, Justice or Else serves as a blueprint for anyone looking to join the fight for equality and justice, whether in the streets or in the halls of power.

“What is defined as criminal in a racist country full of centrists and liberals?” is a line that should cut like a dagger into the ego of every ‘liberal’ in the left-leaning Bay Area, where a premium is put on ‘equality’ and ‘justice,’ while issues of systemic racism and the inherent stigmas that come with it are largely swept under the rug and ignored. This phenomenon of self-identified ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ being oblivious to the pains of racial minorities has been addressed very recently by the Black Lives Matter movement, and more satirically by even other entertainers like Jordan Peele with his movie Get Out. But Equipto’s Justice or Else may be the first time this social critique has been articulated within the hip-hop community, or even the music community in general. And what better place than to make such a statement than San Francisco? For that alone, Justice or Else, is both timely and ahead of its time; both present and predictive; both insightful and inciteful.

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