Week in Pop: Baywitch, Laurel Saints, unhappybirthday

Sjimon Gompers

Stockton sons Laurel Saints, from left, Jose Medina & Marcos Gonzales; photographed by Jameel Rasool.


Having a quick cup of coffee with Propaganda; photographed by Joseph Solomon.

Taking on the injustices of our era & taking on everything that is both arrogant & humble; Propaganda followed up 2014’s Crimson Cord with this fifth album Crooked providing us with the following exclusiv introductory inside shine on a work that tackles the failed systems & states of our struggling union(s):

So Crooked. The idea is this:

I (we) am a crooked folk, with crooked ideas and desires, making crooked relationships. And then we build crooked systems that feed our crooked desires and subjectate other people. All waiting for the day the crooked is made straight. I wanted to make music that didn’t wrap up neatly, doesn’t resolve and just shows the complexity of life and emotions. Life is not a comic book, no perfect villains or victims. Just us. We all got blood on our hands. Some more than others but still. I wanted to make a record that also archives the deep range of emotions and pain and dismay that people of color experienced the last two years in America.

The genesis of the album came out of the death of Nelson Mandela, in the deep pillar of academics and philosophy that is Facebook, I witnessed people besmirch his legacy and call him a terrorist. I was shocked. I’ve never heard him spoken of in those terms. My immediate response was, “Have you heard of Andrew Jackson?!” His legacy is literally a trail of tears! THAT’S a terrorist. People pick their heroes, stand on their hills and refuse to hear the people shouting on the other hill.

The narrative arch goes laying out my personal complexities and struggles, then how the rest of us have those struggles, then my relationships struggles, then the cynicism with white supremacy in my faith and government, then systemic problems. The climax is in the song “It’s Not Working” expressing the hopelessness we can all feel when, after so many cultural revolutions, we still haven’t seen real equality. Then concluding that our hope has to stand in things that transcend.

The record is very political, very true school hip hop-ie and VERY California.


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