As protests have swept the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s death, tracks with links to the protest tradition have surged on streaming services. N.W.A’s “Fuck the Police” saw a 272% percent increase in on-demand audio streams from May 27th through June 1st compared to the five days before Floyd’s death, according to the analytics company Alpha Data. Streams of James Brown’s “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” jumped 455%.
“Together,” a collaboration between GetoPros and Dead Prez, the famously socially conscious hip-hop duo, is a candidate for similar treatment. It’s a call for action — “Together the motherfuckin’ ants/Can conquer the motherfuckin’ elephant” — laid over a head-nod beat; a delicate acoustic guitar line provides pretty ornamentation.
The track originally came out on a limited vinyl run in 2001, but it was never available on streaming services before today, when co-producers Mike Heron and V.I.C. decided to release it. “A few of us are fully prepared to defend ourselves, go to jail or die to cause a new experience of what it looks like to be a black man in this country — financially, physically, spiritually, and mentally,” Heron says.
“Living in this manner requires a certain commitment and a clarity that says, ‘who I am and what I stand for will cause a shift in my family, in the world and most importantly, in my soul,'” he continues. “This song is dedicated to the new generation of soldiers committed to the work.”