On Friday, T.I. dropped Us or Else, a surprise six-song EP the rapper recorded as a reaction to “the repeated deaths of unarmed black citizens at the hands of police.” Among the EP’s politically charged tracks is “Black Man,” featuring Migos’ Quavo, Meek Mill and RaRa, with T.I. also sharing the video for the song on Tidal.
In the video, the rappers are shown in separate scenes handing off a backpack with unknown contents after Quavo is pulled over by police. The video arrives just days after the recent police-involved deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte.
“Police see I got my hands up / Still wanna kill me, they don’t understand us / They be looking for a reason just to shoot me / And wanna do me how they do us in the movies,” T.I. raps on the track, listing cities that have recently seen high-profile killings of unarmed black men. “Or how they do it out in Baton Rouge / Or Ferguson, or Florida, or Baltimore, they make excuses / Like I did cause I thought he had a pistol.”
On the chorus, Quavo ponders why black men are the target of police searches, rhyming, “Is it because of my people? / Is it because of my sneakers? / Is it because of my jersey?”
“I continually see injustices happening and I had to speak out,” T.I. said in a statement. “There are millions of people, many who have supported me, who don’t have the privilege of having a platform like mine. This is my opportunity to be their voice, to bring attention to their suffering and my attempt to also right some wrongs. But I also want us to wake up and invest in ourselves and our communities.”
The Us or Else EP, streaming exclusively on Tidal for both subscribers and non-users, also features guest appearances by Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T. and the Game. T.I. will debut tracks from the EP live during the rapper’s set at the Many Rivers to Cross festival in Atlanta on October 1st and 2nd.
A portion of the proceeds from the Us or Else EP will be donated to Sankofa.org, the social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte.