Imagine living in a world where one of the most precious resources is tainted and is poisoning your community. For some people, this idea is too unrealistic to actually believe. For others, such as a community in Flint, Michigan and a Native American group who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline project, this is a fear that has become a reality. In “Water,” Kojey Radical boldly warns listeners and viewers alike about the state of the world and more specifically the state of the black community.
Water as a metaphor for our overall environment is a critical theme in this track not just because it is the title; it also invites the listeners and views into a dialogue about how our environment affects us. Like water, our environment is central to our existence. Kojey’s first verse starts off with the line “I’m sure you heard this all before” to imply that his audience is already familiar with all of the injustice that happens around us. Like many other hip-hop artists, he uses his platform to speak to his reality. Yet, his tone is quite somber as he mentions in the subsequent lines how unaffordable housing has become and the failures of politicians to adequately address their constituents. His overall display speaks to disillusionment with political and economic systems, even directly referring to the crisis in Flint, Michigan. Rather than just rely on his anger, Kojey chooses to appeal to his audience’s sense of unease.
Kojey contrasts his somber lyrics with a beautifully produced video that manages to capture the complexity of blackness. The all-black cast that performs in the video allows the audience to experience the world from an Afrocentric point of view. Having this experience is important because members of the black community and the African diaspora do not always get imagery of black people in the media that is not intended to be demeaning. Although the cast members cannot be heard themselves, the audience can relate to the grim expressions on their faces as we can recall experiences of feeling hopeless.
“Still, don’t my origin
Still, don’t know who’s listening
Still, don’t know the difference between my strength and my conditioning”
Kojey himself proclaims his own inner struggles. The lines above express a disturbance he feels within himself. Born to Ghanaian immigrants in the UK, this could be interpreted as a desire to know more about his Ghanaian roots. Or, it could be an inquiry that he uses to challenge himself to constantly dig deeper and confront what he believes to be lurking in the metaphorical water.
Kojey Radical on Social Media: Youtube