Jahseh Onfroy AKA Tentacion (Google censorhip is preventing us from jotting down his full name) was an artist beyond his time and age. Much like the late great Tupac Shakur, Jahseh was able to touch people with his music. Although much of his music catalogue was him dealing with his internal struggles, this one specific song, titled “Riot,” among others, raise voice against injustice!
The song resurfaced amidst the ongoing protests relating to the inhumane murder and police brutality against George Floyd, an African American in Minnesota, USA. Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white American Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. The reason for his murder: using a counterfeit $20 bill at a shop!!! The cause of death was ruled as asphyxia which is a condition of deficiency of supply of oxygen to the body.
George Floyd’s death has re-ignited an age-old battle against police brutality focused on African Americans living specifically in the United States of America. June 2, 2020, was named #BlackoutTuesday and is trending worldwide on social media platforms.
Listen to “Riot” by Jahseh Onfroy
In “Riot,” Jahseh talks about police brutality in detail. But even more so, he talks about riots and how they should be done. Because of this sole reason, this song is more valid today than it was. With the spark of riots all over the country, there has been unfortunate circumstances where ‘racketeers’ break into shops and loot them. This has earned a bad reputation towards the otherwise critical act of rioting.
“N*ggas ask for peace in a riot then bring violence”
X reminds us that it is true that we are all oppressed by the police, the system, the government, etc. But what good is it going to bring by looting a local shop owned by a simple man? That man might be going through the same problems as we all do.
X never diminishes the importance of fighting for one’s rights in the song; “Bathe in blood of officers…” He says that he is tired of being ignorant at this point. Something has to happen and something has to change. If it doesn’t, people have to bring in the change.
However, he reminds us that the innocent should not suffer from any act of rioting. Otherwise, who will they become? The same corruption they are fighting against?
X uses a part of a speech from a KKK (American white supremist group) to end the song. He cuts off right after the speaker says “we hate…” leaving the listener to fill in the blank. For the KKK, the blank would be an obvious answer. But for the racketeer, what are they going to fill it with? They still have a choice.
Let us hear what you think about this song by X in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.