“walking in the snow” is the sixth track on Run The Jewel’s fourth studio album ‘RTJ4’ released on June 3, 2020. The song speaks about injustices in society today, especially touching on police brutality. The song caught the attention of the masses following the lyric “I can’t breathe” which were the words uttered by the latest police brutality victim George Floyd, on May 25, 2020.
However, the song was not penned with George Floyd in mind. These specific lyrics relate to a similar act of violence again, yet another African American male, Eric Garner. His final words, having a few police men on top of him and one choking Garner, were also “I can’t breathe.”
El-P confirmed that the song was written in late 2019.
Listen to “walking in the snow” by Run The Jewels
The song starts off with a rundown of the “destined” life of an average African American. All his life, he will be branded as a thief, a lowlife, a druggie, and everything in between. This degradation makes it almost impossible for an average citizen to make it in society. But hunger does not care. It affects everyone equally. So the system ends up making them “criminals.” The jail system is as broken as it could be. Hence, no one gets rehabilitated within the jails. Innocents become hardened criminals within the jail cells as they fight day in and out just to survive in their cell.
El-P also takes a jab at “Christians” in general for being so blinded towards some parts of the justice system. He also reminds them that if any of them are true follower’s of the teachings of Jesus Christ, the world would be a much better place.
In the second verse, Killer Mike stabs at the whole education system which pretty much decides the make and break of a person. He says that up until a kid is 5 years old, he will have true free will. As soon as he enters the kindergaten, his mind will start being filled with a whole lot of propoganda. The current schooling system does not produce good human beings. It producers test scorers!
“And they predictin’ prison population by who scoring the lowest”
Killer Mike also mocks everyone who watches tragedies such as Eric Garner and George Floyd on TV and Tweet a rant about it on social media. Is that the extent of a person’s diligence. This shows a strong degradation of empathy among humans in the modern world.
However, the death of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests and riots seeking justice for him as well as all those who were victims of police brutality before.
In the third verse, Run The Jewels feed energy towards the people who are willing to stand up against the whole system–education, injustice, police, state etc.
“We be the heroes, the breakers of chains, and the busters of locks”
He also adds that its not opportunities that always come knocking on your door. These days, it’s most likely cops busting you for some dubios reason.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.