“Elect to put the people in office that we respect, money is power, and we gon make em work for a check,” a declaration Bay Area hip-hop artist, L Rucus makes in his verse on the Black Lives Matter inspired song, “I Can’t Breathe,” a collaboration with Trill Lee and The Chemist.
Since it’s released, “I Can’t Breathe” has accumulated favorable feedback, including from BET, who placed the Allen Loesch directed video into rotation on BET Jams, an accomplishment L said caught him by surprise.
”I was at work when I got a call that the video was airing on BET. Then I started getting DM’s and screenshots from different people,” L recalls. “It’s an amazing circumstance; not only was it hard work and perseverance, but it was also constantly pushing the content.”
The message the artists aimed to articulate in “I Can’t Breathe” is that although specific entities want the Black community to feel powerless, “we have more power then people want us to believe.”
“We have to take these hard hits and these painful situations and use them as fuel, so we can move forward and create the future we want. Instead of allowing someone else to create the future for us,” L stated.
Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, L Rucus has used his platform to create change by leading rallies across the Bay Area, something he says he wouldn’t have done five years ago. Like many of us who watched the horrific video of former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneel on the back of George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, L Rucus could no longer sit on the sideline waiting for someone else to step up.
“Seeing that man take his untimely demise, something in me just click,” says L. “I was tired of this narrative, tired of this rhetoric, I’m tired of this type of thing happening all the time. Then we have to act like it’s ok to get back into some type of normality later on and try to blend back in with society.”
Fully embracing his activist role with an understanding that the racial discrepancies plaguing America are more significant then what the media choose to show, L Rucus continues to move forward with holding rallies that support police reform but believes that to achieve this goal countrywide, we must embody the spirit of the elders of the Civil Rights movement and remain focus and not get distracted with the latest gossip across social media.
“Back then, they were more diligent and way more focused on the goal. The Civil Rights leaders had the mentality like, hey, we’re not going to get tired. We have way more in us than you. And I believe that focus, that determination, and that sense of unity kept them much more focused on achieving their objective.
With more planned marches and new music on the horizon, L Rucus wants “I Can’t Breathe” to resonate with the audience, not because of the catchy hook, or the beautiful sound, but because the record is essential to what’s happening now.
Ali is a freelance writer within the Black and Hip-Hop culture with featured articles in multiple publications. Follow his Instagram @Choose_Wisey2.