Up until now, the most high-profile thing that Anderson .Paak did in 2020 was rapping about cultural appropriation in the children’s movie Trolls World Tour. But today, like so many before him, .Paak has come out with a new single about the current global uprising against police brutality and racism. It’s presumably not a coincidence that .Paak has released his new single “Lockdown” today, on Juneteenth.
Musically, “Lockdown” is the same kind of slinky, insinuating soul-rap that Anderson .Paak has made his name on. But lyrically, the song is all about protesting and coming into conflict with riot cops: “You should’ve been downtown/ The people are rising/ We thought it was a lockdown/ They opened the fire.” In the lyrics, he tells a story about protesting, tear gas, rubber bullets, and looting: “Someone threw a whole brick in the Neiman Marcus/ Help me put the whole mannequin in the Charger.”
Music-video great Dave Meyers directed the “Lockdown” clip, where we see .Paak and his friends recuperating after what looks like a bloody confrontation with cops. In the video, .Paak’s friends are fellow music luminaries, including Syd, Dominic Fike, SiR, Andra Day, Dumbfoundead, and Jay Rock, who adds a verse in the video version of the song. Onscreen graphics spell out the names of many victims of police and vigilante murder. Watch it below.
“Lockdown” is out now on the streaming platforms.