The hip hop community continues to come together for justice in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Footage recently emerged of underground icons Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and dead prez recording a new tribute to the murdered teen.
The clip shows Bey, M1 and Sticman of dead prez and newcomer Mike Flo at a studio in New Orleans writing and recording spirited rhymes over the grimy instrumental for Nas's "Made You Look." Their take on the classic track, titled "Made You Die," features a chant of "Trayvon" instead of Nas's "Bravehearts," and seems to advocate a much more forceful response to — or rather, defense from — racially tinged violence, injustices and police brutality.
"What can we do to keep our communities protected? I believe that should be our main objective," Sticman spit.
The video also features Bey speaking about the crew's motivation for recording the song.
"You could be a better pop star or a brighter celebrity, but particularly if you come from poor communities, if you come from black communities in this country, and you see a casual, systemic indifference to Black life, at a certain point you have to respond," he says. "It's in your own self-interest. It's not even outstanding or courageous — it's a survival issue. Either we gonna fix this or we gonna just agree to be slaves. And that ... don't honor the legacy of those that came before us."
Bey criticized other artists who have chosen to stay silent about Trayvon and other injustices.
"When it's to promote a project, or an album, or a stunt, or to have a photo-op moment, cats is in their best, their brightest and they're early," he says. "It's a priority. So if this is not a priority, what is?"
"Made You Die" is expected to hit the Internet and radio waves soon.
(Photos from left: Amanda Edwards/PictureGroup, Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)