Music

REWIND: Hip-Hop’s Trayvon Martin Tribute Songs

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(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In this week’s episode of REWIND, we react to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman verdict through tributes by Young Jeezy and Wyclef Jean.

On Saturday night (July 13), Zimmerman was acquitted of the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Martin, protected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law. The world erupted to the not guilty verdict in the racially-charged case.

Young Jeezy dropped “It’s A Cold World” on his Facebook page with a note. “I am in no way shape, form, or fashion trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events. These are my true feelings and my form of expression about it.”

On the track, Jeezy raps, “I’m losing homies everyday, I’m like, ‘Please somebody else’/If nothing else n**** I’mma do it for Trayvon/That’s on a stack of bibles, at least two or three Qurans.”

Wyclef was more direct in his approach, detailing the events that led to his killing.

“If you’re 17 with a hoodie on, watch out,” he raps. Later, he adds: “He could have been the next president… he could have been the next astronaut.”

Though he did not pen a tribute song (yet — you never know with how active he keeps), Questlove’s poignant essay about Trayvon is worth a read.

In other racially-charged hip-hop news, Lil Wayne apologized to Emmett Till’s family for his explicit lyrics on the “Karate Chop” remix, in which he said he will “beat the p***y up like Emmett Till,” the young African-American boy slain in 1955 for merely flirting with a white woman.

Back in May, the Till family expressed their disappointment and wanted an apology. Weezy went the non-apology route.

“Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner…I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue,” he said in a statement.

This weekend, however, he violated his vow. At a concert, instead of his former lyrics about Till, he replaced the offending lyrics with new ones: “I apologize to the family of Emmett Till.” This may have been the apology the Till family was hoping for all along.

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