The following was initially published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.
Black Thought, the MC of The Roots, recently released the EP “Stream of Thought Vol. 2,” his follow-up to the second volume released earlier in the year.
Because many now associate Black Thought by his birth name Tariq Trotter, as part of the house band on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” it is easy to lose sight of his influence as a socially conscious rapper. With The Roots, his lyrics often provided poignant social commentary.
Both volumes of “Stream of Thought” fully display his abilities to skillfully offer deep insights into real world issues.
“Fentanyl,” off “Vol. 2,” tackles the opioid crisis. It addresses the dangers of addiction, mentioning how both Tom Petty and Prince died from fentanyl overdoses. It also sheds light on unscrupulous individuals and institutions that profit from addiction.
“Over-dosage is a marketing scheme, that’s just as dark as it seem when it’s a part of your team” speaks to how Big Pharma spends millions to promote drugs with potentially deadly side effects.
This idea is further explored with the lyric, “While the wolves pull the wool on and prey on vices.” The wolves represent the marketers that target addicts. They don’t care that “another destroyed life was meant to be more righteous in the face of this full-on opioid crisis.”
When looking at the root of the opioid crisis, a huge part of the issue isn’t only drugs that are dealt illegally. Doctors and Big Pharma over-prescribe drugs.
Lobbying of politicians by pharmaceutical companies creates a disincentive for politicians to pass meaningful regulation that would help address the crisis. If individuals tied to these corporations write enough checks, they are able to write policies.
Unfortunately, the lives ruined by addiction are considered collateral damage in the name of profits. Take money out of politics, and there may be a significant change.