DENVER, Colorado — Denver based rapper A Meazy said he still gets goosebumps when he hears his collaborative track on the radio day after day.
But it’s not the recognition that excites him. It’s the message behind the lyrics.
“It’s about Black Lives Matter, and not too many people get songs on the radio about that,” said A Meazy.
The track is called “I Can’t Breathe (Again),” and includes verse after verse of Denver artists soulfully reflecting on their perspectives of the current state of racial equality and police brutality.
Musicians A Meazy, Wil Guice, Chy Reco, Ramond and producer Mic Coats are featured in the song, each channeling their own personal struggle with living as a Black person in America today.
“We’re tired of getting knees to our necks, fed up with the walls and tired of putting our backs to them,” said Reco, recalling one of his lines on the song while standing in front of the painting in memorial of Elijah McClain in the Five Points neighborhood. “We’re tired of being oppressed, and we’re tired of making these murals.”
The artists are not a group, but rather a collaboration effort pulled together by the owner of Westminster’s Onyx Barbershop, Armando Trevino. He recruited the various Colorado musicians under his moniker Barbershop Uncut in May to make a song that matched the energy of the daily protests in Civic Center Park.
“You could tell when we were in the studio everyone was struggling to try to bottle up the words in a 16 bar verse or a short hook to try to encapsulate the heaviness of this systemic oppression that’s been happening,” Coats said.
Hip hop radio station KS 107.5 was quick to bring the song into its daily rotation.
“We thought the song was so beautiful from every single artist, it was no question that my program director, our music director, that they were going to throw this song on as soon as they heard it,” said on-air personality Rosa Jad.
Jad’s playlist includes dozens of nationally-renowned hip hop artists and Top 100 musicians. But since June 12, her picks have included the local flavor of “I Can’t Breathe (Again).”
“You have such a strong powerful movement, one that it’s going to be talked about in history, and you have local artists who are able to match that same energy in such a beautiful way, it doesn’t happen often,” Jad said.
The music video accompanying the song has garnered thousands of hits on Youtube since it was released in late July. It pulls powerful images and video of tear gas, homemade signs and shows of solidarity from the BLM protests in Colorado.
A Meazy said he’s been getting a steady stream of positive feedback from friends, family and fans who have been hearing his name on the radio again and again, but he’s steadfast in his belief the personal recognition is all secondary to the message.
“It’s bigger than us man. There’s no ego involved,” said A Meazy. “This is about making change for our people. Simple as that.”
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