By Jack Barnes
When reading statistics such as the U.S. Census citing that 4% of all African-American males are currently incarcerated, some people may feel unaffected. To many, however, that statistic cuts painfully close to home. ATL-based DJ/artist Genius and Cleveland-based rapper Ray Jr have both dealt with the pain and heartache of having loved ones locked up or deported and thus decided to create the song, “Free All My N*ggas,” to humanize those statistics. “Free All My N*ggas” is a heartfelt trap ballad with strong verses and a melodic hook from producer, Matt Steez, who co-penned the hook with Genius. The song deftly explains one of the most prominent examples of inequality in our country and instills a message of hope to those behind bars. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
Genius, a noted tastemaker and DJ in the Atlanta area, decided to create the song after he learned that his cousin and close friend got locked up and was going to be deported back to Jamaica. ExplainsGenius, “I wanted to create a record that reflected the emotions I had. So with my approach to creating records, it all starts with the production. I listen to the track, start writing, and think, ‘Who could capture the feel and emotion of the track?’ I saw Ray Jr. perform in Cleveland and I knew he could capture that mood. Ray has good energy. He’s a great storyteller, and his rhymes come from a very real place.”
DJ Genius grew up in rural Jamaica, but he quickly established himself as a major tastemaker after moving to Atlanta in his early teens, hosting early mixtapes for Migos and K Camp. In recent months, Genius has grown into a notable recording artist on his own, expressing his unique point-of-view while continuing to cultivate a burgeoning Eastside Atlanta music scene. On June 17th, Genius released A Eastside Story: Deluxe Edition LP, a collaborative project with Atlanta newcomer Felipe. Prior to the LP’s release, Genius released “Never Satisfied,” a collaboration with fellow Eastsider Scotty ATL, via2DopeBoyz, and “Ego Trippin‘,” a lavish-life Beat Attikz-produced anthem featuring Felipe and K-Noe. “Ego Trippin'” followed the XXL premiere of the epic, 45-track “Gucci’s Home” mix, released on the day of Gucci Mane’s release from prison. In May, VIBE debuted Genius’ “Movie 2.0,” which features Que and frequent collaborator K Camp, while HipHopDX shared the “Make It Work“ video, in which Genius and Felipe mob out on a liquor store run. The LP also includes features from Hoodrich Pablo Juan, Mr. 2-17,K-Noe, Rich Espy, T-Hood, Coca Vango, and Two-9. A Eastside Story: Deluxe Edition is available to purchase on iTunes and stream on Spotify.
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Props to GENIUS
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