Words by Kaya.lah
“Black America/I pledge allegiance, to the flag/Take off the hats, do I stand a chance/Should a n***a dance, or ride in the streets/Ok I get it, we just trynna eat…So we dancin’…”
This wise and haunting chorus from the young lyricist Mike Lawry plainly depicts an all-too-familiar plight for Africans of the Diaspora. The lyrics come from a multifaceted new project consisting of Lawry’s Make The City Proud mixtape and L.I.F.E. (Living In Faith Everyday), a short film. The mixtape inspired the film, which captures a story of survival in Lawry’s hometown, Rock City, St. Thomas.
Directed by Sean David, L.I.F.E. stars the beautiful Yoshiri Rivera and Forever Kings’ Rashad Martinez along with Mr. Lawry himself, and centers around three of the mixtape’s standout tracks. “Black America,” featuring Anything ILL aka Don’t Talk of R.City (formerly Planet VI/Rock City), opens both projects, and it’s quickly hopped into my favorites list with gripping bars from both rappers telling a tale of modern struggles and overcoming obstacles. Putting Anything ILL on the track adds a touch of poignancy; R.City has come to represent what “making it out” means for youth of this part of the Caribbean. Also on the soundtrack are “Searching” and “Problems,” a pair of tracks dealing with the mysteries of modern gender relations. Watch the short film here:
17 tracks in total, Make The City Proud is a solid followup for the talented lyricist, who dropped his debut The Gold Tape project last year. Lawry shows the many rhyme frameworks he has in his bag while featuring a who’s who of V.I. talent including Prya of FAM World; Kissinger; Samson Dread; and Pressure Busspipe (who previously collaborated with Lawry on The Gold Tape).
Stream Make The City Proud here, and download it here. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more from the Rock City spitter.