Anderson .Paak reflects on 2020 protests on “Lockdown”

A subdued, ruminative song from the usually cheerful rapper.

With his new song “Lockdown,” Anderson .Paak has become the latest musician to release music responding to the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread protests against police brutality.

Released on Juneteenth, “Lockdown” is a serious, relatively subdued song from the rapper who once named a tour after his own toothy grin. .Paak puts his canny observations from the crowded streets to the beat: “We was tryin’ to protest, then the fires broke out / Look out for the secret agents, they be planted in the crowd / Said, ‘It’s civil unrest,’ but you sleep so sound.” Elsewhere, he turns from disgust at police brutality to ambient worry about the pandemic: “Sicker than the COVID, how they did him on the ground / Speakin’ of the COVID, is it still goin’ round?”

“Lockdown” arrived with a video directed by Dave Meyers. In the clip, .Paak and his friends—including Syd of The Internet, Top Dawg Entertainment’s SiR and Dumbfoundead—grab a bite to eat at a diner, both exhilarated and exhausted from the protest they just attended. Jay Rock makes an appearance to spit a verse not found on the studio version of the track. .Paak ends the video crafting “Lockdown” at the piano, waking his son up in the process.

The clip concludes with an illustration of the Black Lives Matter’s logo of the raised fist, made up of the names of victims of police brutality, and a note that .Paak’s foundation .Paak House has donated to Action Bail Fund LA, Atlanta Solidarity Fund and Albany Safety Fund for Black Lives.

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Other artists who’ve recently released music to express their own anger and anxiety about police brutality and support the movement for justice include Ric Wilson, T-Pain, Kiana Ledé, YG, Lil Baby, HER and DaBaby, just to name a few.

This is .Paak’s first solo track in a while. Earlier this year, he collaborated with Justin Timberlake for the song “Don’t Slack” from the Trolls World Tour soundtrack, which followed his 2019 collaboration with Mark Ronson for the soundtrack of Spies in Disguise. Last year, he also featured on songs by The Game, YBN Cordae, Flying Lotus, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib. .Paak’s last full-length release was Ventura from April 2019.

Watch the video for “Lockdown” here:

Dig into Anderson .Paak’s discography with our list of his five most underrated songs.

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