Audio: Janelle Monáe & The Wondaland Crew Take A Stand & Deliver On The 'Hell You Talmbout'


A new agenda has been far overdue when it comes to the protest track.

Though these days we'd rather muzzle an entertainment figure before they squawk stupid rhetoric about anything political or racial on social media or to the press, but the musical artist is of a different breed. To rephrase the glorious Nina Simone, an artist --- especially a musical one --- has a duty to reflect the times, and while we've had numerous anthems from decades past that have eloquently fought the powers that be, in recent years, with the rise and staying power of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, we've been sorta slipping on the art and emotional punch of the protest track.

That is till Janelle Monáe entered the arena...

Premiering just days before the Wondaland Records drop of The Eephus EP, "Hell You Talmbout" feels like the protest track a lot of us have been vying for as Monáe and her Wondaland crew (JidennaDeep CottonSt. BeautyRoman GianArthur, and George 2.0) conduct a powerhouse riot of social defiance, anger, and pride that is easily one of the most chilling anthems to come out of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

With marching band styled drum cadences and an acid-spitting message that rivals Michael Jackson's epic "They Don't Care About Us", Monáe and the Wondaland crew chant the names of unarmed Black citizens who have been killed due to police brutality. These names --- Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and more --- ricochet and slice through the thunderous nearly 7-minute long beat, and if you didn't know the names by now you will by song's end. It's a riveting call-to-arms that pushes a narrative for change by not so much as putting balm on the situation, but instead reminding us all to not let these brothers and sisters become nameless victims whom died in vain.

Monáe elaborated further about what purpose the track serves via Instagram:
This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves... Won't you say their names?
Feel the rhythm. Chant the rhyme. Say their names...

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