As the country and world turn their attention to the turmoil that has engulfed Ferguson, MO, in the wake of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police, the music world has responded in its own way. Unforgiving and stark musical messages from respected hip-hop artists like J.Cole and Ms. Lauryn Hill contribute to a conversation that also sees Killer Mike, Talib Kweli, Frank Ocean, and St. Louis native Nelly taking to social media and the press, attempting to address a community and nation at odds with how to handle the violence. The responses bare some similarity to the ways in which hip-hop addressed the post-Rodney King verdict violence in Los Angeles almost two decades ago, providing the rest of the country with a sobering look into the realities of violence and racism in the American inner city.
Gifted Overbrook Park-based rapper and singer MilLionZ, who burst onto our radar last year with a searing guest verse during singer-songwriter Ryan Tennis’s “Fight Song” (check out Tennis’s Key Studio Session to listen to the track), is adding his unique voice to that conversation. Only about two weeks after releasing a new video for “Young”, an ethereal and introspective song whose examinations of triumph over hardship are instantaneously relatable to the struggles facing youth of color in impoverished communities, MilLionZ (whose civilian name is Maximilian Tucker) has dropped the incendiary track “No Tomorrow” featuring local emcees Pokerface and G-Buck. He took to Facebook yesterday to invite the public to a video shoot for the song on Saturday, which will be dedicated “to what’s going on in ferguson [sic] and around the world,”
“No Tomorrow”, which can be streamed below, features heavy mid-tempo beats and ominous production underneath searing vocals that see MilLionZ emphatic and raspy voice dropping lines like “That’s why I hug life and embrace it to the fullest / ‘cause I put that burner to my head and damn, I almost pulled it / I was on some bullshit and I ain’t even notice.” Its cathartic rage is a far cry from the morose contemplation seen on “Young” yet deals with similar themes of alienation and overcoming the odds.
Although “No Tomorrow” was made before violence erupted in Ferguson, MilLionZ says that the track takes on new meaning in the light of these events. “A group of people – me, Pokerface, and G-Buck, came up with the song. On the hook, I say, ‘Put your hands up, wave ‘em to the sky, let everybody know the reason why you’re alive.’ and then Pokerface says ‘There’s no tomorrow.’ As soon as we were done finishing that record, all of this happened, and everybody’s been putting their hands up to let people know that they’re unarmed. It’s just a big coincide that I came up with this song while all of this was happening. We feel like this is a big piece and a big message, not just for people in St. Louis but also around the world who are dealing with stuff going on with their governments,” explained MilLionZ in a phone interview with The Key.
Both “No Tomorrow” and “Young” are set to appear on MilLionZ’s upcoming mixtape, Before I Blow My Brains Out, which is anticipated for release in late September. The video shoot for “No Tomorrow” will commence at noon on Saturday at City Hall. MilLionZ envisions the shoot doubling as a protest, starting at City Hall before making its way to different neighborhoods of the city. “[We’ll go to] different parts of the city to focus on different people around Philadelphia – not just black and white, but all the different people who live in the city, because civil rights affects everyone in America,” he added.
Listen to “No Tomorrow” below, go to City Hall on Saturday to take part in the video shoot, and stay tuned for more information on MilLionZ’s upcoming mixtape.
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