Toki Wright, long time local emcee, activist, and rising hip-hop star is mad as hell about Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) that essentially legalizes racial profiling. He’s turned his rage into art by creating an amazing remake of the Public Enemy classic “By the Time I Get to Arizona,” called “By the Time I Get to Arizona 2010.” You can listen to it here.
The song pays homage to Chuck D and the social and political activism he inspired in rap music through PE and much more. His activism continues today. Read what Toki says about his relationship to the original PE classic (about Arizona’s refusal to recognize the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday), Chuck D, and the all-night process to create the remake here.
Video for the track will be shot this Saturday on May Day at a protest against SB 1070 taking place right here in South Mpls. at Martin Luther King park. Very fitting as Toki is a child of this city and has worked tirelessly on behalf of our city’s youth (Yo! The Movement being one example).
I met Toki when he was 15 and was part of a youth organization where I worked. Since then, I’ve watched him (from the sidelines) grow from a youth activist to an activist for youth to a community activist and emcee and hip hop artist who is now making a national name for himself. I couldn’t be prouder even if no personal claim to pride is due me.
The seeds for this protest song were sewn in part when Toki asked, “What would Chuck D do?” When I read that, I thought, “This song.” So maybe a better question is “What would Toki Wright do?” Because the answer is “This song.”
This post was originally published on Embrace Your Age Cause You’re Living!