words by Evan Winter
Minneapolis hip hop artist Tall Paul shared a new video on Monday for his song "No Questions" from his 2015 album No Good, Good Guy. The song – fast-paced and energetic with a hard-hitting, minimalist beat from local producer Rube – addresses two instances of black boys being effectively murdered by a discriminatory system: the wrongful murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of police in 2014, and the highly-controversial and inconclusive trial that resulted in 14-year-old George Stinney Jr.'s execution 70 years prior.
The cinematic video follows a white officer and her partner as they repeatedly show leniency to whites – even calmly de-escalating an openly violent situation – before encountering a black man, who they deem suspicious. The cops then demonstrate the stark difference in the ways in which they treat people of color, ending in a tragic, violent climax. The video – directed, produced and shot by Mercies May – reverses, recounting the day from the man's own perspective, showing that the man they instinctively treated as a criminal was in no way, shape, or form, a threat.
The song may be directly discussing Rice's and Stinney's deaths and the ensuing lack of accountability held for those responsible, but Paul's lyrics about systemic racism within law enforcement and elsewhere remain as true as ever. On the chorus, he raps, "All light ain't devils, all dark ain't angels / Being light gets paid, being dark gets fatal / The system made dark skin synonymous with criminality / Cops'll pop your dark ass, no questions."
Check out the powerful new video below.