Otherside of America

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"Otherside of America"
Meek Mill Otherside of America.png
Single by Meek Mill
ReleasedJune 5, 2020
GenrePolitical/conscious hip hop[1]
Length3:39
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • SHROOM 
  • Butter Beats
Meek Mill singles chronology
"Believe"
(2020)
"Otherside of America"
(2020)

"Otherside of America" is a protest song[2][3][4][5] by American rapper Meek Mill. The song tackles racial inequality and racism in the United States. It was released on June 5, 2020, amid the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests against police brutality in the United States, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. In the intro, the song contains dialogue from President Donald Trump's "crass"[6] 2016 comments about black Americans.

Background[edit]

In the song, Meek Mill illustrates how systemic racism has affected his life, through his own encounters with law enforcement. In 2007, he was arresed in South Philadelphia on a gun and drug charge, and finally, in August 2019, he plead guilty to a misdemeanor while all other charges were absolved.[7] Known for his activism work, in 2019, he co-founded the REFORM Alliance, an organization dedicated to prison reform. He has also advocated for reform in the probation and parole system of Pennsylvania.[8] Meek revealed that Nipsey Hussle and Saint Jhn were initially featured on the song.[9]

Composition[edit]

Backed by a "rumbling",[10] "thumping"[11] beat, the song, as noted by The Source's Miss2Bees, "amplifies the voices of ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality". Meek also touches on his personal experiences with police brutality and his upbringing in Philadelphia and references his prison stint in 2017.[9]

Intro[edit]

"Otherside of America" opens with audio dialogue of President Donald Trump's 2016 comments about the black community, in which he suggested they should vote for him because,[6] "You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed – what the hell do you have to lose?". Meek then juxtaposes Trump's statements, beginning his verse with: "Reporting live from the other side of America",[11] telling the story of when he "was just a shorty / then I started spittin' godly, and they said 'record me'", going back through his various times in jail while rising to fame.[7]

Outro[edit]

The song concludes with audio of Meek talking to CNN's Michael A. Smerconish, in an excerpt taken from a 2018 interview between the two. In verified commentary with lyrics annotation website Genius, Meek explained the inspiration for its inclusion in the song: "This interview took place the morning Championships came out. It was early in the morning the day after my release party and I could just feel the love from everyone about the album dropping".[12] The song ends with Meek asking Smerconish, "You see murder, you even see seven people die a week, I think you would carry a gun yourself. Would you?", to which Smerconish replies, "Uh, yeah, I probably would".[7]

Cover art[edit]

According to Meek, the cover art is an image taken at the 2020 George Floyd protests in Philadelphia.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Tyler Schmitt of Variance magazine called the track "gripping".[6] Both Rolling Stone's Daniel Kreps[13] and Cerys Kenneally of The Line of The Best Fit said Meek has "hard-hitting bars", with Kenneally noting the song for being "a timely track which tackles issues of racial inequality".[14] ABC News Radio called the track "passionate", as Meek "expresses his anguish and fear towards police in the wake of George Floyd's death".[15] Likiewise, Complex's Joe Price labeled it "passionate" and "fiery".[16] Dan DeLuca of The Philadelphia Inquirer also called it "passionate", and Meek's salvo, "hard-hitting".[7] Entertainment Weekly's Marcus Jones named it one of the five best songs of the week, asserting "If there is one black American artist capable of sharing intimate details on what the specter of the police state feels like, it's Meek Mill".[17] Nina Corcoran of Consequence of Sound said the song should not be mistaken for "your usual protest song", emphasizing how Meek "spends his time talking about the effects of poverty, violence, and racism on black kids-turned-teenagers with nuance and vivid imagery".[3] Spin magazine said "Mill uses incisive lyrics to trace the perils of what African-Americans are going through and have gone through".[5] Sidney Madden of NPR said although the song's theme is not new territory for Meek, "the bars hold even more weight in this moment".[18]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[19] 100
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 64
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[21] 27
US Rolling Stone 100[22] 46

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Powell, Jon (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill shows us the "Other Side Of America" on new single". Revolt. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  2. ^ Jonson, Patrick (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Tells Stories of Injustice From the "Otherside of America"". Hypebeast. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Corcoran, Nina (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Breaks Down the "Otherside of America" on New Single". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  4. ^ Curto, Justin (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Reports 'Live From the Other Side' of America in New Protest Song". Vulture. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Spin staff (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Shares New Protest Song 'Other Side of America'". Spin. Retrieved June 16, 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c Schmitr, Tyler (June 5, 2020). "Hear Meek Mill's gripping new song 'Otherside of America'". Variance. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d DeLuca, Dan (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill's new protest song is a message from the 'Otherside of America'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  8. ^ TV News Desk (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Releases New Song 'Otherside Of America'". Broadway World. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  9. ^ a b MISS2BEES (June 5, 2020). "MEEK MILL REVEALS NIPSEY HUSSLE AND SAINT JHN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FEATURED ON NEW SINGLE, 'OTHER SIDE OF AMERICA'". The Source. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  10. ^ RS Charts (June 16, 2020). "RS Charts: DaBaby and Roddy Ricch's 'Rockstar' Repeats at Number One". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 16, 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b Mahjouri, Shakiel (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Calls Out Donald Trump On 'Otherside Of America'". ET Canada. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Otherside Of America - Meek Mill (verified commentary by Meek Mill)". Genius. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill's 'Other Side of America' Tackles Racial Inequality". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill releases new song "Otherside of America"". The Line of The Best Fit. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Meek Mill shares passionate new song, "Other Side of America"". ABC News Radio. June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  16. ^ Price, Joe (June 5, 2020). "Meek Mill Shares Passionate New Song "Otherside of America"". Complex. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  17. ^ Jones, Marcus (June 5, 2020). "Friday Five: Meek Mill showcases the other side of America, YG says 'FTP,' and more". EW. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  18. ^ Madden, Sidney (June 5, 2020). "Heat Check: Reportin' Live From The Other Side". NPR. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "Meek Mill Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  20. ^ "Meek Mill Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  21. ^ "Meek Mill Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  22. ^ RS Charts (June 15, 2020). "RS Charts: DaBaby and Roddy Ricch's 'Rockstar' Repeats at Number One". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 16, 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)