Detroit‘s Guilty Simpson is not only one of my favorite emcees, he is arguably one of contemporary hip-hop’s sadly unheralded and under-appreciated artists; in fact, 2013’s Highway Robbery, a collaborative effort featuring the production work of Philadelphia‘s Small Professor was one of the best albums of any genre that year as the material told tales of the hellish world of desperate men forced to do desperate things to survive in a dystopian inner city.
Since the release of Highway Robbery, Simpson has been pretty prolific releasing a number of singles and collaborations including a series of collaborations with a producer by the name of Katalyst, with whom Simpson worked with for his latest single “Animal” which has the Detroit-based emcee rhyming about racist police policies that often have police officers treating the Black citizens they’re supposed to protect as though they were animals — even during the most benign interactions. “Treat us animal like, but we don’t even have animal rights,” Simpson sarcastically remarks. And throughout the song, Simpson talks openly about the distrust and rage such policies create among the populace, and how those policies are leading to the demonstrations and riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Denver, Madison, WI and other places. With the anniversaries of Trayvon Martin’s, Eric Garner’s and Mike Brown’s deaths among others, and the recent deaths of Sam Dubose and Sandra Bland, the song captures the national conversation on race, police policies and the criminal justice system and does so to an eerily menacing, choppy sample.