If you don't know what it's like to recover from a protest that escalated to violence, Anderson .Paak's "Lockdown" will make you feel it — from its lyrics to director Dave Myers' cinematic accompanying visuals. The video opens with .Paak and a group of friends, including Jay Rock, Syd, SiR and Andra Day, plopping down at a diner table, masks pulled down as they recover from a protest. Their laughter dissipates into a somber silence as the gravity of their experience sets in. "Who said it was a lockdown goddamned lied," .Paak sings over the song's subdued groove, insisting that fires started by "secret agents" nor rubber bullets deployed by riot police nor COVID-19 can quell these protests.
Blood trickles from a wound on .Paak's forehead as he details the multitude of issues we're facing at once — police brutality, civil unrest, criticism of said civil unrest, widespread unemployment and the pandemic disproportionately claiming the lives of minorities. Jay Rock similarly takes stock of current events in his featured verse, which culminates in a call to action: "Ready for the revolution, who ready to ride? / It won't be televised, so tell me, who ready to die?" .Paak follows up accordingly with a verse about arming himself and looting Neiman Marcus; yet, when he gets home, the riled-up revolutionary turns into a concerned father, putting his son to sleep as tears fall from his eyes.
Despite being a dramatization, "Lockdown" shares a very real message: Those who have died at the hands of police aren't the only victims. Whether you've endured excessive police force or watched from home while social distancing, these unprecedented times will have a lasting impact — but navigating this is part of the revolution, just as it was for .Paak and his crew. As .Paak puts it, "We ain't gotta stop 'cause they tell us to."