REN (Respected. Educated. Nation) emcee PAEday drops off a video for the 7° produced track “Birth Of A Nation.” As the track is one of Black pride, I assume it takes its name from the recently released period piece following the revolt led by literate slave Nat Turner. Interestingly, however, there is a 1915 silent film of the same name which conversely demonized Blacks and presented clansmen as heroes. It seems the recent film takes that name in an attempt to flip the original connotation, an effort PAEday’s track continues.
In line with a goal of instilling Black pride, the accompanying visuals highlight moments of Black excellence. What I appreciate most is the diversity of excellence presented. We see faces of those commonly associated with this topic like Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis and James Baldwin. But we also see less traditional representations of excellence like Jay Z, Mike Tyson, and Colin Kaepernick.
Lyrically, the first half of the song finds PAEday talking politics of race. Then in the second half, while some personal injustices are introduced, things stay rather lighthearted as he works in less upsetting topics.
“My baby cousin text me she can’t pay her light bill
But I just got a text from shorty with the right build
My N–ga So just hit me said his cancer resurfaced
But on the whip I threw some rims so Imma keep skirting
I see the pain in my sister eyes trying to have a kid
But I just paid a down payment I’m trying to own a crib”
This juxtaposition is meant to show that there is always light in the darkness, if you are willing to look hard enough. I appreciate the sentiment but think it may have been more potent to highlight a positive within the same realm as the negative. As it is now, it seems as if PAEday is simply selfishly ignoring the struggles of those outside himself. If he were to introduce another’s struggle in one arena and then highlight a success of the same person, rather than a personal success, it would be a more rewarding message. That said, there is something to be said for focusing on personal successes from time to time.