Austin artist Chucky Blk blurs the lines between Hip Hop and Spoken Word to tackle tough topics in his hard-hitting single “Empire Shakes”. Being the son of a pastor, it makes sense that he’s turned stage to pulpit and speaks verses of truths. “Empire Shakes” takes a second glance at the discriminatory concept that is the American Dream. As part of his upcoming project “A Scathing Critique of Current Affairs”, Chucky finds unique ways to use his purpose and artistic gifts during these unprecedented times. In his new single, Chucky looks up and looks around him in a reevaluation of what the American Dream really looks like for a Black person “I don’t know that black people are ever fully integrated into the American Dream (dream in the most literal sense). Irish, Italian, White Latinx, etc. can all be integrated into whiteness, but black is and always will be the antithesis to it.” If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that racism in America is far from over. Because of this we’re left to wonder how black people feel that they fit into this unfair and unjust system that is neatly packaged and sold to us as quote unquote “American Dream”.
A collaboration between DJ/Producer Shungu and UK based rapper and musician Eldon, “Empire Shakes” releases a dark and ominous animated video directed by Vxashara. The video features a haunting puppet show that begins with what appears to be a sinking Mayflower and/or sunken slave ship as the grim reaper rides his horse into the city. Perfectly aligned with Chucky’s lyrics “Since 93 i’ve survived three apocalypse, Global warming pending so I opted into talking shit” you see the city become engulfed in flames as the grim reaper watches it burn. We’re then brought to a new scene to represent police brutality; the twist appears when those that were killed come back to haunt the cop as they seek revenge. As we see the image of Uncle Sam drop from the ceiling, you can feel the ins and outs of the ways in which Chucky’s existential dread fueled his creativity by applying abstract visuals to very real events. The grim reaper is then met with an egyptian God who holds the scales of balance meant as symbolism. The end is left up to interpretation. Could we witness an alien abduction this year? The video for “Empire Shakes” reminds us that nothing would really surprise us at this point.