One of the main things that kept me interested in Tim Fite are two things: his willingness to be unpredictable with his music, even if it means hopping genres every now and then, and his willingness to maintain a single thread in all of his albums. He has created albums about heartbreak, economic problems, linking consumerism and hip-hop, and albums about how technology has impacted society.
So, it only makes sense that Tim Fite, the genrehopping folk musician, would make an album about police brutality, white privilege and all that surrounds this called Resist.
What makes Tim Fite the king of writing protest songs lies in his inability to pull a punch. Every lyric he writes is purposefully on the nose, and it’s obvious as to who he is writing about every time. Not to mention, to make sure that the topic isn’t mistaken, he grabs all the right samples, and purposefully changes the musical aesthetic to match the topic. Where he would either switch from folk to hip-hop like an ambidextrous author, Tim Fite tries his hand at music that is somewhere between Ministry and Atari Teenage Riot. You’d think it wouldn’t be able to work until you come across the nose-breaking “Breathe”, where samples of Eric Garner being choked to death, pounding drums and Tim Fite chanting “if one of us can’t, none of us can” hammer home the idea.
At first, “Getaway” sounds like Tim Fite delivering the music in a near-gangsta style, but this track highlights the near-sociopathic tendencies of such crooked cop, whom he will be eviscerating a good amount through the album. A highlight of this is when Tim uses the second verse to color in the paranoid-to-Bellevue-levels idea of the Stand Your Ground movement:
If I feel my life is threatened,
If I think you have a weapon,
If you even fucking touch me,
I am the law!
So, when I kill you, it’s your fault
And I will get away with murder!
The album also shows that Tim isn’t blind to a racial battle going on either. This is highlighted in both “Hell”, where he sings a “white man’s heaven is a BLACK MAN’S HELL”, and in “White People”, where Tim recognizes the privilege, the cluelessness and the ignorance of non-blacks. What started off as people taking sides in a battle that shouldn’t have happened has slowly overtime turned into a battle of black and white, which is brought to a head by Dylan Roof shooting up a church and the resurgence of the KKK. In fact, “White People” could well fit as an answer to those in Fox News who didn’t think Dylan’s problem had anything to do with race.
Somewhere, as I am writing this, there WILL be a reviewer or a listener wondering whether Tim even has the right to make an album like this. The person who asks this would most likely be black. To them, I say, have you ever heard the poem that constantly punctuates injustice with the words “…and I did not speak out”? Tim Fite isn’t just trying to jump aboard any bandwagons here. Back when he was Little T, he told a story about how he was ostracized for telling ignorant white men to not use the N-word on “Sycamore Trees”. Tim Fite could care less about whether or not his own kind would be affected because he knows as well as anyone that positive change is necessary for all to live.
Thus, as a black person and a fan of Tim Fite, I am thankful that he took the time to create Resist, as it bottles up the rage, confusion, and the absurdity involved within less than two years of having a complicated relationship with the law, if not within as many years of blatant racist ideas.
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Your 76th favorite black Aspergian musical polymath (Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, blogger, producer, poet) from Boston.