Yesterday, the world was in full service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While most take up volunteer work as a way of honoring the king, others pay homage differently. Rapper Young Thug decided to drop a new track called “MLK” featuring Trouble & Shad Da God instead. The song pays respect to the civil rights leader through rap verses.
Following his Super Slimey mixtape collaboration with fellow Atlanta native, Future, the 26-year-old rapper put any of his other upcoming projects on hold in order to pursue ties with rising rappers Shad Da God and Trouble—thus creating “MLK” to reflect on some major turning points in history.
An old photograph of Dr. King throwing up the middle finger binds with the song’s strong and powerful message. Thug relates with some of his own struggles from hustling on the streets with a vision of one day being able to buy anything he wanted. He gloats about his own rags to riches story, using King as his inspiration of hope.
He even makes references to King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963, with the lines: “I was havin’ a dream/ I was whippin’ a Rolls Royce/ And I bought everything I want/ Turned to Martin Luther King overnight,” which reveals Thug’s inner pain rising up. “Martin Luther King overnight, ayy/I was dead broke, hustlin’ off the steps/ Now I rock water like I’m Micheal Phelps, yeah/ Black diamonds, Black History Month/ Turned to Martin Luther King overnight.”
This isn’t the first time the Atlanta rapper paid homage to Dr. King through his music. Back in 2014, he joined forces with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill on the single “Hundreds (I Had A Dream),” which also takes its own spin on King’s historic speech. If there is one thing that’s clear it’s that the civil rights leader has indeed left an imprint in the rap world for a lifetime.