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Columnists

A Socially Conscious Young Musician

October 7, 2021
By William Copper

Poohder P is a budding musician whose searing lyrics speak for an often-forgotten part of his generation: socially conscious young people from the inner city.

His songs explore subjects like economic inequality, LGBTQ rights, mass incarceration, global warming and artificial intelligence. To name a few.

In Was It Could Be, Poohder P imagines, in his typical rhyming style, a world without war: “Imagine that nations never started wars/That boys didn't die so men could settle scores.” He yearns for peace, recognizing that more unites humanity than divides it: “Just One people kicking it in peace/Across the globe hostilities would cease.”

Poohder P also imagines that exponential advances in technology didn't threaten human safety. The surveillance state – in the United States, China and elsewhere – gives governments enormous power to track and control their citizens. And high-tech weaponry provides militaries with unprecedented tools for waging war. Poohder P understands: "Imagine that technology didn't threaten our fate/No AI, machine learning or surveillance state … Imagine that technology didn't threaten our fate/No precision-guided missiles to further man's hate."

In addition to imagining the world as it could be, Poohder P condemns the world as it is. His song Feast is a political anthem for underprivileged communities – a segment of society both used and neglected by America's political and economic elite. In the last several decades the wealth of the Forbes 400 (the richest people in America) has multiplied to well over ten trillion dollars. Yet, at the same time, underprivileged communities have struggled to achieve even modest gains in standard of living. "While you" – the wealthiest Americans – "feast on American pie,” Poohder P sings, those in underprivileged communities are “left to die."

But he doesn’t just take aim at the rich. He also condemns the dishonesty of politicians who promise change from the stump but don’t follow through with concrete action: “While you feast on American pie/We are spoon fed a hollow lie." The hypocrisy of these hollow lies – politicians' empty promises to deliver change – motivates Poohder P’s searing condemnations. "We are stats for fat cats/To rattle off in their campaign hats,” he explains. “We are plans for also-rans/To boast about to their adoring fans.”

But people in the inner city are not just statistics. They are individual human beings. They are "brothers and sisters and mommas and dads" – even though, to the politicians, "all we are is one of your fads."

As Poohder P highlights, these wealthy and powerful Americans – in Silicon Valley, Wall Street and Washington – reflexively fixate on and react to markets and polls, ignoring the less-fortunate people suffering in the very country that enabled their success: "Brutes in suits/You're like snakes before flutes/Upon our necks we can feel your boots.”

Poohder P can make a point. His lyrics are rooted in a broad and insightful understanding of American society. He can sing, too. His tight rhymes accentuate the potency of his message. His vocals are powerful. Energetic. Captivating. And his style is an eccentric blend of modern rap and age-old rock and roll.

But Poohder P is much more than a singer. He is a fearless social critic with a pointed message. And, above all, he is an emerging voice for millions of young people who typically go unheard.

William Cooper’s writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun and USA Today, among others.

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