West Coast artist Champagne Duane teams up with Front Page Music’s Brookfield Duece to deliver Fly Free, a powerful political statement produced by Portland’s own Cee Goods.
“Fly Free” highlights the injustices of oppression while offering enlightenment and encouragement to dismantle the chains and seek a higher plateau. Duane sets the tone with brooding messages for racists and bigots while taking a jab at political leadership for their insensitive rhetoric and forceful treatment of humanity.
In the lines, “How do broken taillights turn into broken hearts/that’s when you realize that it was broke from the start/we put to bed by 12, hands up high like midnight,” he begins to outline the tragedies of senseless police brutality. Duane finishes the verse with clever wordplay on lines like “they just want to pop and lock and we just want to pop and lock/ we just want to wear our locks and they just want us wearing locks.”
The beautifully sampled hook smoothens out to the sound of Duane offering a different perspective: Fly free, spread your wings. Fly free, better things. The baton is passed to Brookfield Duece who comes in swinging with metaphors: “Hard to fly free in this oil spill, they let us spread our wings with a Popeye’s deal, listen to the stress coming from my bill, all this for the birds if I’m being real.” He goes on to echo the sentiments of Champagne by examining the way citizens are harmfully treated and also makes a call to action to draw the line.
On the final at-bat, Duane picks up where Duece left off, letting it be known that “time’s up” and “we’re done apologizing” for the wrongdoings of others. He gives praise to those who also fought to lift that same burden. His line “went Bald for the Win, now they calling me James” speaks to the wisdom he’s gaining while simultaneously shining a light on James Baldwin’s contributions to activism.
Among the others to receive a mention are Huey Newton, MLK, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis. “Fly Free” embodies the roots of Hip Hop in its creative depiction (and at times displeasure) of the cards that have been dealt to our communities and the mindset it takes to overcome and arrive at liberation.