Originally released June 3 on SoundCloud and YouTube, as protests erupted across the world over the death of George Floyd and ongoing instances of gross police brutality, $NOT's "Can You Help Me" received an official release on DSPs the day before America's supposed Independence Day. Whether a mere coincidence or intentional statement, it is difficult to ignore the impact of the woozy hip-hop meditation on individual responsibility, police brutality, activism, and the need for collective empathy as people across the nation lit off fireworks and took to beaches and lakes in celebration of the Fourth.
Produced by Marvy Ayy, who has worked alongside GOTHBOICLIQUE, Yung Bans, and Sheck Wes, "Can You Help Me" keeps $NOT's trademark laidback flow intact while weaving together a hypnotic undercurrent of frustration, hopelessness, fear, and the promise of revolution. "Look at me, look at you, tryna fight for rights" opens $NOT in triumphant fashion before moments later wondering if his collective cry is falling on deaf ears, "Screamin’ out my chest, now I’m tryna fight / Can anybody hear me? I don't think so."
"Can You Help Me" is the aching question at the core of $NOT's latest outing. It is one that posits that the ongoing revolution occurring in the streets is one beyond political affiliation; it is the very real fight for human life. "We gon’ come together for the people that have died / Ain’t no choosin’ sides / why we still alive? / Right-wing, left-wing / But we still on the same bird, tryna fuckin’ fly," states $NOT matter-of-factly.
As samples from the protests float in and out of focus, it is a reminder of the powerful intersection of music and activism. Right now, we all find ourselves in the midst of a revolution where human lives hang in the balance, and $NOT's "Can You Help Me" is the latest crystallization of that fact. Whether it be through music, art, taking to the streets, education, photography, or signing petitions, make your voice heard.
Proceeds from "Can You Help Me" will benefit non-profit Engage Miami in an effort to promote voting within the millennial community.
Listen to "Can You Help Me" below: