Free Radicals rarely practice subtlety. Founded nearly a quarter century ago, the Houston collective have released nine albums' worth of brash, unfiltered musical mayhem, encapsulating the essence of their city's superlative diversity with a sound that fuses funk, jazz, ska, reggae, klezmer, hip-hop, and countless other styles the world across. In April, they released White Power Outage, Volume 2, a 25-track follow-up to a 2020 record released in defiance of the racist hate that continues to fester at the core of western ideology. And today, they're premiering the video for early-album cut "Pokke Koebês" with The FADER.
The song's foundation rests on an infectious lick from South African guest guitarist Kara Snethlage, who connected the band with Jitsvinger — a Cape Town poet, educator, and musical multi-hyphenate. Rapping in Afrikaaps (a local dialect of Afrikaans) over the aforementioned groove and reinforced by a veritable army of percussion, bass, and brass, Jits delivers a searing condemnation of Dutch and British imperialism in his homeland.
He spits his lyrics venomously, attacking the colonists in their own bastardized tongue: "A Cul-de-sac socially ruled by caucasian vultures / The recipe for white supremacy traps the mind / With the concept that we exist as lesser beings / My complex language was butchered / My world of knowledge stuffed in safes under lock and key," an early barrage translates.
"To say he nailed the topic would be an understatement," Free Radicals write. "Holy crap! We were blown away."
In the track's new chaotic stop-motion visuals, directed by Jits himself, cartoon ships float across papier-mâché waves, and crudely drawn cartoons interact with old sketches of enslaved Africans, a disturbing juxtaposition to say the least. Watch the “Pokke Koebês" video below.