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Song You Need: A pan-genre Houston collective unites in defiance of white supremacy

Free Radicals premiere the stop-motion video for “Pokke Koebês,” a track from April’s White Power Outage Volume 2 featuring South African artist Jitsvinger, with The FADER.

May 17, 2022
Song You Need: A pan-genre Houston collective unites in defiance of white supremacy Photo by THECoreMedia.  

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.

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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.

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"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.

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Song You Need: A pan-genre Houston collective unites in defiance of white supremacy