In a powerful new video for “Sueño Americano,” Oakland based hip hop duo Los Rakas offer a critique on the typical American dream and the prison industrial complex. Gone are the trappings of success we usually find in music videos. The fancy cars, clothes, money and women have all been stripped away. Instead, we are shown the final chapter of a life without hope and the cold efficiency of a lethal injection.
The video starts with a man in chains, marching in time to the sounds of a drum line. Surrounded by angry or complacent guards, the man is alone. The pounding of the drums sync up with the ticking of the clock, marking off the last minutes of the young man’s life. As count down the seconds, we hear his confession.
Hailing originally from Panama, both Raka Rich and Raka Dun have an understanding of the situation awaiting the new American immigrants, whose story is seldom told. After a long and arduous journey, the narrator finds himself with nothing, and no prospects for for a future:
“Life in America is not what I thought – And even less how they think it is… The circumstance limits me – I can’t go to college – Because I don’t have my green card – I’m without a job and a negative mind”
The only thing left is to resort to crime. We are show the results of such a situation. Clearly, this is no homage to the gangster lifestyle. Instead of a payoff, this tale ends in tragedy.
We can’t wait to see what else the group has in store for us. The album El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo is out now via iTunes.