Nocando’s Most Important Work to Date Is An Explosive Ride Through Racism (Audio)

Los Angeles, California’s Nocando has been releasing solo albums since 2010’s Jimmy the Lock, and the work he’s put in for the city’s local music circuit extends much further. But it’s now, in 2016, that the MC has released the most significant song of his career in the form of “El Camino,” an emotive diatribe arising out of loving one’s home while simultaneously abhorring what is being allowed to happen therein.

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Equal parts self-loathing monologue, love song to his city, and political protest record, the track features lyrics that are unflinchingly direct. “I always laugh when Rodney King said ‘can’t we all just get along?’/ I don’t wanna kick it, I don’t want to protest and kick it/I see more change when the city’s in flames, you dig it?,” he raps in a series of bars inspired by the riots which engulfed Los Angeles in the early 1990s and which arose out of painfully similar circumstances in which the country is currently embroiled.

But “El Camino” is about more than the experience of racism in Los Angeles from the perspective of a lifelong resident. As Nocando tells Ambrosia for Heads, “this song is about hopelessness. About the feeling before someone throws up their hands and says ‘I give up. Fuck it all.'” And, despite his reference of Black Lives Matter (“Black Lives Matter is just a popular phrase/’All lives matter’ is what I’m not gonna say/’Blue lives matter’ is if the cop was a race/but no lives matter, shoot a cop in the face”), he says “El Camino” isn’t “another Black Lives Matter song. It’s really an anti-hope song.”

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Produced by Jack Jr., “El Camino” also references O.J. Simpson, Macklemore’s “White Privilege II,” mass incarceration, and more. He broke down the multi-faceted sources of inspiration behind the record in a recent interview with L.A. Weekly, which Heads can check out here.

For longtime fans, the explosive stance he takes on the song may come as a surprise, but some things can’t be ignored. As he explains, “I’m not even a political dude, but I know we are in serious times.”