In the space of two short weeks, the curtain that has camouflaged the structural racism that permeates modern society has come crashing down. Suddenly, the truth is undeniable, and the struggle for equality has gone mainstream. As layers of society have been stripped back to expose more of the rotten prejudices and discrimination that lie beneath, many have looked to reflect and understand. This is a time for action and education. A period to listen to the voices of those who can articulate what it means to be Black in the 21st century. On this standalone release London trio Benin City, have done exactly that. Initially reluctant, the band decided that this is the right time to release the song.
“It was already a painful year, with the Tories, with COVID-19, with Windrush, with Boris. This year alone, our aunts have been spat on, our uncles knelt on, our elders deported, our brothers left to the mercy of COVID. George Floyd is the latest casualty in this eternal war against Black people’s right to exist, to work, to be happy, to love as we love. Trust, we’re exhausted, we’re watching the news and despairing, we’re tired, and we’re angry. We’ve been emboldened by the protests in the US and globally, even in the face of rampant police aggression. We’re a band, what we do best is music, so we’re putting this song out, ‘Hostiles’ is our attempt to put our emotions to art in these shiitake-mushroom times.”
Musically, “Hostiles” is a much darker and more oppressive sounding track. Opening with scuttling synths and clipped percussion, it quickly morphs into a claustrophobic house/post-dub track with harsh electronics and trap beats. Joined by East London rapper Eklipse for a fiery, impassioned verse, it’s an understandably angry and powerful song with each line demanding the attention.