Blackalicious has released a powerful new video for “On Fire Tonight,” the second single from the duo’s latest album, Imani Vol. 1. Featuring startling images of news footage involving the police brutality in Ferguson, Baltimore, Staten Island, and North Charleston, the video provides the perfect platform to open up a discussion about the current climate of American culture.

Emcee Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel have always been staunch proponents for change. Directed by James Connelly, the video for “On Fire Tonight” (featuring singer Myron) condemns police brutality in a way that ignites a fire within. Gift of Gab believes it’s time to start talking about these things.

“We wanted the video to be a celebration of blackness, as well as a celebration of raising awareness,” Gift of Gab tells The Source from his hotel in Atlanta. “We thought about this idea awhile ago. In general, things need to change. People are afraid to talk about shit, but at this point in evolution as people, we need to talk about all of this so it can become better.

“There is so much being ignored,” he continues. “There’s so much shit going on. It’s 2016 and we have to have dialogue. The crooked ass police need to be put in jails themselves. People are losing their lives.”

After all of the controversy surrounding Beyoncé’s “Formation” video and her racially charged Superbowl appearance, this video couldn’t be more well-timed.

“People are acting like everything is better,” he says. “Sure, it’s different, but it’s not equality for everybody, particularly for people of color in this country. All of the conscious people need to get together. Whether your’e black, white or Asian, you can’t be afraid to have this dialogue.

“We can’t act like it’s not happening now,” he adds. “Until we deal with it and address it, we can’t come to any solution, and shit is going to stay fucked up.”

While he doesn’t claim to be a Chuck D or Professor Griff, he is still informed enough to recognize the time has arrived to spark the conversation no matter what the cost. African-Americans and Latinos are still being oppressed and it can’t get better until we, as a people, unite to make it better.

The video might ruffle a few feathers, however. There is blatant nudity and violence that may not resonate with the general public, but at least it’s tastefully executed. 

“The nudity just kind of came about,” he says. “We wanted to show beautiful Black women and how powerful they are. It’s shown in a graceful way.” 

Blackalicious Tour Dates:

Feb. 18 – Terminal West (Atlanta, GA)
Feb. 19 – Exit/In (Nashville, TN)
Feb. 20 – Revelry Room (Chattanooga, TN)
Feb. 21 – Music Farm Charleston (Charleston, SC)
Feb. 24 – B.B. Kings Blues Club (New York, NY)
Feb. 25 – Brighton Music Hall (Allston, MA)
Feb. 26 – Howard Theatre (Washington, DC)
Feb. 27 – Ziggy’s by the Sea (Wilmington, NC)
Feb. 28 – Shaka’s (Virginia Beach, VA)
Mar. 1 – World Cafe Live (Wimington, DE)