“New National Anthem” by T.I. ft. Skylar Grey is a lyrical portrayal “addressing police brutality, systemic racism, gun culture and a laundry list of other social problems currently plaguing the U.S.” (Times) and brought into the spotlight due to the turmoil that was taking place in Ferguson, Missouri in late 2014. The discord mentioned was about a week-long period of protests, riots, and looting in the response to the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson.
Jeff Benjamin wrote a review of the song stating, "And while Tip never specifically mentions Michael Brown or Ferguson, he shares his thoughts on timely racism and injustice issues, mentioning everyone from Trayvon Martin ("He didn't have to die, did he?") to Martin Luther King Jr. throughout his verses" (Fuse), to help tie in the lyrics to what was currently happening in society. T.I. himself also explained, "['New National Anthem'] spoke to me in a way where I said, man, I should probably put this out," T.I. said about the Skylar Grey-assisted track, which he said he wrote over a year ago around the time the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin verdict was announced. "People need to hear this now" (XXL), to help wrap up the reasons the song was released and released an open letter expressing his thoughts on current events.
"Look at us….America has created a monster. The result of ignoring & mishandling an already fragile spirited, recently enslaved, presently oppressed race/generation of people. Look at us. We’re the monster that now refuses to be dismissed, overlooked,& ignored. We were brought to this place,unaware of our own cultures,religion,&traditions therefore,we created our own. Now look at us. For years we’ve been crying out for the nation to address the substandard education systems & disparaging treatment of our citizens in communities across America. Our people have had an increasing lack of opportunities for generations. There have been homes broken,lives shattered,and futures lost on your watch….unanswered. Look at us. How long can u expect a nation/race/generation of people to be blatantly disrespected? Spoken to and treated with arrogant tones of insignificance. Our fathers,uncles,brothers& role models were killed& Imprisoned more often than educated. Now look at us. Our friends,& relatives Murdered and cast aside without thought,as though your human life is more valuable than ours. How long can that go on without consequence? Now Look at us. How long can u continue to pass the buck & make excuses of why u can’t do today what should have been done yeste-year? Although I DO NOT support the negative responses & actions of my people in light of dis tragedy….I WILL NOT condone your lack of effort to show any urgency to improve the treatment of our people, nor the living conditions in our communities. Your refusal to address these life altering issues makes events such as these seem inevitable. Although I too am at fault to a degree & I admit that I may not have all da answers… I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is…Going about things the same way,expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!”