With the country in the throes of economic despair, it seems few artists have stepped forward to be the bards of the burgeoning protest movement. One of those few contributions is Everlast, whose latest video for "I Get By" addresses America's issues head-on. He may not seem like a Joan Baez, but he has recorded an entire album that takes on topics that many musicians nowadays are eager to ignore.
The House of Pain alum, also known as Erik Schrody, is a rapper known for combining blues and country with hip-hop, three genres of music that have historically served well as political soapboxes. In his "I Get By" video, Everlast and his ski-masked crew grafitti-bomb the city in posters, cleverly altered street signs, and even some gallery-worthy installation pieces. Two of the most impressive pieces in the video are a hydraulic shopping cart and a coin-operated horse ride modified to look like an oil pump. The video as a whole is a fitting reflection of modern protest, and of a climate in which street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey are some of the most celebrated politcal voices for the youth generation.
It's also fitting that the video and album are being released now in the midst of the Occupy Wall Street protests. In an interview Everlast said, "Every time I see cats buck up in Europe and have a mass protest, even riots, I'm like, at least their young people are motivated to try something. I've been waiting for the Americans."
While it might be ironic that a successful artist would sing about the worries of the working class, Everlast is at least taking advantage of his position to spread the word. More and more artists, from Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum to even Katy Perry, have been gravitating to the Occupy Wall Street gatherings in New York to show their support, but Everlast is making his message clear.
Watch Everlast's new video for "I Get By" below. His latest album Songs Of The Ungrateful Living is out now.
Everlast photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic