Riz Ahmed, the Emmy-nominated actor and rapper also known as Riz MC, appeared on The Tonight Show on Monday night. After running through a standard late-night interview, Fallon invited Ahmed to perform a song in light of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville. The British Pakistani performer picked “Sour Times”, from his 2011 debut album, MICroscope.
Prior to Ahmed’s a capella performance, he explained why he picked the song. “I wrote this piece ten years ago, and every year, I keep hoping it’ll become irrelevant, but it seems to become more and more relevant, sadly,” he said. “It’s my attempt to get behind the headlines and work out where all this extremism is coming from.”
Although “Sour Times” is about radical terrorists invoking Islam, Ahmed’s lyrics could just as easily apply to the Nazis in Charlottesville. “See, there’s thousands of angry young men that are lost,” he rapped. “Sidelined in the economy, a marginal cost/ They think there’s no point in putting ballots up in the box/ They got no place in this system, and no faith in its cogs.” Watch the performance above.
Ahmed is also part of the rap group Swet Shop Boys with Heems and Redinho. Recently, they performed a new version of “T5” on Colbert in response to the Muslim travel ban.