Set in .Paak’s own lockdown space in Los Angeles, the late-night performance was shot in black and white, a fitting aesthetic for the track’s jazzy undertones. The R&B/funk artist coolly sang from behind his drum kit, and beside him on a piano was a sports jersey that said “FLOYD 20”, a reference to the Black unarmed man who was killed by Minneapolis police officers over a counterfeit $20 bill.
Meanwhile, a large framed photo behind .Paak featured what appeared to be an ecstatic Miller, smiling ear to ear. He and the late rapper were both good friends and collaborators, and .Paak has delivered multiple tributes to Miller since tragic his death in 2018.
On “Lockdown”, .Paak addresses police brutality and the uprising that has taken place since Floyd’s murder in May. “Look out for the secret agents, they be planted in the crowd/ Said, “It’s civil unrest,” but you sleep so sound/ Like you don’t hear the screams when we catchin’ beatdowns,” sings .Paak, who has been seeing attending marches in LA.
The Grammy winner also speaks on the real reason for looting: “Oh, won’t you tell me ’bout the lootin’ what’s that really all about?/ ‘Cause they throw away black lives like paper towels.” Perhaps it’s mere coincidence, but his performance comes less than 24 hours after police in Chicago shot a young black man. The incident caused a huge ripple effect, including mass looting of the city’s affluent Magnificent Mile neighborhood and the entire shutdown of the downtown area.
In addition to the performance, .Paak sat down for a brief interview with Corden, where they talked about COVID-19 testing and his experience sitting in the audience of The Price is Right. Watch both clips below.
For more .Paak, check out his new “Lockdown” remix featuring Noname, J.I.D., and Jay Rock.