Hip hop began as a form of expressionism, storytelling and advocacy. When news of George Zimmerman's acquittal broke, it was no shock that some of the genre's biggest stars voiced their opinions.
The most notable reaction came from Young Jeezy, who dropped a tribute song to Trayvon Martin titled "It's a Cold World" shortly after the trial's verdict. "I'mma do it for Trayvon," the Atlanta rapper says. The song was accompanied with a terse message on Facebook that claimed Jeezy was "in no way shape, form, or fashion ... trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events." The track is especially significant given Jeezy's career as a "trap rapper," one who's artistry includes boasts of gun-toting.
Russell Simmons focused more on a peaceful and civil approach to the news, while Jill Scott used the verdict to encourage future political participation and vigilance.
The responses from other rappers were far more blunt and visibly frustrated. Public Enemy's Chuck D juxtaposed the trial to Michael Vick's sentencing over a dogfighting conviction, while Nicki Minaj lamented the American legal system using tax dollars to fund the case.
Lupe Fiasco turned heads with a series of tweets regarding the decision, including commentary on black-on-black violence, misguided emotion, and the trial's reliance on reasonable doubt. The always-vocal Chicago emcee tweeted throughout the day and retweeted responders.
It was reassuring to see the hip hop community so active in the case, although the collective response was far from consistent. Jeezy's song was not the first tribute to Martin, though it was perhaps the biggest.