By The Time I Get to Arizona 2010 by Toki Wright

Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Toki Wright from Rhymesayers has made a timely and topical remake of the Public Enemy classic, referring to the recent sad events in Arizona re: immigration, making stop and search possible even if you ‘look’ illegal (you know how I hate those ‘sus’ stop and searches, be it photographers, muslims, latinos, whatever). As all good hiphop should be it’s right on the button, political, funky and also paying due to a classic track.

As Toki said:

Yesterday at approximately 1:30pm I was having a conversation with my community organizer/poet friend Emmanuel Ortiz about the Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) that recently was signed into law in the state of Arizona. The bill says that “all immigrants must carry documentation verifying their immigration status. It also stipulates that police officers have the authority to ask to see the information from any individual that is deemed “suspicious” or when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person may not be legally in the country.” This new bill signed into law in a nutshell legalizes racial profiling. If you “look like an immigrant” you can get hauled off to jail.

Emmanuel says, “somebody needs to redo By The Time I Get To Arizona” by Public Enemy. Arizona is that same state the didn’t want to recognize Martin Luther King Day when Chuck D originally wrote the song. For years I wanted to write a “By The Time I Get To Minnesota” version but never got around to it. I started doing more research on the new bill and was outraged….

All day I’ve been saying “hell…I’m going to get in trouble for this one.” But you know what? The truth needs to be told. Biting your tongue only makes you hungry and your mouth hurt. Hope you enjoy it. Pass it along.

In Solidarity,

Toki Wright

Yo heard the man – pass it along – so here it is to download: By The Time I Get to Arizona 2010 by Toki Wright

MP3 via 2DopeBoyz & Impose magazine who write about the whole thing far better than I could from here in li’l ol blighty, or you can stream from SFR below.

And like others I’m just waiting for the ‘What Would Chuck D Do?’ Tshirts and merch to pop up after this…;-) Hey I’d buy one

Oh and if you haven’t gone and downloaded the excellent free track ‘Best of Times’ from Sage Francis with Yann Tiersen (yes, THAT Yann Tiersen) then GO DO IT NOW.

Conveniently religious, on Easter Sunday and on Christmas,
the television went from being our baby-sitter to a mistress,
technology made it easy for us to stay in touch while keeping our distance.
Til we just stayed distant and never touched, now all we do is text to much…

…steamed open a couple of envelopes like I was in private detective mode,
if you snoop around long enough for something in particular you’re guaranteed to find it,
for better or worse that’s how I learned it’s best to just keep some things private.

It’s amazing, and I know it’s an emo thing to say but pretty much describes a lot of my childhood (apart from a funeral and girlfriend thing, of course – but predictably similar remote-crushes-from-afar played heavily on my late teens…didn’t have a speech impediment but I needed glasses, made up voices and had asthma and spent a lot of time off school – it does resonant even with some of the details different). It’s from his forthcoming album LI(F)E.

Relatio Clash


  1. Just to clarify, Toki Wright is not on Strange Famous Records. His album was released on Rhymesayers. But he’s the homie and the message is important so we featured it on the front page of Strange Famous. Thank you for helping spread the word!

    • May 3

      Ok thanks…I’l change that – and no problem – it’s a good message and a great track.

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