If you’ve never heard of Tom MacDonald, let me give you a sense of what to expect. This heavily tattooed and pierced 32-year-old Canadian rapper and producer has been making music since 2014. But his most recent single, “Fake Woke” is making some serious waves.
As of this writing, “Fake Woke” sits at number one on the YouTube Charts. And when you compare it to what mainstream media is saying, he’s extremely controversial. But his song asks serious questions and makes strong points. He wonders, Why am I the controversial one when I’m just telling the truth?
MacDonald gets right to the point: “I think it’s crazy I’m the one who they labeled as controversial/And Cardi B is the role model for 12-year-old girls/There’s rappers pushing Xanax at the top of the Billboard/But if I mention race in a song, I’m scared I’ll get killed for it.” And there’s more where that came from (including an angry middle finger in the song’s video).
His point? Mainstream media is filled with influencers and information that glorifies violence, drugs, sex and promiscuity (“Has a daughter but his favorite artist says he slays hoes”). And it’s also filled with the technology that delivers these messages (“They gave us tiny screens, we think we free ‘cause we don’t see the cage”).
MacDonald’s not afraid to name names, either. He calls out the fact that Eminem used to “gay bash and murder his mom” in his lyrics. But these days, Eminem’s tolerance for fans who don’t share his political views is nonexistent: “And now he doesn’t want fans if they voted for Trump.”
MacDonald bluntly criticizes “woke” thinking (“Cancel culture runs the world now, the planet went crazy/Label everything we say as homophobic or racist/If you’re white, then you’re privileged and guilty by association”). And he challenges thinkers to see that silencing truth and choosing feelings over facts is real (“Censorship’s an issue ‘cause they choose what they erase/There’s a difference between hate speech and speech that you hate”).
Being woke encompasses numerous racial and justice issues that are typically embraced by social progressives. MacDonald argues that many of those—especially in the mainstream media—promoting woke thinking are hypocrites, especially as it concerns silencing anyone who doesn’t agree with woke thinking and values.
“Fake Woke” is a powerful song. But it’s not an easy one to listen to. MacDonald’s lyrics talk about racism, murder, drugs, sex, violence and evil, hitting those subjects hard without glorifying them. MacDonald knows not everyone’s going to agree with him.
But that’s kind of the point: being free to disagree with each other instead of trying to cancel the speech and ideas of someone who thinks and believes differently.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).