Updated: Jun 14, 2021
I CAN’T SPEAK TO THE OLDER GENERATION, but for a bunch of new rappers coming out of Australia, social commentary is a huge topic the industry's been focused on. I talked about it with JK-47 a few weeks back, but Ziggy Ramo is another dope, indigenous artist on the come up whose music is deeply rooted in civil rights. While I could dive into his whole catalog, I want to focus specifically on his latest drop, Little Things feat. Paul Kelly, a remake of Kelly’s legendary protest song, From Little Things Big Things Grow.
Ziggy Ramo’s version isn’t just beautifully done, it’s everything that music can, and should, be. It’s a catchy song, that’s easy to listen to, and it leaves a lasting impression. Performed as a soft spoken word, Ramo’s delivery calmly demands respect, using specific inflections to heighten the importance of specific lines. It’s real easy to get lost in his style, making it the quickest 7 minute song I’ve heard.
With that said, the real reason why the song sticks out is 100% the result of Ramo’s lyrics and message. Taking an activist role in his music has been a key trait of Ramo's career, but Little Things takes it in a whole different direction. This song might be the one that transforms him from being an artist who spreads awareness, to an actual leader of the BLM and indigenous movements. His lyrics and tone throughout the song have generations worth of pain woven into them. Having a level approach keeps his emotion for pouring over, allowing him the opportunity to teach his lesson and introduce a new perspective.
Ramo goes full professor mode on Little Things, teaching the world about Australia’s true history. While much of recorded history is told from the perspective of the colonizers (Britain in this case), Ramo stands up for his people and shares their side of the story. The first three verses of the song focus on the island’s early history and how England was “legally” allowed to stake claim to Australia. The second half switches from past to present, focusing on the modern history and perspectives of the indigenous. Lyrically, the song doesn’t try anything new and it’s not one that can be viewed as innovative. But it’s global relevance is significant enough that it could make this a generation-defining song. No bullshit.
Whether we want to recognize it or not, colonization’s presence is systematically felt globally today. Nearly all of the southern hemisphere's indigenous world has had issues dealing with colonization, many regions finding this to be a problem still to this day. For that reason alone, Little Things can be considered an extremely relevant song. Personally though, I think this song’s relevance stretches much further, its message easily applicable to the global BLM movement. Honestly, any marginalized or oppressed group will be able to take something away from Ramo’s lyrics. The third verse specifically stuck out to me:
"Is that your law? Cause that’s invasion; That’s the destruction of 500 nations; Genocide of entire populations; Which planted the seeds for the Stolen Generation; And grew into my people’s mass incarceration; Now we pass trauma through many generations; The Lord can’t discover what already existed; For 200 years my people have resisted"
In America, this song may never blow up, but it’s eerie how well it relates to our own history.
The history of Native Americans, while grossly underrepresented in public school curriculum, is quite similar to the history of Australia’s Indigenous groups. Currently, there are no notable Native American artists or celebrities in mainstream American culture. I can only hope that songs like this will find their way overseas so they may speak to the US’s 7 million Natives. Maybe even inspire the youth to start their own movement, whether it be socially or simply musically. I’m a firm believer that there’s a number of ethnic groups America needs to make reparations to, but unfortunately, it feels like Native American tribes are lost in the mix. My intentions are not to take away from the other incredibly important movements our country is going through. Instead, I hope to use Ramo’s words as a reminder and inspiration to do what I can to help those who this land originally belonged to. As of 2019, the highest poverty rate in the US belongs to Native Americans… it’s time to do something, and do something a little more than pushing groups onto reservations. He may not be from the US, but Ziggy Ramo’s Little Things is the song we need, really the song the world needs, to kick us all in the ass.
TO GET INVOLVED, HERE ARE A FEW NATIVE AMERICAN NON-PROFITS TO LOOK INTO