Tribe Mafia: “We Matter”

With only one month of reflection and healing between the racially-targeted attack in Buffalo and the second official observance of June 19th as a Federal Holiday, Juneteenth came amidst an especially complicated sociopolitical context in 2022. On a day meant to celebrate the power and resilience of Black Americans, the troubling juxtaposition forced us to once again reexamine the seemingly-institutionalized norm of anti-Black violence in our country. That scrutiny also gave Black Texans (the same demographic who first commemorated Juneteenth) a national spotlight to chime in from our deeply divided state, our microcosm of the nation.

Among those who contributed to the discourse? Austin duo Tribe Mafia. Chinasa Broxton and Carlos Moore formed Tribe Mafia as high school friends back in 2010 and they’ve built up a chiefdom of acclaim and support over the dozen years since. Tribe Mafia refined their subdued R&B/Latin-trap formulas on the 2017 EP For You before going even harder for 2018’s The Come Up. And although TM went straight up southern trap on their 2020 eight-track Tee Pee Gang, since opening for Akon to a São Paõlo crowd of 60,000 the previous year, they’ve also incorporated dancehall elements so well that the Island Boys sound like kindergarten castaways in comparison. But going back to Juneteenth…Tribe Mafia seized the moment of Kairos masterfully and left little room for misinterpretation in the process. With a haunting refrain that repeats the bare bones title, crushing Caribbean riddims, and completely candid lyrics, “We Matter” is Tribe Mafia’s boldest statement to date. If you’ve got the stomach for it, we cautiously recommend checking out the corresponding music video. “We Matter” weaves archival footage of unrest with poignant visual recreations for a chilling document that’s less a piece of commentary and more of a tortured last ditch cry for compassion.

We Matter

Tribe Mafia

Tribe Mafia: “We Matter”

Jack Anderson

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