Reggae singer and songwriter Shavor Richards, known as Shavarr, has displayed with his previous single “Kibba Yuh Mouth” that he has no reservations about highlighting inequalities and speaking out about social issues through his music. In his newest release, “Born and Raised”, Shavarr reflects on the problems facing his community in Kingston, Jamaica.
Set to a chilling acoustic melody, the song tackles issues such as violence, poverty, and skin bleaching. Yet, Shavarr doesn’t shy away from calling out the systems that are to blame for these issues. The lines “Say it say it say it loud and clear/ the ghetto is a prison the ghetto is a jail/ The system is set up to keep us as a slave” depicts in a fiery and blunt manner the pain and helplessness that pervades communities throughout Kingston. “Born and Raised” can be viewed as not simply artistic expression, but as a condemnation for the oppressive systems in place across the world that cause the injustices that Shavarr discusses in his song to take place.
During the bridge, Shavarr lays out the particularly troubling scenario of an underaged girl sleeping with men in order to make ends meet. This disturbing situation is emotionally jarring and leads to the poignant and sobering question: “Who’s gonna pay the consequence?”, at the end of the verse. This final question results in the grim conclusion that the song had been leading up to: Helplessness and powerlessness will continue to stifle oppressed communities until a new and fair system is put into place.
After this stark realization, the drums and all other background music cuts out and the song ends with a thoughtful and melancholy melody on the acoustic guitar. Shavarr allows a moment of contemplation to reflect on the somber realities discussed in the track. This sudden softness makes the lines in the song feel even more powerful in contrast to the bleak beauty of the acoustic guitar.
The combination of realistic lyrics and the haunting acoustic guitar in Shavarr’s new single “Born and Raised”’ makes for an honest and intriguing track.