Everything isn’t black and white. Life is messy, so what I wanted to do when I was writing “Decisions” is I wanted to capture the idea that in many environments, people want to boil everything down to being black and white. The cops are good, the citizens are bad or vice versa. Citizens are good, cops are bad. In my experience, what I’ve seen is it’s not really a good or bad thing, it’s just a decision thing. So we all have the decision whether we’re gonna choose to see things in a good light or in a bad light. If we’re going to choose to do things that are life-giving or life-taking.
Many times, we’re all guilty and then often at the same time, we’re all not guilty. It’s all perception. So someone may watch a video like “Decisions” and say,”Ah man, the main character was the bad guy.” Someone may say, “Oh the cops are the bad guy.” Nah, it’s not really like that. It’s all about those split-second decisions that we make. From the beginning of the song, if the kids wouldn’t have jumped the main character, then the main character wouldn’t have wanted revenge. If the main character would’ve listened to his brother, then they wouldn’t have encountered the cops. Then if the cops would’ve been more level-headed, no one would have died in that scenario, so it’s all about decisions and it’s all about what choices are we gonna make?
There’s tons of people that helped inform this story. I wanted everyone to be able to relate to at least some aspect of it. Trayvon Martin. Dre Murray inspired his own character. For the police officers, it’s kind of sad that there’s so many names we could fill for that situation. My grandfather also plays a role in the development of the characters because when I was around 12 years old, I saw him get beat up by like 12 cops. Then even my own personal experiences, I remember I was driving through a small town and a cop pulls me over for seemingly no reason. Now, some police officers are in such crazy environments and they see such carnage at times that in their mind, they have to always stay on guard. That’s kind of what I wanted to capture, every side of the story.
In the middle of all of the commotion, Dre tells the main character as he’s fuming with anger “This is not who you are.” That was a really, really intentional line there because I think oftentimes when we see a situation like this, we try to paint people in whatever light. The kid isn’t a bad kid, he just had got hurt and he’s doing what most of us feel, anyone would want to do if they got embarrassed is they wanna go get retribution for that. So it’s almost like Dre was trying to talk him back to earth and say hey man, that’s not who you are. Dude, you’re better than this.
The "Decisions" video isn’t about police officer bashing. This isn’t about oh let’s paint the hood in whatever light. What this is about is this everyday life and everyday stories for all of us. Again, we can all see ourselves in this story in one shape, form or fashion. Even if it’s just the people that are onlooking in the crowd with me. Let’s take this art and run with it and use it to empower people to make better and life-giving decisions. That’s the end goal.
Listen to my interview with Kick The Concrete's Victoria Hernandez below for more behind the story of "Decisions."
Purchase "Decisions" on iTunes and read about the story behind my other single "It Is What It Is" here.