The beginning of “Salutations” by Mr. Joe Cool ft. Davey Denairo, features a snippet from the Malcolm X biopic directed by Spike Lee. The introduction of Malcolm X before his last speech, followed by the infamous “Get your hands out of my pocket!” and gun shots.
The Video, directed by Austin Horton and Vanessa Edwards, spotlights two of the most loved and and hated (depending on one’s political and religious views) men in America, Malcolm X and Mumia Abu Jamal. With love and hate both causing the same high levels of emotional output, seeing the two prolific men portrayed by young burgeoning rappers, Mr. Joe Cool and Davey Denairo, both Baked Life members, puts into perspective the impact of Malcolm and Mumia thats spans nations and generations.
Horton and Edwards do a great job of capturing the most iconic faces of Malcolm X, who is played by Mr. Joe Cool. One example of this is the scene featuring “Malcolm in the window with the weapon”. Aside from a similar complexion, Cool, who looks nothing like X, manages to embody the prepared-for-the-worse resolve of the legendary freedom fighter.
Davey Denairo makes his appropriately somber appearance as Mumia Abu Jamal. Marked by heavy bags under his eyes, Denairo raps over his own beat accompanied by “a making the best out of a terrible situation” attitude.
The production of Denairo, featuring high octave chimes and boom baps, gives the song a ethereal yet classic feel. The lyricism is on a brag rap kick back kind of tip; “Caution to the wind. Cola with the ‘Hen’. Expensive chronic in the spliff. Mami I’m the shit”, spits Cool. Denairo gives the listener the same vibe with lines like “Chess not checkers, I’m the King in this section”. Ultimately the song is mad chill and an easy listen. A perfect match for the thoughtful direction of Horton and Edwards.