The Navy Seal Who Killed Osama bin Laden loves That "Red Nation" Track MTV Banned

By:

When Esquire published their profile on the Navy Seal who killed Osama bin Laden, we learned a lot about what life is like after military service. We also learned that he listened to The Game’s “Red Nation” to get himself motivated for the mission that was made famous by Jessica Chaistain in Zero Dark Thirty and The Rock, on his Twitter feed.

Back when Game dropped the “Red Nation” video, MTV and BET banned it. Their reasoning behind the banning was that “Red Nation” supported gang culture. Pretty ironic that a song that’d supposedly influence gang violence, actually influenced a moment that was cathartic for victims of violence on 9/11. Forcing some kind of association between rap music and actual violence does a diservice to the music, but it’s an association that’s made on the regular (Chief Keef and the Chicago drill scene, anyone?). The truth is that “Red Nation,” in its lyrics, isn’t all that concerned with the Bloods.

Esquire asked Game about the Red Nation concept, he said that cast a pretty wide umbrella:

And as I got older and got a little bit away from gang life, my favorite basketball team growing up — well, of course, were the Lakers and the Clippers because I’m from L.A., but the Bulls were really my favorite team. And then football, it was the 49ers. It’s always the red team, man. And so it’s just the Red Nation, man. We bleed red. We all bleed red. That’s it.

The song is about all of the red things that Game references in his verses. Red Air Max ‘95s? That’s it. Red Ralph Lauren Polo? That’s it. Red “B” on the Red Sox fitted hat? That’s it.

Seal Team Six’s shorthand was The Red Squadron and that’s just one of those happy coincidences like Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” dropping right before the Pittsburgh Steelers got to the Superbowl. Beyond the music video that was on some “Run This Town” cult-leader stuff, there’s nothing in “Red Nation’s” lyrics that to suggest it should be banned, especially when compared to any other Game song. I rattled off five reasons why it’s like any other Game track:

  • Cool & Dre production. Game’s got an ear for beats that get you in a “I’m about to kill this workout” mood. (Or, if you’re a Navy Seal, then it’s an “I’m about to kill this person” mood). This is one of those bangers from the production duo that have been producing for him since his first album.

  • Guest feature. Lil Wayne, who just claimed that the NBA banned him from their events (proving that he’s really good at being banned from stuff for no reason), is the guest on this track. Game said his curatorial approach on Jesus Piece was influenced by The Chronic 2001. He’s always had this approach, though. With his last three albums, he’s dropped 53 tracks total (not counting the bonus material) and of those 53 tracks, 45 had featured artists. That’s 85%. So nothing new to see here.

  • Some, something, something, Dr. Dre. There are two references to Dre on this track, which comes as no surprise.

  • I’ll sum up the fourth and fifth reasons with this line from Hate It or Love It, “I told Pooh in ninety-five/ I’ll kill you if you try me for my Air Max ‘95s” because Game always brings up his Nikes (put him down for two mentions in “Red Nation”) and he’s quick to mention how he met people (“Red Nation” shouts out Suge, Puffy, and Dre).

In short, it’s a song about the things Game finds interesting. Sure, the Bloods fall under that, but that’s not his main concern. Not every reference to something red has gang-related subtext. Rap should have the freedom to be figurative. If MTV doesn’t understand this, then they hate us because of our freedom.