In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed took the stage for an impromptu, spoken-word performance of a piece he wrote ten years ago. In response to the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville and the United States President Donald Trump’s weak response to the events, the Swet Shop Boys rapper performed Sour Times. Before he launched into a passionate performance, he confessed to Fallon: “Every year, I keep hoping that it will become irrelevant, but it seems to become more and more relevant sadly.”
His lyrics rang true as he rapped on a darkened stage about the dangers of extremism:
“In these sour times, please allow me to vouch for mine
Bitter taste in my mouth, spit it out with a rhyme
Ay yo I’m losing my religion to tomorrow’s headlines”
He does not mince words and blames the rise of extremist terrorism on poverty and lack of education. Changing the original lyrics from 10 years ago, he added:
“The truth is, terrorism ain’t what you think it is,
There ain’t no supervillain planning these attacks from some base
The truth is so much scarier and harder to face
See, there’s thousands of angry young men that are lost
Sidelined in the economy, a marginal cost
They think there’s no point in putting ballots up in the box
They got no place in the system and no faith in its cause...
The way that Trump talks, gives a lost boy a cause.”
Sour Times was originally written in 2007 and first appeared on the 2012 album Microscope by Riz MC.