The Talon

The Stir Cries of the Labor Force

Gialon Kasha, Guest Writer

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If there’s one thing that the rap industry lacks, it’s the presence of Asian culture. Although this has begun to change with the emergence of artists such as Higher Brothers and Rich Brian, there is still an essential part of Asian culture that is left out. Thankfully, Migos, a relatively underground rap trio composed of Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset, seeks to change that with the release of their new song, “Stir Fry.”

As with cooking, let’s start with the basics. Quavo, born Quavious Keyate Marshall, begins the song by stating that “She got a big ol’ onion booty,” introducing us to one of the key ingredients to making stir fry. It’s simple but effective, drawing us into Asian culture as a whole and prompting us to learn more about what makes the iconic dish.

But why did Quavo choose to use an onion, instead of perhaps broccoli or noodles? This is answered in the latter part of the line, where Quavo states that the booty “make the world cry (cry).” In what appears to be merely an afterthought, this simple phrase is actually Quavo’s way of attacking the nature of the sweatshops that exist in China and the exploitation of China’s labor force.

While this may seem like a stretch, further evidence proves otherwise. Quavo, in the same verse, throws out nouns such as “Designer, clothes (clothes), fashion, shows (shows).” I ask you, what do these all have in common? The correct answer is, of course, their dependence on the Chinese labor force that is regarded as expendable and powerless by corporations concerned only with maximizing profit, rather than the wellbeing of their employees. Furthermore, Quavo says the line, “In the kitchen, wrist twistin’ like it’s stir fry (whip it),” 21 times. If we obey the commands of Quavo to “whip,” or reverse, the number 21, we find ourselves with the new number 12. As it would happen, children working in the sweatshops can be as young as 12, a serious problem that Quavo hopes to spread awareness about.

If the children are our future, it is the educators who control it. The destiny of America then lies in the hands of Migos, the emissaries of progress. Too often do we buy products, giving no thought to the histories and pain that come with creating each one. “Stir Fry” is a conscious project that encourages other artists to use their platform to advocate for progressive change and awareness, planting the seeds of consciousness in the youth that make up their wide audience. “Stir Fry” is a paradigm shift that throws the common themes of the rap industry into disarray. “Stir Fry” is bold. “Stir Fry” is beautiful. “Stir Fry” is Migos.

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The Stir Cries of the Labor Force