Shoot the Shooter

by Third Root

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While Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the 2016 and 2017 NFL seasons was a symbolic protest against systematic oppression and the over-policing of Black communities, his activism has also brought much needed attention to the actual lyrics of the national anthem. As a celebrated and seemingly untouchable anthem, the 3rd stanza of “Star-Spangled Banner” includes pro-slavery lyrics that find disturbing fulfillment in how the NFL is run and how it has handled and continues to address player-led protests against police brutality.

Never a band to shy away from socially controversial topics, Third Root uses “Shoot the Shooter” to craft their own anthem. In verse 1, Easy shouts, “we’re in an everlasting Civil War / because America won’t right its wrongs / slave owners wrote a song / every Sunday you sing along … still / so we kneel / imagine how we feel.” MexStep continues to trace the roots of the National Anthem in verse 2, but also critiques the NFL for their treatment of players as property to be bought, sold, used, and discarded: “they cover up brain damage caused by concussions / not in discussion / only concern is yards rushing.”

Backed by Adrian Quesada’s stadium rocking soundtrack, “Shoot the Shooter” is a fiery declaration that took vision to create and guts to release. It adds another powerful composition to Third Root’s growing catalog of resistance music and keeps them at the forefront as one of the most important hip-hop groups of our time.



the message / love peace justice / we sing about it, rap about it / live about it, die about it / committed / no doubt about it / but we are just the messengers / the shooters pull up next to us / barrel out the window / get down get low / don't shoot the messengers / we are just the messengers / don't shoot the messengers / shoot the shooter

projectiles fly from my laptop / the have nots pose in front of backdrops / Eastside spray painted on a bed sheet / one posing with his arms folded / one kneeling like Atlas with the globe on him / one throwing up handguns, gang signs / one silent in the back no expression / that's the shooter / the quiet ones will do ya / now the man behind the camera with his finger on the trigger / just shot the shooter / so before they send a rapper full of self-hate to a show to catch me or MexStep walking on stage like Malcolm at the Audubon / remember what we stood upon / the principles in every song / the banishment of Babylon / the reason we were even born / kings with a crown of thorns / because we are who we say we are / Charlottesville forever scarred / we’re in an everlasting civil war / because America won’t right its wrongs / slave owners wrote a song / every Sunday you sing along … still / so we kneel / imagine how we feel / they emancipate the criminal / and it's the messengers they kill


shutting down the sponsors cause we living for for a higher cause / pushing dialogue until the whole empire falls / the same empire that and murdered and slaughtered / set up shop off of generational trauma / now we’re asked to stand for a song by a slaveholder / slave trade stakeholder; gat over shoulder / pledging on the border searching trunks and car doors / or standing on the field, both wearing uniforms / bearing arms, burying arms / bear the harm; bear the wrong / still arguing over a song goes on / they cover up brain damage by concussions / not in discussion; only concern is yards rushing / they scratch evidence with payments for entertainment / like they cover up the shootings, flagrant in a statement / so we use these sounds to bring the house down and rock every field and stadium to ground


IG, FB, Twitter: @thirdrootmusic


released January 18, 2019
Written by C. Peters and M. Cervantes (ASCAP)
Produced by Adrian Quesada (ASCAP)
Additional Production by DJ Chicken George (ASCAP)
Recorded and Mixed by Adrian Quesada
at Electric Deluxe Recorders (Austin, TX)
Mastered by Adam "B-Bravo" Mori


all rights reserved



Third Root San Antonio, Texas

Third Root is a Hip-Hop project that consists of Charles Peters (Easy Lee), Marco Cervantes (Mexican StepGrandfather), and DJ Chicken George (DJCG). Peters is an accomplished poet/author/MC & educator. Cervantes is a producer/MC/Ph.D. who teaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DJCG is a world renowned DJ, musicologist, designer and Jazztronica! Peddler. ... more

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