“Time catches up with kingdoms and crushes them, gets its teeth into doctrines and rends them; time reveals the foundations on which any kingdom rests and eats at those foundations, and it destroys doctrines by proving them to be untrue.” I kept thinking back to that quote by James Baldwin a lot over the course of the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020. I started to pay attention to it and tried to understand exactly what he was saying. It only took looking outside or turning on the news to realize that what he was describing was happening all around me. I was watching the kingdom fall. I saw that we were becoming a part of history. We were witnessing a pivotal moment where things would never be the same again. There was no going back. Multiple generations, almost in their entirety, globally, had finally had enough and were willing to stand up to those in power and tell them that time had caught up to them. Time had proven their doctrines to be untrue.
It brought out the masses to chant in unison, “We won’t back down. We Won’t Run.”
That is the essential message that Pacific coast alternative rock/reggae group Cydeways had in their heads when they teamed up with Hawaiian reggae legends, Pepper, for the potent new single “We Won’t Run”. The new smash reggae jam boasts all of the socially-relevant motifs of this past year, coming out just before the band’s first full-length album later this year and produced by the team over at LAW Records. “The chorus says it all!” Asserts Cydeways founder and frontman Dustin Parks. “It’s a message to the negative forces that we won’t back down and become complacent with everything that’s going on in our society right now. Despite the mass unemployment, the racism, the fear and all this crazy shit going on… we won’t become that. Cydeways has never really talked about anything like this before, so I think the song is also a sign of how we are growing as a band.”
For me, the music itself for “We Won’t Run” is nothing more than a simple reggae beat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a badass, new-age hit that will instantly get you rocking your head. However, I think the simplicity of the melody was done on purpose, shifting your focus directly to the lyrics and the message being spoken. It’s there to accompany the vocals, not to distract from them. Which is perfect, because, hands down, the lyrics are the star of the show for this song.
Dropping callbacks to the rampant police brutality, corruption of the former presidential administration, monumental poverty and the loss of civil discourse, the most recognizable is the now-infamous slogan, “I Can’t Breathe”.
“We Won’t Run” combines the tragedy of Eric Garner, George Floyd and so many others with the wildfires of 2020 in California and Australia, destroying the air quality and making it difficult for countless individuals to breathe. While being able to touch on so many topical issues with the help of Uncle Kaleo Wassman, Cydeways keeps bringing it back to this lyric in particular, “Over a million screaming that they’re finally done // But, we ain’t gonna run.” Droves of people are completely and totally over the way these current systems are running — they’re done. But, that in no way means that we are going to run and hide; it means that we will no longer be complacent with how these kingdoms are run. We will eat at the foundations until they crumble. Time demands change and these Cali boys are going above and beyond to get the wheels of change turning, speaking so much truth in an overall killer tune. “We Won’t Run” featuring Pepper is sure to be stuck on your playlist for a while and with the new album on its way, Cydeways is here to stay.