Letter to the King
by Game

Songfacts®:

  • This duet with Nas is a tribute to the late civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King.
  • This samples "Memoirs of the Traveler" by Jaggerz from their 1970 album We Went to Different Schools Together.
  • The American rapper and producer Hi-Tek provided the beat for this track. The Game came up with the idea for this song on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He recalled to MTV News instructing Tek: "'Take me back to '65. Martin Luther King is getting dressed in the morning. Coretta Scott King is dusting his shoulders off. He's about to go out. The dude waiting in the car, I'm him. I don't know if I'm his homie; I'm just gonna drive him to where he's going, and I'm gonna talk to him.' Then he came with [the track]. When we heard that beat, we went nuts. I immediately wrote three verses."
  • Game has a jab at the civil rights activist Jesse Jackson both on this track and on "My Life." The rapper was particularly upset at Jackson's whispered comment caught on videotape that he wanted to "cut (Barack Obama's) n--ts off." He explained: "Jesse Jackson, all the things he's done great for our people, you commend him for it. But the way he spoke about Obama, Jesse Jackson was wrong for what he did. I wanted to expose a little of his dark side. Don't forget he had a baby out of wedlock awhile back. Everybody is imperfect. But when you do something like that, disrespect a situation that's affecting us all on an everyday basis, people like me with voices gotta step in."

    Game was also critical of Jackson's alleged absence when Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968. He explained: "Jesse Jackson is always in pictures with Martin Luther King, and he's always talking about Martin Luther King in his speeches. On the day King got shot, he wasn't there. When I say, 'How come you couldn't catch your man's body when it dropped?' it's because you couldn't if you wanted to. You was somewhere else. You claimed to be his man. Where were you that day?"

    Some reports state that Jackson was present on the balcony with King when he was shot. Others claim that Jackson was a floor below and rushed up when he heard the shots. Jackson's claims that he had held the dying civil rights leader and had his shirt stained by King's blood have been questioned by many and caused much hurt for those close to King.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap!, this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.