As summer winds down, Jamaican star Lila Iké delivers a chilling call-to-action to protect the nation’s children on her new single, Batty Rider Shorts. The three-minute track tackles child sex trafficking and pedophilia and was inspired by true events in her Mandeville hometown. A poignant, powerful storyteller, Iké’s rousing voice flows over the bass-heavy production urging restraint and responsibility from those charged with nurturing the youths.
“I think it’s very important to speak about these things. The history of our music was a medium for bringing information to the people, especially reggae music. We can have fun, listen to party and dance music and songs about love, but we still have real issues that need to be addressed too,” the Solitude singer said in a release.
Like her Indiggnation labelmate Protoje did on his song Self Defense earlier this month (and on the #MeToo citing Camera Show before that), Iké uses her influence to call out male predators. “When the little girl a walk, leave her make she pass/ Every day you and yuh dutty big man friend a talk ‘bout her batty rider shorts, how unnu wah fi take it off / Ah lurk inna the dark, ah dem yah ting yah get me cross,” she sings in the pre-chorus.
Though she’s easily one of Jamaica’s most lyrical talents, Lila admitted to taking four years to complete the song, no doubt due to her proximity to the persons involved.
“An innocent child (age 10 or so) who I would often sit and speak with about life and give words of encouragement (even whilst I was a child my self ) eventually was taken advantage of by someone who should have been looking out for her”, Iké wrote in her explanatory Instagram caption.
She continued, “I was moved to tears on my drive back from the country as I thought about how her light became infiltrated by the dark energies that are hovering over children everyday, all over the world.” Iké added that she wished to see a greater sense of responsibility from her nation’s people, looking out for one another, “but MOST IMPORTANTLY OUR CHILDREN.”
The song is Iké’s first since she released her much acclaimed 2020 debut EP, The ExPerience. The I Spy songbird has since been nominated for Best Reggae Act at the 2020 MOBO Awards, performed on NPR Tiny Desk At Home, raking in over 2 million+ views and appeared on ELLE’s popular Song Association challenge. In October she kicks off her European tour, performing songs from her EP live for the first time in a few select cities from Amsterdam to Zurich.
The official music video for Batty Rider Shorts, directed by Dezignr Studios (Fresh and Clean, Numbers Don’t Lie, Honda Remix) premieres next week.