“Brainwashed” by Tom MacDonald
Anyone familiar with Tom MacDonald’s artistry would instantly presume that a track called Brainwashed is likely attributing the titular characteristic onto the masses. And so it is with this song, which serves as yet another medium for the rapper to rage against the machine. Indeed McDonald’s stance of being ideologically against the system is consistently unwavering.
So at this point it isn’t so much about determining what his songs are about as it is which aspect of prevailing American/Western thought he is spazzing against specifically.
Tom addresses the issue of Vaccinations
For instance, this song marks the first time we’ve come across Tom speaking on the subject of vaccinations. And what he is saying in that regard is that the masses are very “distracted” by “vaccines and TV shows” and all of the other banter which dominates pop media. The distraction is so serious that they aren’t able to focus on more serious matters.
Idolization of Celebrities
He then proceeds to point out how society tends to idolize celebrities, like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, who come out of the closet. However, in society’s eyes, real heroes, i.e. soldiers who have died on the battlefield, are more of an afterthought.
Big Pharma, Big Oil and Hypocrisy in the World of Hip-Hop
And under the vocalist’s estimation, this reality is the result of the efforts of propagandists, i.e. those in control of the media, who need to be shut down. He also brings it to big pharma as an institution that actually propagates sickness, as such is profitable to their industry.
And “big oil” is similarly destructive, i.e. being behind the wars which are commonly fought.
Finally the vocalist concludes the verse by pointing out hypocrisy in the world of hip-hop if you will, i.e. how people like himself are deemed imitators of Blacks, yet at the same time if they cleave to their own White culture they’re then considered to be racists.
People are just so “brainwashed”!
So that’s a whole lotta substance right there to put into a single verse, rap song or not. And considering the title and all, the thesis of the paragraph would be an idea like people possessing a tendency to go with the flow of society, even though it’s a-s backwards, because they’re socialized to do so.
Or as presented in the pre-chorus, what Tom is saying is that the world is not as black and white as we tend to think, especially as far as conflicting parties are concerned. Instead the government is actually encouraging us to be at each other’s throats. Why? As McDonald puts it, if people aren’t busy “fighting with their neighbors”, then they would turn their attention on the true enemy, which just so happens to be govvie itself.
Choose Freedom, Folks
So with all of this in mind, the chorus itself is more ideological. For therein the rapper is envisioning the masses rebelling against the system, i.e. choosing “freedom” over being “brainwashed”.
These Wicked Powers that Be!
The second chapter starts off more along the lines of more directly accusing the powers that be of conspiracy against the people. For instance, the rapper alludes to one of the favorite accusations levied by conspiracy theorists, that fluoride is put into the public water supply to keep the masses docile.
He also doesn’t understand how the same institutions who claim that “they want what’s best for us” can then turn around and legally sell teenagers cigarettes, as destructive as they are. And so on and so forth.
Yes, we can proceed to delineate every point that Tom makes. But doing so would take more time and space than necessary, as the reader can just listen to Brainwashed him or herself, as this being Tom McDonald, he doesn’t really beat around the bush. But what he’s asserting ultimately boils down to, once again, is this notion of the system being intentionally hypocritical in the name of controlling the masses. And the tricks, so to speak, that they pull in that regard are definitely proving effective.
The Strategy used to keep People “Brainwashed”
In fact in the bridge of the song, Tom even goes as far as to break down the strategy they use to achieve said goal. First is to “train the people” to be consumers. This way, they keep them focused on the frivolous as opposed to the serious.
Second would be to socialize adults via the news, while the same is done to children through the school system, social media and what have you.
The next three steps entail creating as many divisions amongst the people as possible, based on class, race, religion, etc. Then to actually encourage them to “fight”, the three steps that follow include the powers that be making up some kind of beef and publicizing it “on the news every night”. They keep doing this until people start to spaz, again not against the system but versus each other.
The Conclusion of “Brainwashed”
So needless to say, Tom doesn’t think highly of the political-industrial complex. The way he sees it, they are able to maintain power amidst all of the BS that dominates modern society because they are masters at manipulation. They manipulate the public to their favor yet to our chagrin.
And all of this is more or less standard Tom McDonald fare. But at the same time, in a hip-hop industry that is dominated by superficial topics, it’s easy to understand how McDonald, who is really the only popular rapper talking about weighty topics these days, has built up a loyal fanbase.
As has been Tom MacDonald’s norm as of late, this track proceeded to top the Top 40 US Hip-Hop Tracks chart as hosted by iTunes within a day of its release. And shortly thereafter, it also proceeded to top iTunes US all-genre list in general.
Additionally within 48 hours of release the music video to “Brainwashed”, as directed by Nova Rockafeller, is averaging over 1,000,000 views per day. This is a further testament to Tom’s popularity, despite him being an independent artist.
Also as is his established norm, Tom MacDonald wrote and produced this track himself.
Tom McDonald has been professionally active since 2014. Actually his first album, LeeAnn’s Son, came out that very year.
And as alluded to earlier, whereas his conventional chart success may not be overly impressive, Tom has proven especially well-received. Actually he is even more successful than many A list rappers, as far as sites like iTunes tend to go.