How can you be an artist and not reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.” –Nina Simone

With Janelle Monae and the Wondaland crew’s rally for racial justice last Monday, her free show at the Roseland, and Glenn Waco’s epic Holocene takeover, Portland’s hip-hop scene has had a very active week. And on August 22, Alia Zin just couldn’t help herself in releasing “S.O.S. (Sorrows of Sandra)” a day early.

The powerful track demonstrates Zin’s ability to handle an emotional topic; her euphonic flow, and top-of-the-line storytelling shine while soulful vocals from Blossom (aka Keisha Chiddick) are a great complement. The lyrics offer the perspective of a targeted black female and a police officer who abuses his power.

This will be the last track that I early release before I drop my project – Wiccan EP – in October of this year,” says Zin.

Luckily, she gave WOHM some more insight into her creative process for S.O.S. Enjoy:   

Obviously a song about a fallen sister is going to require sensitivity, but what do you think is unique about the track’s sound?

I think this track is unique in particular because I really wanted to walk the listener through events that have been happening throughout the country regarding police brutality towards black men and women. The first verse is from the perspective of a woman being harassed and murdered by a crooked cop. The second verse is from the perspective of the crooked cop who uses his badge to do basically whatever the hell he wants. I wanted the listener to visualize that these women whose names are often forgotten in the shadows could easily be their mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, ect. “How many tears we gotta shed until we’ve had enough?” You could be next.

When writing the track, was there an emotion that you wanted to be most prevalent?

Definitely a handful of emotions. When listening to the track I personally go through rage, sorrow, and an uneasy feeling as I know that this will continue until something drastically changes.

What is it about Blossom that made you want to include her specifically?

First off, I love Blossom. She’s featured on numerous tracks from my EP for a number of reasons. I wanted her specifically on this track because I knew that she would be just as passionate about this track as I am. Her voice brought the extra emotion that I could not bring by myself. This storytelling song is for women by women.

Did anyone else work on the song with you and Blossom?

Glenn Waco assisted in the studio, like he usually does with me, to point out areas where we can challenge us and even go beyond our expectations.

Will you be performing S.O.S. any time soon?

Possibly. The viewers will have to come to the show I’m putting on for my 21st birthday on October 9th at Ash Street Saloon and find out for themselves.

When is your next show?

I have a few small gigs this month and next, but the next big show I will be appearing at will be October 9th at Ash Street Saloon. Make sure you get your tickets early! I guarantee this show will sell out quick with a line up of Alia Zin, Mic Capes, Blossom, and Vinnie Dewayne promoted by Cool Nutz.