I don’t mind suspending my disbelief to enjoy a good song, but when I hear underground up-and-comers rhapsodize about their stratospheric stacks and million-dollar jewelry… well, let’s just say I find it a little hard to swallow. True to his name, Sneaker Music emcee John Public sidesteps the issue by gearing his music to the common man and woman. As he proves on new album leak Freedom People, he has no qualms about admitting that he’s in pretty much the same boat as the rest of us: “Middle class-raised, this year made minimum wage, 11 grand in debt…” Backed by DJay Cas’ head-nodding soul samples, the Jersey City native expresses solidarity with Americans struggling to get by, and encourages all who will listen to give the political finger-pointing a rest and start working together to build a better future. Wise words, to be sure. We can only hope that hip-hop-loving Americans will take his message to heart. For more insightful rhymes and old school-informed boardwork, check out the artist’s John Said: NahMean street album, released March 3 and available for free download here.