A Christian-based band in the UK has partnered with "rap royalty" Snoop Dogg on a new charity single that seeks to tackle homeless prejudice.
Ooberfuse is hoping the song 'Hard Times' could even make its way to being this year's Christmas No. 1 in the UK.
The lyrics, which are written from the perspective of someone experiencing homelessness, speak about at people’s attitudes towards those who find themselves sleeping rough on Britain’s streets. The prejudice and misunderstanding of the issue were highlighted last month, when the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, described homelessness as a 'lifestyle choice' for some.
The Hard Times video on YouTube stars homeless film director David Fussell. He slept in doorways and on park benches for four years, until someone gave him a small pop-up tent, which he lived in for a further six years. He’s now in accommodation in Cornwall, and is studying for a degree in filmmaking at Falmouth college.
When David recorded the film for the song, the involvement of a ‘famous name’ was still unconfirmed. He gave Premier his reaction to finding out that the global rap star was on board: “They did mention Snoop Dogg's name. But it's not always easy getting hold of people, so I was absolutely knocked out when I heard that everything has come together as they hoped. The video looked great, and Snoop Dogg was part of the deal, which was astonishing!”
Ooberfuse say they are strongly inspired by their Christian faith. The band has previously worked with Farm St Jesuit Church in highlighting the plight of refugees, and discussed with the parish priest, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ about other social justice issues such as homelessness.
They attended the weekly meals service provided by at the church, which is where they met Fussell, who was using the twice-weekly homeless meals service.
The band shares the same producer as Snoop Dogg, which is partly how they were able to get the rap star on board.
Cherrie Anderson of London band Ooberfuse says: “Having Snoop Dogg as a feature in this track is amazing. Technology today means that we were able to record our parts in Abbey Road whilst Snoop Dogg, our producer and musicians recorded their parts in the US. Our song Hard Times is about weathering tough times and shining a light on actual lived experiences of homelessness.”
Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ, Parish Priest and Chair of Justice & Peace in the Diocese of Westminster, is the brainchild behind the project. He said: "It’s been wonderful to work together with Cherrie, Hal and our friend David. David is a wonderful talented person whose progress represents a really good news story from our services amid the growing tragedy on our streets with the largest numbers of rough sleepers ever recorded, 12% up on last year, and now with a new punishing policy on those just granted asylum to find accommodation within seven days. It’s hoped that this song not just raises awareness of the situation but spurs us to much needed action.
Proceeds from the song will benefit volunteer groups from different Catholic churches in Central London, working with homelessness.