The topic of gentrification is one that isn’t always talked about in music. However, in recent years, many musicians are bringing light to the ills the practice can bring to already established neighborhoods of Black and brown people. It was broached by Golden Browne when the group confronted it on their 2021 cut “Erasure” and now New Orleans band Tank And The Bangas get candid about it with their new track “There Goes The Neighborhood.”
Like “Black Folk,” the song is a spoken-word piece with the band providing musical accompaniment as vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball waxes poetic about the phenomenon. “I watch the neighborhood / And I know they are coming / They are friendly, kind, and sweet / They give sugar when not asked for sugar,” she says. “Arms long and skinny, some taking / From giving nothing but tea / Waving at me from across the street / Like a flag planted on my land.”
Tank waxes on, bringing up important topics like displacement and the way businesses bend over backward to invest in an area only once more affluent, paler faces make a home in a neighborhood that was once yours.
“‘There Goes The Neighborhood’ is a poetic and clear-cut way we look at the ripping of historical neighborhoods of Black and Brown people of New Orleans and around the world,” Tank said in a press release. “We hope to shed light not only on the conditions they endure because they are there, but the changes that happen when they leave.”
The song’s music video is to the point, showing the group sitting and walking among the neighborhoods and streets of their native New Orleans. The approach is simple, yet it’s effective in expressing just how negatively gentrification can affect communities that had been established for decades.
In addition to the release of “There Goes The Neighborhood,” Tank And The Bangas also stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to deliver a performance of “Black Folk” in honor of Black Music Month. Catch that performance below after the stream of “There Goes The Neighborhood” and its music video.