By Shannon Carlin
President Obama addressed the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, MO, yesterday (Aug. 14), urging for calm amid violence. This morning, J. Cole released a track called “Be Free,” which pays tribute to Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was shot over the weekend, and also seems to be a response to Obama’s speech.
Over a rather somber piano loop, Cole sounds like he’s on the verge of tears as he says, “All we want to do is take the chains off/All we want to do is be free,” asking, “Can you tell me why, every time I step outside my house I see my n—as die?” But makes it clear, “I’m letting you know, there ain’t no gun they make that can kill my soul.”
On Soundcloud, Cole wrote, “Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free.”
He also expressed the importance of getting the track out as soon as possible in an email to his publicist writing, “Tired of seeing black boys killed. Tired of seeing black men killed. No more being numb to it. Made this yesterday. Not gonna wait for the album to put it out. It’s now.”