“I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men,” rapper J. Cole said in a statement on the Dreamvillain website with the release of his surprise new song “Be Free.” “I don’t give a fuck if it’s by police or peers. This shit is not normal.”
“Be Free” is Cole’s response to the police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting has sparked widespread discussion over police authority and racial profiling as well as protests around the country, including rallies in Detroit, Nashville, New York and Chicago, among other places. Cole recorded the piano ballad, with lyrics like “All we wanna do is break the chains off/ All we wanna do is be free” – and samples of a news report about the police shooting – after identifying with Brown’ story.
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