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The ShortListen: Jay Z (no. 346)

Rapper releases 'Spiritual' in response to US shootings

The ShortListen: Jay Z (no. 346)
08 July 2016

Who? Jay Z

What’s the story? Clearly, the current events in the US, with the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, followed by this morning's killings of five officers in Dallas, have been enough to spur America's power couple of Jay Z and Beyonce into action. The latter, in particular, has never really engaged with politics until February's Formation, but a statement posted on her website last night suggests she's about to use her influence more in the future.

Meanwhile, Jay Z also issued a statement alongside a new track this morning, which is entitled Spiritual and features the emotive chorus lyric: "I am not poison, no I am not poison, just a boy from the hood that got my hands in the air in despair, don't shoot, I just wanna do good". It's the first new lead artist material from Jay since 2013's Magna Carta...Holy Grail and was recorded "a while ago", with the original plan to release it after Mike Brown's death in Ferguson - however, he's waited until now, but it's a hugely impactful piece of work with a brilliantly eerie piano sample, classic 808 drums and a vocal in which Jay Z seems close to tears towards the end. He declines to offer up solutions, but offers sympathy and empathy instead - it's powerful stuff.

For fans of: Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar

In three words: Emotionally-charged hip hop

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