Today (August 14), J. Cole released "Be Free," a selection that pays tribute to Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Missouri, teen who was reportedly shot and killed by police Saturday (August 9).
"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," Cole says in a statement on his Soundcloud page.
On the song, J. Cole says, "Can you tell me why / Every time I step outside / I see my niggas die / I'm lettin' you know / That there ain't no gun they make that can kill my soul."
J. Cole's commentary regarding the matter follows messages delivered by Killer Mike, Big Boi and Nelly, among others, about the shooting of Michael Brown.
Yesterday (August 14), President Barack Obama addressed the matter and the aftermath of the shooting with the following statement:
"When something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities,” he said, according to TIME. “There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights."
Listen to J. Cole's "Be Free" here.
(August 15, 2014)
UPDATE: Following the release of "Be Free," J. Cole has visited Ferguson, Missouri. During his visit, the rapper spoke with protestors and Captain Ron Johnson, the highway patrol official in charge of some of the response efforts.
Cole also went to the street where Michael Brown was reportedly shot and killed.
Images and a video of J. Cole's visit are below.
J. Cole is out here supporting the protesters pic.twitter.com/t3hW2owzA2
— Sean Stout (@TERROREYEStv) August 17, 2014
— HIP HOP FACTS (@OnlyHipHopFacts) August 18, 2014
J.Cole has gotta be the REALEST rapper alive, Here's him in Ferguson showing respect to the slain spot of Mike Brown. pic.twitter.com/QRwkMn6mEf
— (@diagnosed) August 18, 2014