"Spiritual"—released exclusively to Jay's music-streaming service, Tidal, just before midnight Thursday—finds the Brooklyn-born rapper dissecting institutionalized racism in law enforcement, police brutality against people of color, and the resulting "transgenerational trauma" that leaves him worried about his daughter's and his younger male relatives' futures.
According to a statement, Jay began writing the song—his first as a lead artist since 2013 album Magna Carta… Holy Grail, Rolling Stone notes—in 2014 when unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was gunned down by white cop Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. He nearly released the track but changed his mind knowing that "his death wouldn't be the last."
"I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America—we should be further along. WE ARE NOT," he continues. "Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality."
Jay Z's response to police violence against black communities comes on the heels of a public statement released by Beyoncé, his spouse and the mother of daughter Blue Ivy Carter, on Thursday.
"We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities," Beyoncé wrote. "It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they 'stop killing us…' We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes."
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.