Jay Z joined wife Beyoncé in adding his voice to the collective outrage over the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. On Friday, the rapper released a compelling protest song called "Spiritual," a reflection on the epidemic of senseless police brutality against Black men. The track is out on the artist's streaming service Tidal, where non-subscribers can listen for free. "I am not poison, no I am not poison" he raps in the chorus. "Just a boy from the hood that got my hands in the air, in despair / Don’t shoot, I just wanna do good."
"Spiritual" is Jay Z's first new song in three years, following 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail. He announced the track on Twitter, alongside a sobering statement explaining that he almost released the song back in 2014 after the killing of Michael Brown. "I made this song a while ago, I never got to finish it," he wrote. "Punch [the head of music label Top Dawg Entertainment] told me I should drop it when Mike Brown died, sadly I told him, 'this issue will always be relevant.'"
He continued, "I'm saddened and disappointed in THIS America... I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man.... it's tough right now." Jay Z also shared a powerful Frederick Douglass quote. You can read his full statement below and listen to the song here.