Joe Budden might be getting a lot of attention for his many shots at Drake, but that's not all he's working on these days. On Tuesday, he premieres his new song and video "Freedom (Freestyle)," inspired by the ongoing struggle for black civil rights in America. Over the beat from Beyoncé's LEMONADE track of the same name, Budden goes in about violence against black people and unequal civil rights. He samples Jesse Williams' now-famous speech from the 2016 BET Awards, cutting it in between his own verses on systemic racism and racial politics. "I was told there was once a world where slaves communicated with each other via music, and tho I wasn't present for that, the Hip-Hop I fell in love with always encouraged me to do the same (Thank you Public Enemy)," Budden told Complex.
"Let's take a moment to stand and observe the hell we live in/No matter how hot a fire, it never melts the system," begins Budden. "Land of the free, the home of the brave/Can't let us be, we've grown from slaves/It's there if you want to read/I mean it's all in the page." He also name checks a number of high-profile deaths at the hands of police, including Phillando Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice.
Underneath the track, the video contains a wide mashup of footage, including old-school videos of the 1960s Civil Rights movement cut together with recent videos of police brutality and protests. Together, they paint a powerful picture of the state of America for people of color, a point that Budden drives home with his politically charged lyrics and defiant attitude.
"Let this act as an unfortunate reminder that times change and they don't. #BlackLivesMatter #YallLivesMatter #OurLivesMatter ... I'm afraid to wonder what happens when we as a people decide to stop saying it. Some deem us threatening now by sheer design. We are not," Budden said. "We are loving, passionate, cultured and proud, even during unrest. However, with every life viciously and maliciously taken by costumed evil, we grow more and more afraid. What will occur when too many of us are afraid?” #IfYouDontValueMyLifeEYEWill #GodHelpUsAll #TheMissionIsGreat."
You can watch Joe Budden's powerful video for "Freedom" above.