Rapper J. Cole released a new track with a somber tone today, sharing his reactions to the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
"That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend," he wrote in a blog post. "I'm tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a f--k if it’s by police or peers. This s--t is not normal."
Cole's sentiment comes through on his new tribute to Brown, titled "Be Free." He sounds like he's on the verge of tears as he sings over a simple, grave piano loop. "And now I'm in denial," the song begins. "And it don't take no X-ray to see through my smile." Later in the track, he repeats the following lyrics: "All we wanna do is break the chains off / All we wanna do is be free."
It's one of Cole's rawest, most emotional recordings to date. Listen here: