Following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men who were shot and killed in their respective cities of Baton Rouge, La. and St. Paul, Minn., Jay Z has released a new song, titled “Spiritual” that addresses police brutality.
In a note released alongside the song on TIDAL to both members and non-subscribers, Jay Z notes that the song was written previously.
Hov references Brown on the track as well, rapping the line, “Got My Hands in the air, in despair/Don’t shoot, I just wanna do good” — alluding to the phrase, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” associated with Brown’s fatal shooting by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014.
This is the first track the rapper has released as a solo artist since his 2013 album, Magna Carta Holy Grail.