Jay Z Releases First Song ‘Spiritual’ In Three Years After Multiple Police Brutality Shootings

Jay Z releases his first song “Spiritual” in three years after multiple police brutality shootings occurring throughout the U.S. this week. This is Jay Z’s first original song release since the drop of his “Magna Carter Holy Grail” album in July of 2013. Unfortunately, the reason behind his latest release is anything but celebratory. Due to the tragic events that have unfolded in the past few days, including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers.

Hip-hop mogul Jay Z released a powerful statement, much like his wife Beyoncé, and countless others, along with a new protest song called “Spiritual.”

“I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America — we should be further along. WE ARE NOT,” he wrote in the statement. “I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man…. it’s tough right now.”

The nearly four-minute song is available to listen to and download on Tidal without a subscription. The music streaming service typically requires a membership fee to listen. It features a haunting hook with some powerful language addressing the issue.

“Yeah, I am not poison, no I am not poison / Just a boy from the hood that / Got my hands in the air / In despair don’t shoot / I just wanna do good, ah.”

In a note that accompanied the release of “Spiritual,” Jay Z said he wrote the song a while back, before the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’m hurt that I knew his death wouldn’t be the last.”

“I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America — we should be further along. WE ARE NOT.”

“I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man… it’s tough right now.”

This week’s tragic killings caused the rapper to feel the need to speak up.

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Later on the track, the rapper opens up to reveal part of his past life.

“This is the real me unfold / Gangster is love, I’m thuggin’, I’m huggin’ / This is tougher than any gun that I raised / Any crack that I blazed, that was nothin’ / Peeling back the layers, uncovering / Scars that never healed, I never kept it this real.”

The release of “Spirital” comes in the aftermath of the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile outside the Twin Cities of Minnesota, two African-American men who were fatally shot by police within 24 hours of each other.

In both cases, video from the incidents have sparked questions on whether the police’s actions were justifiable. The police had originally attempted to confiscate the video footage of Alton Sterling’s death from a grocery store owner across the street. While they did unlawfully take the tape, the store owner had also had a recording of the shooting on his phone which he immediately released online.

*Warning: This video contains graphic footage that may be upsetting to some viewers.

In the case of Castile, his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds filmed harrowing Facebook Live video moments after he was shot during a traffic stop, with her young daughter crying in the backseat.

*Warning: This video contains graphic footage that may be upsetting to some viewers.

Jay Z’s emergence as an activist, from sub rosa to out in the open, has been the quiet counterpoint to his very public entrepreneurship in recent years. Jay helped Brooklyn Nets players secure “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts to wear following the police killing of Eric Garner.

Jay Z and wife, Beyoncé, reportedly contributed money to bail out arrested Baltimore and Ferguson protesters. He announced that he would funnel money to a variety of social justice groups from proceeds raised in a charity concert given by Tidal last year.

Click the video below to listen to Jay Z’s new song “Spiritual.”

[Photo Credit: Jason Miller /Stringer/Getty Images]