Jay-Z released his first new music in three years late Thursday night with the anti-police brutality anthem “Spiritual,” just after the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, Texas Thursday night and the police-involved shooting deaths of two African-American men earlier in the week.
The 46-year-old rapper released the track on his streaming service Tidal Thursday night.
“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,” he raps over the nearly four-minute-long track.
The song is the first new music Jay-Z has released since 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.
“I made this song awhile ago, I never got to finish it,” the rapper said in a statement accompanying the song’s release. “Punch (TDE) told me I should drop it when Mike Brown died, sadly I told him, ‘this issue will always be relevant.’ 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,” he added. “I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man…. it’s tough right now.”
The rapper ended his statement with a quote from abolitionist Frederick Douglass: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
The song’s release comes in response to the police-involved shooting deaths of two African-American men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, earlier this week.
Earlier Thursday, Jay-Z’s wife Beyoncé released a statement begging law enforcement officers to “stop killing” black people.
“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities,” the Lemonade singer wrote in a letter posted to her website. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.’”
The singer also held a moment of silence for victims of police brutality during a concert in Glasgow, Scotland Thursday night.
In February, Jay-Z announced that Tidal would donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other related social justice organizations.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum