Christian Scott & 'The Refined Players' Enlist Vic Mensa for Politically Charged 'Freedom Is a Word'

Jessica Xie


The Refined Players documented jazz artist Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah's travels throughout the United States to hand-pick his own unit of talent to form a collective in hopes of crafting a new lane in music. Scott ended up piecing a group of creatives together within the five-episode series, which includes: Joe Dyson, Weedie Braimah, Joe Harley, Elena Pinderhughes and Derrick Hodge. The genre-blending crew enlists Vic Mensa for their tuneful single, “Freedom is a Word.” 1800 Tequila and Billboard teamed up for the venture, as a follow up to 2016’s “Back to the Block" campaign series.

The track took Mensa back to his roots with the experimental Kids These Days, but the band actually split up back in 2013 before Vic moved on to solo ventures. The ensemble's “Freedom is a Word” is now available on all major streaming services (Dec. 8). Reflecting on the politically charged track, the Chicago native said, “Breaking down the barriers of traditional genres has been a rewarding experience, as it took me back to the basics of where my music started; combining hip-hop and jazz. Working and recording with such a talented and diverse set of musicians has been the experience of a lifetime and we’re thrilled to finally release “Freedom is a Word” to the world!”

The collective initially premiered the record to a limited group of fans at the secluded Preservation Hall in New Orleans back in October. Scott traveled through Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, the Bay and New Orleans in hopes to discover future stars and untapped musical talent. The Refined Players refuse to be classified to just one genre of music. 

Scott hopes the series will inspire another set of creatives to collaborate explaining that, “The release of “Freedom is a Word” is the culmination of a lot of hard work and love from everyone that contributed to the production. This series was created with love and our hope is that everyone that hears it can feel that and in turn try to build there own bridges to one another.”

Check out prior episodes of The Refined Players journey on Billboard. Stream the socially conscious “Freedom is a word” track on Spotify below.

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