The music world has reacted swiftly and decisively in the wake of the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile with an outpouring of concern, and more pointedly, new tracks about rage, injustice and fear. In addition to songs from Jay Z and his sister-in-law, Solange Knowles, Geto Boys member Scarface hooked up with Swizz Beatz for the protest song “Sad News.”
The Swizz/Scarface collabo opens with the lines, “A little boy got shot down today/ I hope his family is okay/ Is it our race that pay/ I hope the whole world be okay,” sending loving vibes to the family of the unnamed boy (who could be Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old black child killed by police in 2014). While the gentle chorus pleads for peace and comfort, Scarface’s verse has a more pointed message, “For all the homies shot down by white boys and not one convicted/ Of wrongdoing, is it justice we pursuing/ Freedom from death, beat ’em to death, f— ’em/ I will awake the sleeping giants, with one last word.”
Earlier in his verse, Scarface gets more explicit, wondering, “Shot down for the dope and the dollar sign/ I often site and wonder, ‘Could this world be mine?’/ Nah, I’d be lying/ If I said I ain’t heard ’em when they told me I was just a n—a/ Nothing but a burden to society,” later calling for a ban on all the “bad judges” who aren’t giving justice. In an Instagram post announcing the song, Swizz wrote “This must stop!!!! @brothermob and I have something to say today on our new song #SadNews.”
Also on Thursday, Jay Z released a protest song about putting his hands up and fearing for his life on the streets, “spiritual,” and his sister-in-law, Solange, posted a short clip of her cover of Syreeta‘s 1972 anthem “Black Maybe” on Thursday, explaining that the song has been comfort for her weary heart, adding, “but what is comfort when the images of slain black bodies left to bleed are sketched into your being… over and over again.” At her show in Thursday in Glasgow, Beyonce asked the audience to take a moment of silence for the victims of police brutality.
Sterling and Castile were shot and killed by cops within a 24-hour period. Video shows Sterling being killed by cops on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La., while Castile was shot at a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on Wednesday. Their deaths were followed on Thursday night by the sniper killings of 5 police officers in Dallas, who were gunned down during an anti-police protest, marking the deadliest mass incident for U.S. law enforcement since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.