"Let's take a moment to stand and observe the hell we live in," Joe Budden raps to open his new remix of Beyoncé's "Freedom." And for the next four minutes, he does just that, with rhymes inspired by last week's killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, set to a backdrop of other acts of police brutality and systemic racism that preceded them.
In addition to his own pointed lyrics — including recounting the emotions of sitting behind Eric Garner's mother in church — Joe reinforces his message with samples from Jesse Williams's powerful BET Awards speech and Castile's fiancée Diamond Reynolds's livestream of the moments following his shooting.
In the YouTube description for the song, he explained some of his inspiration:
I was told there was once a world where slaves communicated with each other via music, and tho I wasn't present for that, the HipHop I fell in love with always encouraged me to do the same (Thank you Public Enemy).... Let this act as an unfortunate reminder that times change and they don't. #BlackLivesMatter #YallLivesMatter #OurLivesMatter ... I'm afraid to wonder what happens when we as a ppl decide to stop saying it. Some deem us threatening now by sheer design. We are not. We are loving, passionate, cultured and proud, even during unrest. However, with every life viciously and maliciously taken by costumed evil, we grow more and more afraid. What will occur when too many of us are afraid? #IfYouDontValueMyLifeEYEWill #GodHelpUsAll #TheMissionIsGreat