Two days after releasing the song "Be Free" in memory of Michael Brown, J. Cole visited Ferguson, Mo., to speak with protestors and activists.
Cole was in town Sunday and made additional stops in the area, according to MTV. The rapper stopped at the QuickTrip where protests became looting late last week, and a passerby got him on camera listening to a resident's story:
Our own Caitlin Carter wrote about "Be Free" after its release on Friday.
Cole sings over somber piano loop and samples of a news report. He sounds as if he is on the verge of tears singing, "All we want to do is take the chains off/All we want to do is be free."
He later asks, "Can you tell me why, every time I step outside my house I see my n---as die?"
But makes it clear, "I'm letting you know, there ain't no gun they make that can kill my soul."
In a statement on the Dreamvillian website, Cole elaborated:
"I'm tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men," he said. "I don't give a f--- if it's by police or peers. This shit is not normal.
"There was a time in my life when I gave a f---. Every chance I got I was screaming about it. I was younger. It's so easy to try to save the world when you're in college. You got nothing but time and no responsibility. But soon life hits you. No more dorms, no more meal plan, no more refund check. Nigga need a job. Nigga got rent. Got car note. Cable bill. Girlfriend moves in and becomes wife. Baby on the way. Career advances. Instagram is poppin. Lebron leaves Miami. LIFE HITS. We become distracted. We become numb. I became numb. But not anymore. That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend.... I made a song. This is how we feel."