Jay-Z - 'Spiritual'

Seven people have died over the course of the last week in three different locations. First, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by officers while selling CDs in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Then, Philando Castile was shot and killed in front of his bride and four-year old son by a cop over a broken headlight in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Lastly, in Dallas, Texas, during a peaceful protest in response to these events, snipers opened fire into the crowd, killing five police officers watching over the protest.

This is the state of America. It's starting to feel as if we can't go a week without another mass-shooting occurring. The line is starting to blur over what exactly our issue is; are our cops racist? Do we discriminate against blacks as if it's the normal thing to do? Do too many people have guns? All the issues keep piling up, as if we can't even come to a consensus on what the real problem is.

Some wager that nothing changes until someone important speaks. Many artists have turned to music to express their views on the matters tearing our country apart. Jay-Z is the latest musician to offer input, releasing a new single titled 'Spiritual'. The song was written a year ago, and seems to be more relevant to the Mike Brown case than this last week's events. This just goes to show, though, that as a country we have made little progress in correcting our errors, as the message of this song still holds true to today.

In a message released alongside the track, Jay-Z stated: "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 and saddened 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." The song was written a year ago, but all of it is still relevant. The pre-chorus of the song reads 'Spiritual, yes it is spiritual / No I am not poison, no I am not poison." The message simple, but the delivery sounds pleading, as if it's desperately trying to make the message heard. It seems that hasn't worked yet, as the song continues later 'Got my hands in air in despair / Don't shoot, I just want to do good."

The song has a dark complex surrounding it. The piano serves as the main instrumental melody, flowing mysteriously and all-too knowingly. The song is relatively simple in terms of instrumental, mainly focussing on the message rather than the means. It does have a dark sound to it that feels very rejected and abused, though, which takes that message another step further. The song is't anything special, beyond it's message, but that seems to be the point.

Will things change in America? How many will die by the hands of others before we say enough? Jay-Z's 'Spiritual' comments on the nature of black prejudice faced in society, seen as far back as last year with Mike Brown and as recently as just a few days ago. It's a dark place when the people supposedly protecting you are what you have to be afraid of every day. We can change when we find the love and peace in our hearts to love each other and everyone. That day just seems to keep getting farther away.

Rating: 73 / 100

I would like to offer my condolences to all of those lost and affected by the tragedies of this past week. The world is cruel and at times evil, but in the end, we will all see our way out of the darkness into a better light. Rest in peace to all of the officers and individuals who lost their lives and were injured, and our thoughts are with the families and friends to those affected, and to those who live every day fearing this is what they will have to face. Spread love, not hate.