REPLAYS – What It Feels Like by Nipsey Hussle & Jay Z

Soundtracks for theatrical releases are known to home some of the most popular songs in music history. Everyone turns the albums to revisit tracks either found in or made for the film. This weekend, we saw the release of Judas & The Black Messiah, a biographical film about the betrayal of Black Panther Party chairman, Fred Hampton by the FBI. The soundtrack to the film released this Friday included a song entitled What it Feels Like including verses from Jay-Z and the late, Nipsey Hussle.

Two things come to mind at first glance in advance of listening to the single. The first being that this the first of new music from Jay Z we’ve heard in a year since his appearance on Jay Electronica’s 2020 album. Second, I was intrigued to learn about the history of how this monumental collaboration came to fruition. Producer Mike & Keys first brought the song to Nipsey Hussle in 2015 and sought out Jay Z for a verse for Nipsey’s Victory Lap album. The track would go on to be shelved until last year when producer Hit Boy was curating the soundtrack for the film.

There comes a time where songs become integral in the events in the world and its these original songs that become memorable. When Jay Z recorded a verse for the track, he was sure to include lyrics about different topics going on in the world such as systematic racism, pandemic, etc. An interesting parallel can also be made between the film’s main character and the rapper as Jay Z was born on December 4, 1969, the same day as Fred Hampton’s assassination.

The celebratory track is refreshing to hear from the posthumous rapper. Jay Z draws comparison to both Nipsey Hussle and Fred Hampton both for being revolutionary in their ideologies and respective movements. In times where open dialogue surrounding different political issues have come to the forefront, the fact the discussion is happening is evident we are witnessing our own revolution in this lifetime. The Marathon Continues. Rest In Peace Nipsey Hussle.

What It Feels Like ( inspired by the song of the same name)

This is what it feels like
You can’t even see a pigment
You may think you have an idea
But I can’t imagine it’s a figment
To equate the hardships we’ve faced
Is so damn ignorant
That I count more people we lost under the damn cement
6 feet under, 6 feet apart
6 degrees of separation
to this day we’re experiencing new forms of reparation
My one task is extend this proclamation
That I will never take my foot off the gas
That’s my dedication
The hustle continues
Ink never dries up
Keep applying the pressure
But in the end I’m a rise up
Pinocchios got their noses in my business
Count your lies up
I’ll have you at a loss for words
And tell you to wise up

I do this here for free
I do this writing right here for my community
I’m not doing this for you
I’m doing this here for me
I’m doing this every kid in the world that look like me
I say you can be whatever in the world
Don’t let nobody stop you
People might balloon you up
Just don’t let em pop you
Just remember one thing in life
God got you

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