For this first listen, the context of this song is huge. This song was released August 14th 2014, right after the tragic murder of Michael Brow in Missouri. Brown was an unarmed black man, who was gunned down by police on August 9th, 2014. This song was solely made for the tragic event that happened, it is to spread awareness of this wrongful killing. This song also does justice on other wrongful killings of African-Americans, it serves as justice for all of them.

This song’s genre is also huge in its story. This song’s genre is soul music, meaning the song is coming straight from the heart. This is important to the song’s meaning because when J.Cole is singing this song, it is completely authentic, which makes the listener feel more compassionate to what message the song is trying to come across. Along with this song’s genre, it includes various audio recordings of witness’ describing the fatal shooting. The first one comes at 1:50 into the song. This witness describes how the police officer repeatedly told Brown, who was unarmed, that he would shoot him, which indicates that the officer was purposely trying to be violent and aggressive. These audios fitting into the genre of the song help indicate the message of what the song is trying to send be-free

This song offers tremendous meaning through the performance of J Cole, as well as the lyrics. I could highlight every lyric, but one key lyric that is emphasized throughout the song means a whole lot more than then the others. “All we want to do is be free”. This lyric speaks volume. J.Cole is an African-American, which indicates that he is speaking for all people of that race. He wants them to finally to be free, after years of discrimination and slavery, he thought it would be over, but it is not. This killing of Mike Brown indicates that nobody is free yet. To add, as far as the lyric goes, it speaks high value, but would be nothing without the vocal performance. J.Cole’s voice is often strained throughout the song, which is on purpose in order for the listener to get a feel for how much this means towards J.Cole and African-Americans. Strained lyrics often indicate heart, that the performer means what he is singing about. Another aspect that is important towards this song is the writer. J.Cole wrote this song, as well as performed it, which makes it even more authentic.

Despite this song being nearly 10 years old, it seems as if American has made no improvements towards this issue of police brutality towards blacks. Just 3 years ago we saw George Floyd get murdered by a police officer. Police brutality happens to all races, but for African-Americans it happens all to often. Nearly 24.1% of police brutality is African-Americans. Something has to change, and J.Cole is fighting for that in his song “Be Free”.,in%20the%20U.S.%20each%20year.