As the LEMONADE HBO special drew to a close with Beyoncé standing in front of a crowd of gorgeous black women belting out another new song, my ears perked. When the arrival of the Just Blaze instrumental crashed into the short film’s production my head nodded. When I realized the faint voice I heard in the transition to the final song was that of Kendrick Lamar, I knew whatever played was a problem, amazing and I needed to get my TIDAL app open immediately to experience it in full. That song turned out to be “Freedom.” The Just-produced Bey and K Dot tag team effort is flat out amazing and has the legs to end 2016 as its most important song.
On surface level, the simple composition of the song is enough to musically lust over. We knew that at some point Beyoncé and Kendrick would link. It was inevitable. The messages from To Pimp a Butterfly, the dominant messages from Bey during the Super Bowl and within “Formation” and all of the support to black movements made it a match made in heaven. Throw in the reemergence of Just Blaze and the shit is to die for. If we talking teams, this is the musical magnum opus right now. Two stars at the top of their game and on top of the game with empowerment messages laid on the brash and sensational production of one of the best to ever do it in history. And most importantly, it sounds amazing. We could close this article right there.
But when we dig deeper, analyze the words, the power, the statements, you realize how great the song is. It’s an anthem. It doesn’t just sound good, it means good, it’s about aiding a movement and providing a voice and when you unite two of the top forces in music right now on the most anticipated project of the year you must listen.
Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move
Freedom, cut me loose!
Singin’, freedom! Freedom! Where are you?
Cause I need freedom too!
I break chains all by myself
Won’t let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I’ma keep running
Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves
The buildup through Beyonce’s verses to her boisterous cries of “Freedom” in the hook are reminiscent of sound bites from news stories and social activism. The blistering flow of Kendrick using a countdown from 10 to show the different forms of oppression that face his people before transitioning mid 16 into a rally. The closing of the anthem hammering home the necessity to make life work with the lemons handed. Pure perfection.
Making “Freedom” even more powerful was the LEMONADE special itself. Dominate images of black women serving as pillars of strength, talented in their own right, charismatic and important. Of those women were the mothers of the Black Lives Matter movement cementing the significance and necessity of the song and remaining. Kudos to the process, creativity and all the contributing pieces to this music stand out. It was needed, extremely welcomed and set a standard for the rest of the year.