One of the notable moments during JAY Z’s extraordinary B-Sides concert(s) was a freestyle that addressed both the police-related deaths of African Americans and his company TIDAL — including its competitors (Apple, Spotify) and detractors. Thanks to a new behind the scenes video (released through TIDAL but available for stream above), we get to hear that freestyle again through rehearsal and live performance. Cameos include Jay Electronica, Vic Mensa, Young Jeezy and Beyoncé.
You can rap along while watching using the lyrics below.
I don’t need no middlemen to talk to my ni**as / I understand if you don’t understand I figure my ni**a / That’s where we differ / I take what’s mine you accept what they give you / I get you / I don’t take no checks / I take my respect / Pharrell even told me ‘Go with the best bet’ / Jimmy Iovine offered the safety net / Google came around with a crazy check / I feel like YouTube is the culp-a-rit /. Ni**as pay you a tenth of what you supposed to get / You know ni**a die for equal pay, right? You know what I’m worth / I ain’t your slave right / You know I ain’t shucking and jivin’ and high fivin’ / You know this ain’t back in the days right / But I can’t tell by the way they kill Freddie Gray right / Shot down / Mike Brown / Like the way they did Tray right? / Y’all gone’ keep choking’ ni**as / We gon’ turn style / I ain’t your token ni**a / You know I came in this game independent right / TIDAL / My own label / same difference / Oh ni**as is skeptical of they own shit / You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich / Phil Knight worth trillions you still bought those kicks / Spotify’s nine billion and they ain’t say shit / ‘Lucyyy you got some splainin’ to do’ / The only one they hatin’ on look the same as you / That’s cool / I know they tryin’ to bamboozle you / Spending billions on meryin’ to confusin’ you / I had to tell myself ‘Hov, get used to it’ / It’s politics as usual.