A$AP Ferg & Chuck D Envision a New World & It’s Beautiful (Audio)

Every generation has artists it can claim as having been the messengers of truth, of enlightenment, of political engagement. For some, it was Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. For others it was Public Enemy and X-Clan. And for others still it’s Tef Poe and Immortal Technique, Kendrick Lamar and Run the Jewels.

Today’s generation of music fans has no more or better selection of artists to choose from than previous generations, but the proliferation of young MCs making a concerted effort to comment on the current social and political upheavals happening today is no less awe-inspiring. From Jamila Woods’ “blk Grl Soldier” to Mackelmore’s “White Privilege II,” the issue of race has dominated much of music, both indie and mainstream. Enter: A$AP Ferg. Just days after releasing his second LP Always Strive and Prosper (ASAP) and on the heels of his “FLEM” video, he releases “Beautiful People,” an ode to the disenfranchised, the racially persecuted, and the forlorn. Featuring the mighty Chuck D and his own mother, Mama Ferg, the song is part poem, part spoken word, part song, and fully mesmerizing. Structured like an open letter to anyone willing to listen, it plays like a plea. It’s a plea for us to wake up, to love ourselves, to love one another, and to live life in a whole new way. That all may be much more difficult than it sounds, but the beauty in the song is that it is not a critique. It is an invitation.

Chuck D spares no time in delivering a cogent message laced with political and social undertones, saying “if our lives don’t matter, no lives matter. Thus, the life of our future dying is unacceptable.” Ferg welcomes us into what his vision for a brighter tomorrow holds, telling us it’s important to “teach your kids how to eat and teach your kids how to farm.” After a minute-long build-up of the spoken-word-like verses from the Public Enemy icon and his young collaborator, the track bursts into its second phase, composed of vibrant, technicolor orchestral sounds. But not before Ferg drops what can only be described as the thoughts of a Zen revolutionary: “Live life in harmony, put love in your arms/Forgive to receive the blessing of peace and calm/This the product of Malcolm X and Farrakhan, Martin Luther and Marvin Gaye all through a ghetto song.” And the visionary qualities don’t end there.

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