Rhymefest, Xzibit & Jesse Williams Say We Rise Together Or We Fall Apart (Audio)

Back in August, EPIX debuted a trailer for its docu-series America Divided, a politically driven program executive produced by Common, Norman Lear, and Shonda Rhimes. The powerful show has now inspired a corresponding body of music in the form of the J. Period-led mixtape RISE UP! Jesse Williams, Rhymefest, Aloe Blacc, Joss Stone, Black Thought, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pharoahe Monch, Posdnous (De La Soul) and more are involved and though the project does not yet have a release date, its first single has arrived, and it is powerful.

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The J. Period-produced “Miranda (Rise Up)” includes a sample of Black Thought’s opening words on The Roots’ “Doin’ It Again” and features actor and activist Jesse Williams as well as Chicago’s Rhymefest and Los Angeles’s Xzibit. Heads will likely remember Williams for his moving speech at the BET Awards last year in which he championed the magic of Black art and invention while lambasting White supremacy. As such, his appearance on “Miranda” is fitting, as he delivers a spoken introduction asking listeners what it means to “rise up.” ‘Fest and X continue asking thought-provoking questions throughout the song (“who got the power of your life? Is it the Whites or the corps that pay Congress that gave them the rights?”).

Interpolated are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., which J. Period says he included because “unity, not division, is the solution for what ails our country—a fitting message in honor of what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 88th birthday earlier this week.” For more information about RISE UP!, including updates regarding the mixtape’s release, visit J. Period’s official website.