Black Thought, Posdnuos & Pharoahe Monch Say It’s Time To Rise For Freedom (Audio)

In an increasingly complicated time in the world, The Roots’ Black Thought, De La Soul’s Posdnuos, and Pharoahe Monch stand up for oppressed people with a truly standout, topical collaboration. Orchestrated and produced by J. Period, “Rise Up!” is as grabbing a collaboration as any in some time. In the spirit of Hip Hop For Respect and “Stop The Violence,” this cut unifies voices for a common goal of change, and reminding those fighting on the front lines that their efforts and actions count.

J. Period cuts up Thought’s lyric “risin’ up outta the flames like a phoenix,” which Monch also repeats in his own verse. His lead-off lyrics tout: “Oppression gets repeated / Unless we slide up outta the chains, and delete it / America is like black and white dice tumblin’ / Any day you can bite the dust, another one / So while our culture is crumblin’ / I will enunciate every line clearly / So you can hear what the fuck I’m sayin’, no mumblin’.” Next up, Plug 1 kicks some thoughtful bars, including, “We rep the rhythm / With a bit of skepticism / Leavin’ us jaded / And traded, a little bit of compassion for compression / Ready to squeeze the life out of anybody who steps to us with aggression / The media runs with it, calling us aggressive / When it’s just reaction to a system that’s oppressive / Raised fists became offensive / But when both arms and open palms are up, police shoot bullets that rain extensive-ly.” Black Thought keeps the bar high in his closing verse. His parting lyrics shine: “We can rise to a brilliance, rise to a balance / Rise to a way to coexist with nonviolence / Rise to a volume that’s impossible to silence / And in the morning when I rise, I rise to the challenge.” All three MCs hit the song with their A-game.

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These are some of the most potent words from three decorated veteran MCs. With a unified message, these voices demand to be heard.

“These are turbulent times in America, with protests and marches spilling out into the streets in record numbers, and activism on the rise. ‘Rise Up’ was born out of that same energy,” J. Period tells Rolling Stone, calling for “justice: unity, equality, diversity, empathy.”

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This collabo’ (which premiered at Rolling Stone) also features Joss Stone vocals, as she closes out the track.