Mary J. Blige made headlines earlier this month when she sang Bruce Springsteen‘s “American Skin (41 Shots)” directly to Hillary Clinton during an interview. Now she has released a proper recording, accompanied by Kendrick Lamar, whose To Pimp a Butterfly addressed many of the same issues as this song. It ain’t no secret, to quote the track, why Blige is covering it right now. Though Springsteen wrote it 15 years ago, the topic of unwarranted police shootings is more prevalent in the age of Black Lives Matter than ever. At the time, he earned boos from policemen for the song, and it will be interesting to see if Blige and Lamar’s version inspires the same outrage.
Blige sings Springsteen’s words beautifully, while Lamar adds a politically-charged original verse that touches on Colin Kaepernick’s protests as well as adding a repeated “41 shots” backing vocal. It’s a powerful production that sounds little like Springsteen’s original but carries the same message. Listen below. (via 808 Jams)