Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri have depended on social media to bypass the gatekeepers of mass media organizations and turn what in another era might have been a local news story into an event that’s unfolding in front of a global audience. As musicians have begun composing reactions to the situation, it’s fitting that they’re broadcasting them through the same platforms.
The latest is Lauryn Hill, who last night tweeted a link to a recording she posted on her SoundCloud page. “Black Rage” isn’t a new song—Hill’s been performing it live for years—but its lyrics about life on the receiving end of institutionalized racism feel incredibly timely.
According a short description, the song’s “an old sketch” that Hill recorded in her living room, and the roughness around the edges, as well as what sound like manipulated field recordings, only add to its immediacy. In the past Hill’s been compared—by herself as well as others—to Nina Simone, and by flipping “My Favorite Things” into a sardonic, unflinching indictment of systematic oppression she more than lives up to it.