NEW YORK — After watching the ghastly video of George Floyd dying as a police officer pressed a knee on his neck, Grammy-nominated R&B singer Trey Songz couldn’t sleep. He felt a ache in his intestine so heavy it introduced him right down to his dwelling studio, the place he started recording a brand new music.

Although Songz mentioned the melody and lyrics got here to him rapidly, his voice cracked and he could not sing.

“As I attempted to get (the lyrics) out, I couldn’t get them out,” the 35-year-old mentioned. “My voice would break, or tears would fall.”

So he went into the Los Angeles streets to protest in solidarity alongside 1000’s grieving Floyd’s loss of life and demanding reforms to policing in America.

“It was a lot love and good vitality on the market, like a lot hope. Actually trying to your proper, to your left, seeing folks of so many ethnicities standing for our trigger — it gave me the energy that I wanted to come back again and end the music,” he mentioned.

“2020 Riots: How Many Instances” was launched Friday and options an-all black choir from Atlanta elevating Songz’ passionate vocals on the observe.

“I used to be really crying on a few of them lyrics,” he mentioned. “It’s ache. It’s disappointment. It’s anger. It’s rage. It’s confusion.”

Different musicians have launched songs within the final week within the wake of Floyd’s loss of life and people of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The artists embody Meek Mill, Kane Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, Terrace Martin and Run the Jewels (a Spotify playlist of the songs will be discovered right here ).

“The way you gonna serve and shield along with your knee on my neck,” T.I. raps on Nasty C’s “They Don’t,” launched Friday.

YG, the platinum-selling rapper who launched a hard-hitting diss music about President Donald Trump in 2016, dropped a punchy West Coast-flavored observe final week referred to as “FTP,” which stands for “F– the Police.” On the music, the Compton performer raps: “It’s the Ku Klux cops, they on a mission/It’s the Ku Klux cops, received hidden agendas/It’s the reality, I gained’t cease.”

LL Cool J posted a fiery freestyle on Instagram and hip-hop artist Jung Youth, who’s white, tackles discrimination in opposition to blacks on “God Solely Is aware of.”

“They killed a brother for the color of his pores and skin once more/Jogs my memory of how they handled Serena at Wimbledon,” he raps on the high of the music.

Mickey Guyton, one of many few black voices on the nation music scene, wrote the music “Black Like Me” final yr about her life story and experiences with racism. She launched the music on Black Out Tuesday, and mentioned that when she hears it now she thinks of “George, Ahmaud, Breonna.”

“I’ve been an absolute wreck since Ahmaud Aubrey (died). That’s the primary one which simply punched me in my intestine since you may see him in that video scared for his life. Then seeing Breonna Taylor and having a sister … I noticed myself in her and that took me down a darker house. I’ve been crying for weeks. Then to see George Floyd…,” she mentioned. “I couldn’t imagine I had a music that expressed every little thing that we really feel.”

“Black Like Me” is a poignant tune that includes the lyrics: “Should you suppose we reside within the land of the free/You need to attempt to be black like me.”

“I wrote that music to heal my coronary heart,” she mentioned. “It is a music for folks to know what we’re going by. We have to speak about that.”

Like Guyton, Grammy-winning singer Leon Bridges pulled from a music he had beforehand written about black life and police brutality to narrate to at this time’s grief and ache. On Monday, he launched the observe “Sweeter.”

“With that music, I would like folks to pay attention from the attitude of the black man. The black man within the grip of the oppressor. The black man in his final moments transitioning from life to loss of life and actually his thoughts, physique and soul is having a flashback to his homicide basically,” the 30-year-old mentioned. “I’ve at all times struggled with tips on how to write about a few of the issues that we face in America as black males. I’ve at all times struggled with tips on how to write about these issues in a tasteful method. After I take a look at this music ‘Sweeter,’ I simply really feel prefer it’s a present from God.”

Bridges mentioned he initially deliberate to launch one other single, however determined to go together with “Sweeter” this week as a result of it was so related.

“Whenever you consistently see black males die by the hands of police, it’s like a callus is fashioned over your feelings to the place you’ll be able to’t really feel something. I’d say, for me, the straw that broke the camel’s again was seeing George Floyd,” he mentioned. “It was the primary time that I shed tears over a person that I didn’t even know, over a black man. I’ve at all times been conscious however that was the primary time I shed actual tears as a result of I noticed myself, I noticed my brother, I noticed my sisters in that second.”

Others who just lately launched tracks in regards to the black expertise embody Eric Bellinger, Gramps Morgan, Unbelievable Negrito, Polo G, Pleasure Oladokun, Breland, Mr. Killa, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Wyatt Waddell, King OSF and Teejayx6.

Songz, who has launched 20 High 10 R&B hits, mentioned that whereas protesting he heard traditional black satisfaction songs from James Brown, Marvin Gaye and others working because the soundtrack for activists strolling the streets.

“You couldn’t be a musician and never deal with points again then since you confronted them so steadily. It simply introduced me to a spot of, ‘That is what I have to be doing.’”

Being a brand new father additionally performed a big position within the music’s creation: “Taking a look at my youngster is like, ‘Wow! I gotta do every little thing that I can to verify I say I fought the combat, so that you don’t should undergo that.’”

Mesfin Fekadu, The Related Press

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