Killer Mike might’ve been the most vocal figure in hip-hop this year following the outrage over the shooting death of Michael Brown, but J. Cole has arguably been the most active. He visited Ferguson the week after Brown’s death and, last week, he quietly marched in a protest following the Eric Garner grand jury decision. During an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman Wednesday night, rather than perform a song from his new album, he instead delivered a passionate rendition of the song he released for Brown over the summer, “Be Free.”
He even added a striking new verse to the song that envisions how he’d like to see Obama’s presidency end. Given Letterman’s stunned reaction, it’s a wonder why Cole chose not to include “Be Free” on his new album.