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JAY-Z joins Nipsey Hussle on the ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ cut “What It Feels Like”

The bittersweet collaboration marks the latest heard from Nipsey since Big Sean’s “Deep Reverence.”

Nipsey Hussle and JAY-Z
Nipsey Hussle and JAY-Z
Video screenshots/Sergio/Ava DuVernay

Today saw the release of Judas and the Black Messiah, which stars Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield and tells the story of Black Panther head Fred Hampton and FBI informant William O’Neal. Accompanying the movie is a soundtrack — officially titled Judas And The Black Messiah: The Inspired Album — that contains 22 cuts and additional features from A$AP Rocky, Dom Kennedy, Polo G, Pooh Shiesty, G Herbo, Lil Durk, BJ The Chicago Kid, Nas, Black Thought, H.E.R., and many more.

One of the biggest standouts from the compilation of the Mike & Keys, My Guy Mars, and Rance-produced “What It Feels Like,” a collaboration between JAY-Z and the late Nipsey Hussle that was first teased in a film trailer earlier this week. To the surprise of no one, the track is packed with the type of emotionally and politically charged subject matter that only these two artists can deliver:

“IRS on my dick tryna audit all my checks, it’s too late, you know they hate when you become more than they expect, you let them crackers storm your Capitol, put they feet up on your desk, and yet you talkin’ tough to me, I lost all my little respect.../”

“What It Feels Like” marks the first song with Nipsey since he posthumously appeared on Big Sean’s Detroit 2 single “Deep Reverence.” His last and only official album, Victory Lap, was released in 2018 following a slew of classic mixtapes — including his Bullets Ain’t Got No Name, Slauson Boy, and The Marathon series. While technically not his album, JAY-Z was a prominent force on Jay Electronica’s 2020 debut A Written Testimony, appearing on all but two tracks. Last year also saw Hov contributing to Pharrell Williams’ “Entrepreneur,” which made landfall in conjunction with TIME Magazine’s “The New American Revolution” project.

Press play on “What It Feels Like” below.

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