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Black Thought And Ledisi Create Music By Way Of Ta-Nehisi Coates With “American Heartbreak”

Black Thought is a veteran master of ceremony, a grandmaster if you really look at the full scope of hip-hop. That’s why it feels so rewarding to hear him continuously dropping new music, this time in the form of a new Ledisi collaboration for the HBO original adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ powerful book Between the World and Me.

black thought ledisi american heartbreak hbo between the world and me
Image: Donna Ward/Getty Images

The lyricism heard on “American Heartbreak” creates visuals that aren’t for the faint of heart, or at those that aren’t ready to open their eyes to the social injustices and racial divide happening in America today. From dropping bars about “America the ugly” to illustrating realities of losing friends in the streets and possibly your own life during something as simple as a traffic stop, Black Thought never falters when it comes to delivering the harsh truth. Ledisi is a songbird of the highest order as per usual, crooning soulfully with enough conviction to send chills down your spine if the lyrics don’t already. 

For context, Ta-Nehisi wrote Between the World and Me back in 2015 before it was turned into the current HBO Special premiering for Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend. This version merges elements from The Apollo 2018 stage adaptation, readings from Coates’ original book, and documentary footage that weaves everything together.

Listen to “American Heartbreak” by Black Thought and Ledisi below, and watch Between the World and Me right now online for free or live this Saturday at 9:30 PM EST on HBO.

Quotable Lyrics:

Nina Simone said, ‘What’s the matter with you rock?’
Is it my hip-hop? Hey, what’s the matter with 2Pac?
We will finish the journey from Mecca to pilgrimage
Build bridges over burial grounds – they filled with us
I grimaced upon a photo I found
A still image of a friend who said to lean on Him, like Bill Withers
I wish he was still with us
They issue moratoriums on the truth and label us ‘revisionist historians’
Changing the point of origin in all the events
Any prince with some kind of sense is all they’re against

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