Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z will release a new song on Friday called “Entrepreneur,” in conjunction with Williams’ new Time magazine cover package, “The New American Revolution.”
According to the announcement, the issue, curated by Pharrell, includes conversations with Angela Davis, Tyler the Creator, Naomi Osaka, Geoffrey Canada and more about “the systemic inequalities that Black people have faced throughout United States’ history, and how a more equitable future might be achieved across policy, medicine, culture, sports and education.”
The song touches on some of the same themes: “In this position with no choice / The system imprison young Black boys / Distract with white noise,” Williams whispers.
“The intention for a song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams says. “Especially as someone of color, there’s a lot of systemic disadvantages and purposeful blockages. How can you get a fire started, or even the hope of an ember to start a fire, when you’re starting at disadvantages with regards to health care, education, and representation?”
Jay Z, in his verse, stresses the importance of supporting Black businesses and starting one’s own ventures. “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?,” he raps, referencing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, before adding, “For every one Gucci, support two FUBU’s,” referencing the “For Us, By Us” clothing line.
The song, produced by Williams with his longtime partner in the Neptunes, Chad Hugo, “is trying to communicate that when we stick together, treat each other better and welcome each other, there’s more money and more opportunity for everyone,” Williams says.
Pharrell recently spoke with Variety about longstanding racism issues in the music industry.
Hear a snippet below