J. Cole’s most recent appearance on David Letterman this past December was intended to promote his new album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”. But something even better happened — J Cole performed a song called “Be Free”. Both the song and his riveting performance spoke to the unrest taking place in communities across the nation – unrest caused by the devaluation of the lives of Black men as demonstrated by police brutality cases that never seem to warrant further investigation and not guilty verdicts that seem to give civilians license to kill African American men if they are so inclined.
It was brave of J Cole to take the national forum that the “Late Night” show offers and use it for that purpose, and this act has inspired Baltimore-based band Femi The DriFish and The Out of Water eXperience (“OXW”) to create their own original remix of “Be Free”.
OWX’s greatest distinction as a band to date has been their absolute lack of convention. They ride the fine, crooked, and at times invisible lines between hip hop, rock, funk and spoken word. Reveling in everything that makes them seem odd and downright out of place right up until the moment they explode onstage, their re-interpretation of “Be Free” gives them a chance to show how their musical perspective can take a song and make it an edgier, more expressive track. Alexis-Joyce and Tony Love’s emotive vocals create great tension and perfectly set the stage for Femi’s lyrics. When its all said and done, OWX’s “Be Free” remix is a dark, moody, and necessary punch in the stomach.
Check out OWX’s “Be Free” here.