Need Freedom

Album: Empire Season 3 (2016)


  • This soulful social commentary track features in the opening episode of Empire season 3, "Light in Darkness." The song was written by Empire's supervising music producer, Rodney Jerkins and performed by Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyons).
  • The track was born out of a song written for rapper character Freda Gatz. "It started as 'Free Freda,'" Jerkins told Billboard magazine, "as she's locked up in jail. But once I sat down with Jussie, we started talking about everything going on in the country."

    "I recorded this exactly seven days after Philando Castile was shot," Smollett added. "Between the shootings of Castile, Alton Sterling, at the Pulse in Orlando and the police officers in Dallas - not to mention the other numerous killings over the last couple of years - it was like we couldn't breathe."

    "What are we doing as a people, a nation; what message are we sending to the next generation? Then this song came," he concluded.


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