Arts Desk

Listen: The Cornel West Theory, “Water Over Troubled Bridges”

CornelThe Cornel West Theory is refreshingly black, a welcome change in a rap genre that's become increasingly standardized and cookie-cutter. The crew says things plainly and addresses social topics others are scared to touch: "Land of the free, home of the slaves," went a lyric from the Theory's incredible "Radio FREE DC (45th St. Version)."

Last month, the Theory released the distinctively lo-fi "Jesse Owens," on which rapper Tim Hicks equated slavery with mainstream rap. They've got "gold grills and molly pills, scared of massa doin' cartwheels," Hicks rhymed. "Fuck steppin' and fetchin', I'm on the side of the peasants."

Out today, the Theory is back with another straightforward gem, "Water Over Troubled Bridges," on which Hicks uses an Aretha Franklin sample to do some soul searching. It's a very reflective track that feels testimonial in the way Hicks searches for God. The Theory's Coming From The Bottom is due out this year. Stream or download "Water Over Troubled Bridges" after the jump.

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