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Hear the Roots’ Explosive ‘It Ain’t Fair’ for ‘Detroit’ Soundtrack

Hip-hop outfit crafts fiery Motown homage alongside singer Bilal

The Roots and singer Bilal unveiled a ferocious new song, “It Ain’t Fair.” The track will appear on the soundtrack for Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Detroit, about the 1967 12th Street riot.

The Detroit soundtrack is full of Sixties soul, doo-wop and R&B and boasts several classic Motown acts including Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Brenda Holloway and the Elgins. On “It Ain’t Fair,” the Roots craft a faithful homage to the Motown sound with an orchestral pop melange of horns, strings, guitar and drums. Bilal opens the track with an a cappella dirge and brings the song to a searing and soulful conclusion while Roots MC Black Thought tears through the middle with relentless righteousness: “Justice is never color blind, never gun shy,” he spits. “For one crime, you may never see the sunshine.”

“This song is the slow burning fire inside all of our souls,” Roots drummer Questlove tells Rolling Stone. “Watching the movie [Detroit] clearly shows that life in 1967 isn’t that much different in 2017 or 1897 for that matter. We wanted to hit many a bird with one stone: Humanize the pain, confusion and sadness. But also express the overdue anger. Not only to the powers that be but also to those on the sideline that can afford to turn the other way because it doesn’t effect them at the moment.”

Detroit chronicles the 1967 12th Street riot with an eye towards both its historical context and continued relevance in the age of Black Lives Matter. While the movie tracks the riot from its beginning – a police raid of a black-owned business hosting an illegal bar – it focuses specifically on the events at the Algiers Motel. There, three black men were killed after a stand-off with police, while seven black men and two white women were severely beaten. Three officers were charged in the incident and all were found not guilty.

The film stars John Boyega, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever and Will Poulter. Detroit marks Bigelow’s first feature-length film since 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty and finds her reuniting with screenwriter Mark Boal, who wrote both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker

The film opens August 4th, while the soundtrack arrives July 28th via Motown.

In This Article: Detroit, The Roots

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