The clip opens with a string of sprawling city skyline shots to accompany the song’s spare piano intro before jumping to a sequence in which Day broadcasts the song’s potent chorus. Elsewhere, Dead Prez MCs stic.man and M-1 spit revolutionary verses in a vast warehouse filled with others ready to join their cause.
J. Period co-produced “See the Light” with DJ Khalil, and the song appears on the former’s latest album, The RISE UP Project. The album also features contributions from Black Thought, Aloe Blacc, Joss Stone, Jesse Williams, Pharoahe Monch, De La Soul’s Posdnous, Rhymefest, Maimouna Youssef and more. “The RISE UP Project seeks to restore hip hop’s place as a powerful voice for justice, and to create a new soundtrack for the new movement of young activists fighting back against rising tides of prejudice and discrimination in our current climate,” J. Period said in a statement. Young Guru, DJ Jazzy Jeff & DJ Khalil executive produced the album.
“Artist’s power is the ability to make spiritual, emotional and sociopolitical themes relatable. It’s our gift and calling … I admire the pioneering artists tied to this project and we all understand that the investment here is not for an immediate return,” Day tells Rolling Stone. “We are planting seeds for fruit we may or may not see harvested in this life, but our reward is the peace of knowing that we are helping to build and leave behind a world where everyone is counted and equal.”
“From Sudan, to the ongoing attacks on women’s rights, to Flint’s ongoing water crisis …there are so many truths that need to see the light,” Dead Prez rapper Stic says. “I’m honored to team up with Andra Day and J.PERIOD to remind today’s culture that it’s still bigger than hip hop and to align with new revolutionary voices that are speaking out!”
“Message Music is indeed the lighthouse in the fog of today’s chaotic world,” adds Dead Prez’s m-1. “This song [has] given dead prez an amazing platform along with my favorite musicians and voices to be a true light in the darkness.”
The producer said “See the Light” embodies the overall ethos of the album, which was to tap into hip-hop’s roots as a voice for justice and to serve as a soundtrack for a new generation of activists. “The song represents the moment in the battle where we are bruised and bloody, and nearly beaten, but we must summon the strength to rise again and fight — a feeling I think many of us can relate to at this moment,” J. Period said.
“This is why ‘See The Light’ is such an important record, and why I chose to pair one of hip-hop’s longstanding and most significant voices for liberation — Dead Prez — alongside one of the most powerful musical voices for change in this generation — Andra Day,” he added. “The combination is meant to carry the tradition of hip-hop’s activist roots forward, and to inspire a new generation of young artists and activists.”