“Three or four nights ago I woke up in the middle of my sleep…I couldn’t sleep. My chest was hurting. I got up and called my producer, Troy Taylor and I said ‘We’ve got to make music that really touches the soul, that really addresses what the world is feeling right now. Especially our people,'” Songz said in a statement. “So we came up with ‘2020 Riots: How Many Times.’ With the words in this song I just wanted to speak to everyone’s hearts and acknowledge the pain and anguish everyone is going through right now. I know this ain’t usually my message and you’re not used to hearing this from me, but this is the person I’ve always been.”
“How many mothers have to cry?/How many brothers gotta die?/How many more times?,” Songz — backed by a piano melody, a simple beat and full gospel choir — asks on the track. “How many more marches?/How many more signs?/How many more lives?/How many more times?”
Songz adds, “All these beautiful, precious black lives/Lost in the name of senseless white pride.”
“2020 Riots: How Many Times” is the latest protest anthem to emerge following the killing of George Floyd by police; in recent days, artists like YG, LL Cool J and Terrace Martin have all released tracks inspired by Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.