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Prince releases 'Baltimore' song one day before concert there

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Prince has unveiled his new song, "Baltimore" – a tribute to the people of the city which has been in turmoil after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody – one day before he plays a concert there.

Prince released a recording of the song online through Sound Cloud (listen here) and via Twitter:

The song addresses the death of Gray, and also mentions Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in Ferguson, Mo., last year after a police confrontation. Brown's death also sparked days of unrest.

The song's melody is upbeat but its lyrics are mournful. It opens with these lines:

NOBODY GOT IN NOBODY'S WAY
SO EYE GUESS U COULD SAY
IT WAS A GOOD DAY
AT LEAST A LITTLE BETTER THAN THE DAY IN BALTIMORE

DOES ANYBODY HEAR US PRAY?
4 MICHAEL BROWN OR FREDDIE GRAY PEACE IS MORE THAN THE ABSENCE OF WAR
ABSENCE OF WAR

Prince is hosting a “Rally 4 Peace” in Baltimore Sunday evening, a week after he hosted a rally at Paisley Park to encourage peace in the city following Gray's death. The concert will take place at Royal Farms Arena.

Six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest have been charged.

Here are the complete lyrics, according to FOX 9:

BALTIMORE
lyrics by Prince
NPG RECORDS, copyright 2015

NOBODY GOT IN NOBODY'S WAY
SO EYE GUESS U COULD SAY
IT WAS A GOOD DAY
AT LEAST A LITTLE BETTER THAN THE DAY IN BALTIMORE

DOES ANYBODY HEAR US PRAY?
4 MICHAEL BROWN OR FREDDIE GRAY PEACE IS MORE THAN THE ABSENCE OF WAR
ABSENCE OF WAR

R WE GONNA C ANOTHER BLOODY DAY?
WE'RE TIRED OF CRYIN' & PEOPLE DYIN'
LET'S TAKE ALL THE GUNS AWAY

ABSENCE OF WAR- U AND ME
MAYBE WE CAN FINALLY SAY
ENUFF IS ENUFF IT'S TIME 4 LOVE

IT'S TIME 2 HEAR,
IT'S TIME 2 HEAR

THE GUITAR PLAY! (guitar solo)

One music critic notes this song is "confrontational stuff," which is a bit out of the ordinary for Prince.

Ann Powers of NPR notes that Prince has always been a political musician, but his bold messages have been softened somewhat behind a "veil of feedback and funk."

Not so this time, as he references names and phrases that are still fresh in the public's mind – Freddie Gray and Michael Brown, and the chant "no justice, no peace."

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