Written specifically for the film, which traces the history of mass incarceration back to slavery and the 13th Amendment, “Letter to the Free” missed out on an Oscar nomination earlier this year (Common won with John Legend for “Glory.”) Now, as Emmys season heats up, it’s getting another shot at some awards recognition. But as the rapper sees it, this is just the beginning of the song’s life.
“I believe the song will have life, because it’s relative to life,” Common said in an interview with TheWrap. “It’s still going on in our society, so people that will come across the song or the film ’13th’ will see it’s relevance.”
The politically charged track, which also appears on the rapper’s album “Black America Again,” is Common‘s second collaboration with the celebrated director, after previously winning an Oscar for the song “Glory,” his contribution to her 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma.”
“I believe [’13th’] will be around for years and decades and centuries. Because it’s a true lesson on part of American history,” Common said, discussing what he hopes to be the lasting impact of DuVernay’s work.