Born and raised in Brooklyn, Native Son has spent the lockdown period putting that extra time alone to good use by completing work on his debut EP, Metro Dread.
Today, we’ve got the first taste of the project and his first ever single, “Brown Water”, as well as some beautiful Super 8-style visuals. Like the rest of the EP, “Brown Water” was self-produced and centres around his understated yet soulful vocal style and hazy guitar licks that subtly nod to the influence of Frank Ocean and King Krule.
A deeply affecting piece of songwriting, “Brown Water” explores the collective traumas endured by Black people, particularly the feeling of watching horrifying acts of police brutality and wondering if or when he’ll have to suffer the same fate. Directed by Jack Sirois, the video puts that into sharp relief by juxtaposing just a select few shots against scenes of Native Son performing the track for maximum impact.
“‘Brown Water’ is a song about the unwelcome but unavoidable pain many Black people feel upon seeing or experiencing instances of police brutality,” Native Son tells Complex. “But it’s not a song about wallowing in that pain. The song’s central purpose is to remind people that pain is not all we are, and not at all what we want to feel. Our lives in Blackness are just as complex as any others, and we’re more than victims—we’re beautiful.”
“Brown Water” is taken from the Metro Dread EP, which drops October 28 via Radio Silence Records. Watch the video exclusively above.