But the angular blues guitar lick over the top of the track is clue to a deeper, older invocation, as Son Little’s lyrics bear witness to two departed friends, and, inspired by Trayvon Martin, offer a meditation on the ease with which black lives are erased – even now, decades beyond the years when that smoky guitar line was invented. Son Little’s voice soars like a young Stevie Wonder’s as he testifies to his loss, and the “cross my heart” tag line reveals itself not as a lover’s plea, but a defiant prayer to remember the lost.
The track is accompanied by an atmospheric black-and-white video that evokes the smoky milieus of Lester Young and Billie Holiday, reinforcing the themes of the song in its references to lost greats.
Son Little first came to light by other names, singing with The Roots and collaborating with Rjd2. “Cross My Heart" premieres today courtesy of Okayplayer and will be available on iTunes on Tuesday, as well as featured on the Anti- Black Friday LP release Hot Whacks, a collection of upcoming and unreleased tracks from the label, out November 30th.
Look for more to come from Son Little in 2014.