Recently, Mavis Staples announced that she’d be hitting the road with Bob Dylan and shortly after announced that she had a new album on the way called If All I Was Was Black. The forthcoming record from the gospel and rhythm-and-blues singer was written and produced by Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s frontman and Staples’ frequent collaborator (Tweedy has previously led the production of Staples’ 2010 and 2013 albums, You Are Not Alone and One True Vine, respectively). In early September, Staples announced If All I Was Was Black, pairing the announcement with the release of the project’s first single and title track.
Today, Staples has released yet another track off her upcoming collaboration with Jeff Tweedy, the tune “Little Bit”. This newest single was similarly written and produced by Tweedy, with the song taking on a political tone with its examination of the links between race and police violence. The tune has a slinky tone to it, with a prominent funk-inspired bass line and whispy yet steady drums. With Staples’ powerful voice front and center, the song’s lyrics reference controversial past incidents of police brutality against black people and the opposing narratives of victims and officers—the song contains lines like “Poor kid, they caught him/ Without his license/ That ain’t why they shot him/ They say he was fighting,” and “So, that’s what we’re told/ But we all know/ That ain’t how the story goes.”
You can take a listen to Mavis Staples’ newest single “Little Bit” off If All I Was Was Black below.
[Photo: Carol Spags]