After debuting “Thugz Cry” during a live performance last month, Joey Bada$$ unleashes the studio version of the song, which pulls direct inspiration from Prince and the Revolution’s “When Doves Cry” from 1984’s Purple Rain.
The song is a reflection on freedom, violence, and racism. “Can’t explain the pain, all I know is chains,” he raps. “All I know is whips, and all I know is gang / Don’t even know my name, and the place from which you came / Ni**as love to talk, but ni**as never change.”
Jozif Badmon also flips Prince’s famous chorus for his hook. “Maybe I’m just like my brother,” he sings. “He’s never satisfied / Why do we shoot at each other? / This is what it sounds like when thugs cry.”
Joey, who performed the track as part of Triple J’s “Like a Version” last month, follows a long line of artists who have remixed and/or covered Prince’s classic single. Others include Tupac Shakur, Ginuwine, Joe Budden, Bizzy Bone, and The Game.