Chains (Usher song)

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"Chains"
UsherChains.jpg
Single by Usher featuring Nas and Bibi Bourelly
Released October 16, 2015
Format Digital download
Recorded 2015
Genre
Length 3:36
Label RCA
Songwriter(s)
  • Usher Raymond IV
  • Bibi Bourelly
  • Nasir Jones
Producer(s) Paul Epworth
Usher singles chronology
"Don't Look Down"
(2015)
"Chains"
(2015)
"Crush"
(2016)
"Don't Look Down"
(2015)
"Chains"
(2015)
"Crush"
(2016)
Nas singles chronology
"Something to Believe In"
(2015) Something to Believe In2015
"Chains"
(2015) Chains2015
"Figure it Out"
(2016) Figure it Out2016
Bibi Bourelly singles chronology
"Riot"
(2015) Riot2015
"Chains"
(2015) Chains2015
"Sally"
(2016) Sally2016

"Chains" is a song by American R&B recording artist Usher featuring American rapper Nas and German singer-songwriter Bibi Bourelly. It was released on October 15, 2015, as a Tidal exclusive. The song is titled “Chains”, the interactive video experience is called “Don’t Look Away”, using facial recognition technology forcing you to watch, to keep your eyes fixed on those of the victims.

Background and release

Trayvon Martin

The song's interactive video experience forces people to confront racial injustice and police brutality. To watch; users must open the video on their computers in Firefox or Chrome and activate their webcam. In the “Chains” it plays the images of Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Sean Bell, Marlon Brown, Ramarley Graham, Amadou Diallo, Caesar Cruz and other recent victims of police violence. Along with the images it includes descriptions of their deaths, of which no one has been charged or found guilty.

Following the release, Usher led a dialogue alongside civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, rapper Jay-Z and CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien at 92 Y theatre in Manhattan to discuss their commitment to "Breaking the Chains of Social Injustice."[1] During the discussion Usher explained the importance of speaking out against social injustice and explained his partnership with co-owner of Tidal, Jay-Z in mounting the campaign.[2]

Music video

Usher realizing that he's at his own funeral looking at pictures of him.

On February 2, 2016 Usher uploaded the standard music video for "Chains" on his YouTube and Vevo account. The video is directed by Ben Louis Nicholas and Daniel Arsham for Film The Future. The black-and-white video begins with the audio of Usher V, his oldest son saying "With liberty and justice for all?" and his youngest son saying "Justice for all". In the video Usher is followed by the police at night and as he runs with hands up, images of guns and people praying are shown. Later, Usher is in a church at his own memorial service, he doesn't understand until he sees the childhood pictures of himself and attempts to grab the attention of the silent mourners. During Nas's verse, Usher is pictured in the back of a police car crying.[3]

Live performances

Usher debuted “Chains” for the first time at the Tidal X: 1020 concert on October 20, 2015 in Brooklyn at the Barclays.

Personnel

Credits adapted from Tidal.

  • Writing – Bibi Bourelly, Paul Epworth, Albert Andre Bowman, Nasir Jones, Usher
  • Composers - Bibi Bourelly, Paul Epworth, Albert Andre Bowman, Nasir Jones, Usher, Arthur Strong, Issiah J. Avila, Miguel Gandelman, Juan Najera
  • Production – Paul Epworth
  • Conductor – Sally Herbert
  • Mix engineering – Manny Marroquin

References

  1. ^ "Usher And Harry Belafonte Talk Activism In Joint Appearance". The Huffington Post. 2015-10-25. Retrieved 2016-06-10. 
  2. ^ "Usher, Jay Z, Soledad O'Brien and Harry Belafonte discuss social injustice - Rolling Out". Rolling Out. 2015-10-25. Retrieved 2016-06-10. 
  3. ^ "Watch Usher and Nas' Devastating 'Chains' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-09-18. 
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