Rap music and freak folk might easily top anyone’s hashtag word challenge for the #2unlikeliestmusicalgenrestorocktogether, but 19-year-old Stone Mountain, Georgia-born singer/MC Raury is proving that, in these crazy, violent times, the two genres can actually make beautiful, powerful music together.

Raury was a leading musical light atop numerous Best-of-2014 shortlists, signed by Columbia Records last year off the strength of his independent mixtape Indigo Child. He composed a musical prayer—first released in late April and conceived right after Darren Wilson’s non-indictment for killing Michael Brown—that field-hollers at the centuries of state-sanctioned violence that’s only now being made visible by smartphone cameras and online activism.

The stop-motion visual for “Fly” (directed by Malia Murray) is a tearjerker in its animated simplicity, articulating key moments of triumph and degradation in the struggle for a universally safe Black existence. The song aims its simple words into the heart of that anguish, featuring an affecting poem by Malik Shakur, the nephew of exiled activist Assata Shakur.

“Fly” also speaks to our kids who deserve to play, carefree and harassment-free, in the hot sun at their local community pool. This song tells them to go aheadswim, yell out “Marco! Polo!,” scream, butterfly stroke, throw water balloons, blow bubbles, and let their eyes take in a vast blue sky. Because they belong here, on this spinning rock that is their birthright. And when they hop out of the pool, dry off and warm up their shivering bodies, they can wrap themselves in the loving arms and good intentions of Raury’s song.—Sun Singleton

To hear more from Raury, listen to another brand new song of his, “Devil’s Whisper,” here, then go cop his amazing Indigo Child EP. Fans can witness Raury do his thing live at his own star-studded, second annual RAURFEST in Atlanta today. Keep up with Raury’s movements on Twitter, Instagram and at the artist’s interactive website.

Sun Singleton is a Northern Virginia-born singer/journalist based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @sunsing.

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