Cox currently sits at the top of the Billboard charts with his latest collaboration “Don’t Waste My Time,” which features Usher and Ella Mai.
However, Cox believes that we all are living in a pivotal time and music can serve as a tool to educate and inspire.
During a recent interview with rolling out‘s “A.M. Wake-Up Call,” Cox shared his thoughts on how artists can use their voice to inspire change.
You recently scored another No. 1 hit with “Don’t Waste My Time.” How did it feel to return to the top spot?
I’ve been doing this for a long time. I approach this thing as a marathon, not a sprint. You have to handle the ups and downs. It’s great to have the number one record for the second week in the row with Usher and Ella Mai. But Quincy Jones said something profound his documentary, Quincy. He said take care of the valleys, the hills will take care of themselves. It’s just a matter of weathering storms and finding a creative space.
How should artists develop a voice in moments where racial inequality is at the forefront?
The young artists should start speaking out. I was impressed with Lil Baby’s song “The Bigger Picture.” We have to use our art properly. During the Vietnam War, there were records where artists shared their emotions on the situation. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On spoke to the time. This is a moment where we can take this opportunity and make music that matters. Everyone loves to party and there’s nothing wrong with that. But now it’s time for young artists to understand how important this moment is and to speak on it.
Have artists recently done enough to put social commentary into their music?
We got to the place where we were on autopilot. We haven’t dealt with anything like what has occurred over the past few months. Some artists are out of touch because their experiences were different. My mother and aunts were fresh out of the Civil Rights Movement, they taught me [about] Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I grew up in Houston, but knew about Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson because it was important to know our history. My parents lived through segregation where they saw “White only” water fountains. When we came up in the 1990s, hip-hop created wealth. And some may have thought we crossed the threshold, but we deal with racism on all levels. Now it’s in our face.