Ed Sheeran released a new track titled “F64.” The freestyle is a tribute to Ed’s late friend and collaborator Jamal Edwards MBE, who was a music entrepreneur, DJ, and founder of SBTV, an R&B and hip-hop platform to discover emerging artists. SBTV was an instrumental part of Sheeran’s rise to fame. On February 20, 2022, Jamal passed away due to a heart attack at only 31 years old. The video for “F64” was filmed at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, home of the Premier League club Chelsea, Edwards’ favorite soccer team.
The SBTV team stated, “Jamal had a unique connection with artists and creatives and was happiest when he was connecting and creating. His journey began locally but took him on a global adventure forming unique bonds. One of these bonds was with long-time friend and brother Ed Sheeran.” In 2010, Edwards gave Sheeran his first break by letting him perform “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” on SBTV. Ed has also performed “Eraser” and “Take It Back” on the channel.
Recently, Sheeran shared that he doesn’t think he’d be where he’s at career-wise had it not been for Edwards. “I really don’t think I would have been given the opportunities that I was given […] I was slogging on the acoustic singer-songwriter scene for a very long time, just blending in, and Jamal was this sort of tastemaker,” Ed stated.
“F64” serves not only as a tribute from Ed to Jamal, but it’s also the kickoff to the return of the F64 series to the SBTV channel. In this series, SBTV would get an artist or group of MCs to rap 64 bars to a beat. Tanisha Artman, CEO of SBTV and Jamal’s sister, explained that the platform will “keep everything in line with what Jamal started and was working on. SBTV will stay true to its roots, and that will never change as we grow.”
Through heart-wrenching lyrics, Sheeran expresses his grief in “F64” in the form of a letter. “Although it’s been a year, still feel the pain in my heart / ’Cause you were there from the start / The day we met, yeah, I moved in and we were never apart,” Ed raps. The musician also tells Jamal how his life has changed since he passed away and how he would’ve chosen Edwards to be Sheeran’s youngest daughter’s godfather: “You left the world ’fore you met Jupiter / Wish you’d have known you would be godfather / You would’ve loved loving my little girls.”
From start to finish, we can feel Sheeran’s sadness, and with lyrics like “they gave me a shovel at your burial, and watching you get lowered is something I can’t forget at all,” the singer-songwriter paints a clear picture of what it was like to say goodbye to his beloved friend. Still, Ed hopes to see Jamal again on the other side: “The conversations at your grave’s the only way to be close / I know you’ll greet me with a smile on the day that I go.”
Ed is no stranger to writing songs about friends and relatives who died. In 2017, the musician released his third studio album, ÷, which includes “Supermarket Flowers,” a song about his late grandmother written from Sheeran’s mom’s point of view. Similarly, Ed released “Visiting Hours” in 2021 as the second single off his fifth studio album, =. The track is an ode to music promoter Michael Gudinski, who passed away during his sleep.
Overall, “F64” is a poignant reminder of the brevity of life. Undoubtedly, Sheeran is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation, and he shows his skills one more time in this track. Even if you haven’t lost a close friend or a relative, you can still feel his emotions all over the song. Below, you can watch the music video for “F64.”