Music has historically been a platform for change and an outlet for emotions. Whether we’re talking about spirituals sung during the Middle Passage or N.W.A. singing “Fuck Tha Police” at Joe Louis Arena in 1989, music has had the power to unite people in a united cause. Sometimes songs can simply serve as a cathartic measure to release our anger and frustration at what we’re seeing or dealing with every day.
We, as a country, are hurting right now. We’re seeing a measured attempt at dividing the people with propaganda and nationalism. Tensions are already high enough with the fallout from the pandemic, so it’s no surprise when human beings are being murdered by the very people sworn to protect them, the people rise up.
It’s nice to see protests that end without incident, but it’s not shocking when they don’t. And if we’re being honest, proper change doesn’t happen in times of peace. I’m not advocating violence or involvement in any illegal demonstration, but we should understand why it happens.
So for those of us who just need an outlet – something to jam to so we can release our emotions – here is a playlist that illustrates how we are feeling right now.
1. Flobots- Rise
The collective from Colorado is known for their inspirational lyrics, fusion of genres and philanthropy off the stage. This song is positive vibes all day.
2. Rage Against the Machine-Take the Power Back
Honestly you could pick just about any Rage song if you want to get hype, this one just happens to be my favorite.
3. Joyner Lucas- I’m Not Racist
This video made the rounds a few years back, but holds just as true today unfortunately.
4. Childish Gambino- This is America
Donald Glover’s alter ego takes an ultra-serious look at America in this video chock full of symbolism.
5. DaBaby- Rockstar
This chart-topper got a remix in support of Black Lives Matter.
6. Meek Mill- Otherside of America
The song starts with a clip from Trump telling black people that their schools and communities are trash. Meek Mill shares perspective from within those very communities.
7. Joey Bada$$- Land of the Free
With Shakurian cadence and lyrics, this one just hits right.
8. Run the Jewels- Walking in the Snow
Hot off the presses, Killer Mike and El-P continue highlighting injustice.
9. Kendrick Lamar- Alright.
Limp-dick-with-a-mustache, Geraldo Rivera cited this song in saying “Hip hop has done more damage to African Americans that racism in recent years.” Kendrick used that audio to intro the song DNA of his album DAMN, which won a goddamned Pulitzer. Suck on that Geraldo.
10. Prophets of Rage- Unfuck the World
A combination of RATM, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy, Prophets of Rage bring unadulterated anger in this song.
11. Body Count- No Lives Matter
Well known for the controversy surrounding the song “Cop Killer” in the early-90s, this band, fronted by notable television detective, Ice-T, comes correct with a response to “All Lives Matter.”
12. Green Day- American Idiot
Punk has always had it’s place in the realm of social commentary, and this song perfectly illustrates that.
13. Ice Cube- Good Cop Bad Cop
Ice Cube was one of the founding members of N.W.A. and has always focused on social justice.
14. Logic- America
Featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy, this track targets all the things wrong with America right now.
15. Bob Marley- Get Up Stand Up
You can chill or be inspired to action with this classic.
16. Dead Kennedys- Nazi Punks Fuck Off
It really shouldn’t need to be said, but seriously, nazis of all kinds can kindly fuck off.
I hope this playlist provides you with whatever it is you’re looking for. No matter what is going on in the world, we will always have music to help us cope, and that is something I’m incredibly grateful for right now.