Reality kinda sucks right now.
If you’re like me, you’re probably really frustrated at the fact that topics such as racism and anti-Semitism are still being discussed. You’ve probably also been paying close attention to news headlines and posting a Facebook rant every once-in-a-while. These times are exhausting, but it always helps to have a good soundtrack to get you through the stressful days.
All of these songs are great for getting you fired up, venting your anger, playing at a protest, or just getting inspired. I recommend reading the lyrics to these songs and internalizing the messages, but if you just wanna yell-sing to them in the car, power to you!
Also, just because someone listens to these songs doesn’t mean that they hate America; it means that they hate the flaws that America actively attempts to cover up. Fighting for justice means that you are fighting for the improvement of America; as acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity is everything that America should represent.
(In alphabetical order because I personally like my playlists in this order -- links to Spotify and Apple music playlists at the end!)
1. "All Falls Down" - Kanye West
A Kanye West classic. In this song, he discusses consumerism and how we give money to a system that gains power from our money.
I say, "Fuck the police," that's how I treat 'em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
2. "Alright" - Kendrick Lamar
You’ve definitely heard this song before. This is a great song to play if you’re ever feeling discouraged or exhausted. I also recommend playing this at a peaceful protest (I played this at a sit-in) -- it really reminds everyone that we will be okay.
I'm at the preacher's door
My knees gettin' weak, and my gun might blow
But we gon' be alright
3. "Amerikkkan Idol" - Joey Bada$$lyrics are insane. This song is WAY too underrated.
Media's got this whole thing tainted, that's all fact
Feedin' you lies like this whole thing wasn't built on our backs
Assimilate our history then made it a mystery
Now they all inherit the bittersweet victory
4. "Apparently" - J. Cole
This is another song that will remind you to keep your “head high” and to keep fighting for justice. “This is [your] canvas, paint it how [you] want it!”
I keep my head high
I got my wings to carry me
I don't know freedom
I want my dreams to rescue me
I keep my faith strong
I ask the Lord to follow me
5. "Aw Yeah" - Tech N9ne
This song is a completely different vibe from the previous ones -- it will probably get you heated. He speaks about issues that people are afraid to speak about. As a Christian, I don’t completely agree with his issues with God, so I mainly focus on his critiques of the world.
I gotta fight all of the night with cops, Crips, Bloods with sore fists
And them Nazis wanna hem Hadji, up it ain’t too many men godly
Hideous so many cities bust in, Ferguson to Libya, Benghazi
Human equality never been a level playin field man it been wobbly
6. "Be Free" - J.Cole
This song is way too underrated. The lyrics are incredibly emotional and both his live performance on The Late Show and this fan-made music video makes it all even more impactful (warning: it will probably make you cry). This song is an anthem against police brutality and for Black Lives Matter.
All we wanna do is take the chains off
All we wanna do is break the chains off
All we wanna do is be free
All we wanna do is be free
7. "Black Skinhead" - Kanye West
This song WILL pump you up! If you feel like getting angry and/or scream-rapping, listen to this song. This is an incredibly rebellious song that speaks about how “old-school racism” is still present today.
Stop all that coon shit (black)
Early morning cartoon shit (black)
This is that goon shit
F**k up your whole afternoon shit
You will find yourself yelling, “WE COULDA BEEN SOMEBODY” in no time. It doesn’t directly discuss social justice, but he samples “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holliday which, in itself, is a great statement against racism and modern-day slavery.
She Instagram herself like #BadBi**hAlert
He Instagram his watch like #MadRichAlert
He only wanna see that a** in reverse
Two-thousand-dollar bag with no cash in your purse
This is a great song to listen to you if you feel overwhelmed or weak because of these issues/ in general. The lyrics will help you dust yourself off and keep pushing!
Aye, and you throw up both hands way back
And then you sail away
Yeah, you've gotta ride the wave
Let 'em know you can't stop me now
10. "Changes" - Tupac
A classic. These lyrics speak to great length about the issues that our country has been facing for decades.
And still I see no changes; can't a brother get a little peace?
It's war on the streets and a war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty
They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me
11. "Don't Shoot" - The Game ft. DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Curren$y, Problem, King Pharaoh & TGT
Most. Underrated. Song. Ever. This song is an amazing compilation of rappers using their platform to demand change from the people, as well as the government. They speak about Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and much, much more. This is an especially great song to play at a protest or when you are really frustrated.
Time to take a stand and save our future
Like we all got shot, we all got shot
Throwing up our hands don't let them shoot us
Cause we all we got, we all we got
God ain't put us on the Earth to get murdered, it's murder
12. "Fight the Power" - Public Enemy
An absolute classic and staple. No explanation needed.
What we need is awareness, we can't get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved let’s get down to business
OKAY LADIES NOW LET’S GET IN FORMATION AND RESIST RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA, TRANSPHOBIA, ISLAMOPHOBIA, AND ALL OTHER FORMS OF BIGOTRY. (I recommend watching the music video to achieve maximum motivation)
Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation
You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation
Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper
Okay, listening to this song does not mean that you want to kill all police officers. Instead, it is condemning police brutality and is an angry response to the systematic racism that black people have been facing since the beginning of this country.
A young nigga got it bad ‘cause I'm brown
And not the other color, so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority
15. "Glory" - Common ft. John Legend
An amazing song to play at a protest. This song will give you hope for the future and also remind you why you’re fighting.
That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, "Stay down", and we stand up
This song isn’t political but it’s a great way to vent any anger/ frustration that you may get from seeing Nazis in 2017.
I got a million trillion things I'd rather f**kin' do
Than to be f**kin' with you, lil stupid a**
17. "Ill Mind of Hopsin 7" - Hopsin
This song speaks about how some people may use their religion as an excuse to oppress or insult others. As a Christian, I found myself slightly offended by some of his words. However, after reading the lyrics and thinking about what his message is, I see it more as insulting people who use religion as a weapon, than as an insult to religion in general. He is saying that you do not need to perfect to have a religion with God, and anyone who says that you are not worthy in God’s eyes is thinking and judging in a flawed way.
Man, everything is “what if?”—why is it always “what if?”
Planet Earth “what if?”, the Universe “what if?”
My sacrifice “what if!”, my afterlife “what if!”
18. "Jesus Walks" - Kanye West
A great song that’ll inspire you to ~walk~ in the next protest.
We at war
We at war with terrorism, racism
But most of all we at war with ourselves
19. "Keep Ya Head Up" - Tupac
Another classic song that will not only convince you to “keep ya head up,” but will also remind you that the issues we are facing today have been around for decades. Although it may feel like progress is slow, we are still making progress nonetheless, and we need to therefore keep fighting.
It's gonna take the man in me to conquer this insanity
It seems the rain'll never let up
I try to keep my head up and still keep from gettin' wet up
You know, it's funny, when it rains it pours
They got money for wars but can't feed the poor
20. "Land of the Free" - Joey Bada$$
A brutally honest song whose lyrics will make you pause the song and just think. Completely underrated.
The first step into change is to take notice
Realize the real games that they tried to show us
300 plus years of them cold shoulders
Yet 300 million of us still got no focus
21. "Mad" - Solange ft. Lil Wayne
All of Solange’s “A Seat on the Table” will fulfill your woke-ness. This song reminds you that is okay to be angry and frustrated. She reminds the listener to ignore those who say that they are just “protesting to be angry”.
I ran into this girl, she said, "Why you always blaming?"
"Why you can't just face it?" (Be mad, be mad, be mad)
"Why you always gotta be so mad?" (Be mad, be mad, be mad)
"Why you always talking shit, always be complaining?"
"Why you always gotta be, why you always gotta be so..." (Be mad, be mad, be mad)
I got a lot to be mad about (Be mad, be mad, be mad)Lyrics: https://genius.com/Solange-mad-lyrics
22. "Me Against the World" - Tupac
This song speaks about how, at times, it may feel like you’re the only one fighting. He speaks about how hopeless you may get when fighting for justice, as well as many other topics that you will definitely relate to. I heavily recommend reading this song’s lyrics.
The question I wonder is after death, after my last breath
When will I finally get to rest through this oppression?
23. "New National Anthem" - T.I
T.I speaks in a brutally honest and articulate way about the hypocrisies of America and of the flaws that we, as a nation has to overcome. He speaks really fast so I HEAVILY recommend reading the lyrics. They will definitely make you stop and think.
Turned from a goon to a great you n***a
No Complaining just doing what it take young n***a
I was raised in a decade of hate young n***a
Always dodging policies because they hate young n***as
24. "New Slaves" - Kanye West
Kanye raises awareness on an issue that is often overlooked: modern day slavery. While Jim Crow laws may no longer exist, our country has found a way to lock black Americans into a cycle that strips them of their money, dignity, and freedom.
You see it's broke n***a racism
That's that "Don't touch anything in the store"
And it's rich n***a racism
That's that "Come in, please buy more"
25. "No Justice" - Ty Dolla $ign
They say that, we all created equal but ain't nothing about us equal
You know that (you know that)
There can never be no justice when killing us is legal
Somebody's gotta take a stand
26. "No Problem" - Chance the Rapper
You don't want no problem, want no problem with me, bih!
You don't want no problem, want no problem with me
27. "Power" - Kanye West
Because no one man should have all that power.
The clock’s ticking, I just count the hours
Stop tripping, I’m tripping off the power
28. "Stand Tall" - Childish Gambino
Take a deep breath, focus on your health, and keep standing tall.
Keep all your dreams, keep standing tall
If you are strong, you cannot fall
There is a voice inside us all
So smile when you can, when you can
29. "Superpower" - Beyoncé
I recommend watching the music video as well.
Cause nothing I know can break us down
They can't break us down
30. "The Blacker the Berry" - Kendrick Lamar
A great song for black people to celebrate their blackness and rejoice in the fact that although they are trying to tear us down, we are still standing strong.
I'm African-American, I'm African
I'm black as the moon, heritage of a small village
Pardon my residence
Came from the bottom of mankind
My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide
You hate me don't you?
31. "Trapped" - Tupac
Truly one of the best songs ever. Read the lyrics -- every single line will make you stop, think, and say, “woah”. Regardless of your political beliefs, this song displays an interesting perspective of this country from someone who lives in an oppressed neighborhood.
Why did ya lie to me?
I couldn’t find a trace of equality
32. "U.N.I.T.Y." - Queen Latifah
This will bring out the strong woman within you (even if you don’t identify as a woman). Don’t accept disrespect!
Every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho
Trying to make a sister feel low
You know all of that gots to go
33. "Weary" - Solange
This song explains us all perfectly, “we’re weary of the ways of the world”.
But you know that a king is only a man
With flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do
He said, "Where does that leave you?"
34. "Where is the Love?" - Black Eyed Peas
Forever a classic.
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm getting older, y'all people gets colder
Most of us only care about money-makin'
Selfishness got us followin' the wrong direction
35. "Y U Don't Love Me?" - Joey Bad$$
ALL of All Amerikkkan Badass should be on this playlist, but I had to refrain myself. This song speaks beautifully about our nation’s treatment of people of color.
Why you always misjudge me?
Why you always put so many things above me?
Why you lead me to believe that I’m ugly?
Why you never trust me?
Why you treat me like I don’t matter?
Why you always kicking my ladder?
Why you never hearing my side to the story?
Never look me in my eyes, say sorry?
36. "16 Shots" - Vic Mensa
This song describes Laquan Mcdonald’s shooting, and Black Lives Matter overall. The details of the shooting will definitely motivate you to take action.
There's a war on drugs, but the drugs keep winnin'
There's a war on guns, but the guns keep ringin'