Throughout history there have been many movements for equality and for justice to be done for the well-being of people. One community that knows what it means to fight and never remain silent for their civil rights, is the black community. Most notably, black people have had to fight for the right to vote, equal educational rights and benefits, against job discrimination and now just to have the right to stay alive. The movement #BlackLivesMatter has increased the unity and amplified the voice of the millennial that has often felt muted. Because of the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland that have been pressed to the front of many major news medias and magazines, a movement was birthed that not only cared about our future but also turned our Black History Month into Black History Year. Through numerous demonstrations such as social media hashtags, nationwide boycotting of Black Friday sales and city marches to reinforce what the community wants, one thing has become very influential in the entire movement. Music has always been essential to the expression of many black artists, but in today’s entertainment it is career-risking to create music for the advancement and encouragement for all black people. In this short list of throwback and current hip-hop/rap music, it demonstrates how our artistic expression relates, motivates, and further pushes the agenda for equality and freedom of black men and women in America.
1. Lupe Fiasco - All Black Everything
In this track, Lupe discusses how different it would be if we never had slavery or experienced the oppression that followed the freeing of slaves. He describes a full nation and society that is “all black everything” lyrically uncovering the true power that is inside of every black person.
2. KRS-One - Sound of Da Police
Released in 1993, this track by KRS is still extremely relevant for the black men in black neighborhoods. KRS openly talks of how the police criminalize black men and how they are a legalized version of the overseer of slave plantations from slavery. Relating to #BlackLivesMatter, the law enforcers are more concerned about killing than protecting and the lyrics of "Sound of Da Police" musically express how many still feel about them in 2016.
3. Kendrick Lamar- Alright
Kendrick Lamar reassures the black community that despite the killings, mistreatment, and neglect received from others that we’re going to be alright regardless. Not only have we gotten through before, but we’ve also been strong enough to carry on regardless of win or lose. If you haven’t watched the official video of this track, it’s encouraged to view and analyze the images being shown.
4. Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y.
This one is for my strong, confident and powerful black queens. Queen Latifah lyrically expresses herself about the need for the respect of black women in our communities. The need to be acknowledge with the love and respect from other black men is very imperative to how the rest of the world views black women and how we all advance as one. Queen Latifah directly approaches this topic daring anyone to approach her, and her sisters, outside of their royalty.
5. J. Cole - Get Free
It’s nothing new that J. Cole is one of our generation's most favorite rappers not only because of his skills, but because of his conscious-filled lyrics. This entire track accurately exposes how the black community feels navigating through this society socially and politically. He even includes a clip of Tupac telling all of us to wake up, be aware and take action.