There are too many songs to choose from, so I chose my favorites. Below I have listed five songs that depict and speak for the cultures that have interested me in the last month.
1) Tsunami (أحمد شوقي تسونامي) by Ahmed Chawki
I have recently taken up a new hobby. That hobby is Arabic. Before I took Arabic, I misjudged the culture immensely—much like my American counterparts. I made assumptions that were largely inaccurate and primarily based on the Americanization of the Arab culture. This song was shown to me by one of my Arabic-speaking friends, and in listening to it I could fully acknowledge my ignorance. I believe that both cultures—Arab and American—can use this song as a medium. Give it a listen because in it is a universal meaning we can all relate to: love.
2) Patience by Nas & Damian Marley
Sabali, my friend. Patience is a virtue. In this lyrical epic, Nas and Damian Marley bring attention to their issues with the Western culture, specifically honing in on the Americanization of Africans living in America. They use ironic metaphors like “an Indiana Jones journalist” and “court-side Jack Nicholson,” to allude to how most Americans see the African culture. Both artists question how man was created and where the world is headed. And in these questions they give “their people” an answer: Roots. With that they conclude their message, "Know your roots before you know your destiny."
3) American Country Love Song by Jake Owen
Most people like music when it’s relatable. Having grown up in South Carolina and sold many popsicles at country music venues, I can vogue that this song is very relatable. This is the anthem for both the country-lovin’ concertgoers and the occasional listeners. Surely you will hear this song at almost any throw-down. And needless to say, it’s impossible to not sing along.
4) Forbidden Knowledge by Raury (feat Big Krit)
Raury starts the verse off by assessing the existence of life form in space, but then ties this thought into how African-Americans are treated in America. He is comparing the limits of understanding the world (faith, spirituality, evolution, etc.) to the limits America has always put on African-Americans (education, occupation, social justice, etc.). In the end of the song, Big Krit seals the envelope when he says, “I wonder what Malcolm found after goin' to Mecca / Or the mindstate of Martin after visitin' Selma / The leaders that were slain for speakin' the topic / On the schemers and the reapers of forbidden knowledge.”
5) Traveller by Baaba Maal
This song is so crucially important because it exhibits how music is a leading form of cross-cultural connection. Maal combines Western rock with traditionally African music in the theme song of his album, The Traveller, centered about today’s most important global themes. Maal continued working with Western Rock—and artists such as Mumford & Sons—to create a connection that is felt in the ears of all the world’s listeners.