Per Bomani Jones’ twitter, the link for Time Magazine’s top 10 protest songs came across my timeline. Their list, in my opinion, was decent at best (Wayne’s “Georgia…Bush” was included, but no Public Enemy, Gil Scott-Heron, etc? Ok…). Bomani followed up shortly after Time’s was revealed with a list of his own, which sparked me to think about my own litany of great protest records (which had been on my mind anyway, especially given the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that’s currently underway and seemingly gaining momentum.) Thus, here are a handful of tracks (12 of them, I think) that explicitly speak on various injustices in the world: racism, classism, lynching, oppression, police brutality, Black on Black crime, etc.
(I stuck to what I know: hip-hop, soul, jazz, funk and R&B, so don’t shoot me for not having any rock tunes [namely the Bob Dylan joints]. It’d be blasphemy if I tried to include them as if I had a true extensive knowledge of the genre.
After “War”, the list goes in alphabetical order.)
This video is an event of its own.
Edwin Starr – War; War & Peace
Producer: Norman Whitfield
Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
Bob Marley – Get Up Stand Up; Burnin’
Producer: Chris Blackwell & The Wailers
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; Small Talk At 125th and Lenox
Producer: Bob Thiele
James Brown – Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud; Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud
Producer: James Brown
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On; What’s Going On
Producer: Marvin Gaye
N. W.A. – F*** Tha Police; Straight Outta Compton
Producer: Dr. Dre & DJ Yella
Public Enemy – Fight The Power; Fear Of A Black Planet
Producer: The Bomb Squad
Stevie Wonder: Living For The City; Innervisions
Producer: Stevie Wonder
“It’s time for us to stop and redefine Black Power”
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Murder To Excellence; Watch The Throne
Producer: Swizz Beatz (Murder) & S1 (Excellence)
This could have very easily been “Everyday People,” too, which was also on this album.
Sly & The Family Stone – Stand!; Stand!
Producer: Sly Stone