10 votes

Favorite political/protest/in-light-of-recent-events songs?

Political music is pretty cool but I don't really know that many songs. The song I currently enjoy the most is Reagan by Killer Mike.

19 comments

  1. [3]
    culturedleftfoot
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm guessing you don't mean strictly recent releases. Immortal Technique - Bin Laden Public Enemy - Fight The Power Rage Against The Machine - Calm Like A Bomb KRS-One - Sound of Da Police Lupe...

    I'm guessing you don't mean strictly recent releases.

    Immortal Technique - Bin Laden
    Public Enemy - Fight The Power
    Rage Against The Machine - Calm Like A Bomb
    KRS-One - Sound of Da Police
    Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said
    Dead Prez - Together (feat. Ghetto Pros)
    The Coup - Fat Cats and Bigga Fish
    Mos Def - New World Water
    Common - A Song For Assata
    Ice Cube - I Wanna Kill Sam

    Bonus track: Immortal Technique, Killer Mike, Brother Ali & Chuck D of Public Enemy - Civil War

    I recommend you comb through the discography of all the above artists beyond these specific songs. They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.

    A couple other songs that were topical and/or impactful around their time of release:
    NWA - Fuck Tha Police (of course), which was a canary 30 years ago for the same police brutality issues we're seeing today;
    Lil' Wayne - Georgia... Bush, on the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina;
    J. Cole - Be Free, here performed live on David Letterman in the wake of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson;
    Ice Cube - Black Korea, in response to the killing of Latasha Harlins;
    Public Enemy - By The Time I Get To Arizona, in response to the then-governor of Arizona (and then the people of Arizona themselves) not wanting to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. with a state holiday. Interestingly, the NFL decided to pull the upcoming Super Bowl from Arizona to avoid controversy, and that played a part in it eventually getting recognized.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Cool, although I already posted Civil War.

      Cool, although I already posted Civil War.

      1. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        I just remembered a few more. Mos Def - Dollar Day, another response to the Katrina non-response; Wyclef Jean feat. Youssou N'Dour - Diallo, about the killing of Amadou Diallo; Bob Dylan -...

        I just remembered a few more.

        Mos Def - Dollar Day, another response to the Katrina non-response;
        Wyclef Jean feat. Youssou N'Dour - Diallo, about the killing of Amadou Diallo;
        Bob Dylan - Hurricane, about the case of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter;
        Bob Marley - Zimbabwe, born from its liberation movement;
        Janelle Monae and the Wondaland Collective- Hell You Talmbout;
        Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us (so good he made two versions of the video, one for the prisons and one for the favelas) and Heal The World;
        probably the two most enduring anthems of the US civil rights movement, Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A Changin' and Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come;
        and finally, two of my favorite late 80s hip-hop songs addressing community violence, Stop The Violence Movement - Self-Destruction and West Coast All-Stars - We're All In The Same Gang.

        1 vote
  2. knocklessmonster
    Link
    I don't pick out songs that much, preferring albums and whole artist discographies on shuffle, but I'll try. Most of the artists I mention have a long discography of political music. It's also all...

    I don't pick out songs that much, preferring albums and whole artist discographies on shuffle, but I'll try. Most of the artists I mention have a long discography of political music. It's also all hip hop. I don't know why, but it slowly became the majority of what I listen to, when I disliked hip hop for a large part of my life.

    For me it started with Open Mike Eagle. He's more... ambiently political. I was still dealing with being a little reactionary at the time, and he made me feel very uncomfortable. Most of his work is on black perspectives and racial injustice, typically explored via some form of storytelling. He also does a lot of light-hearted music. "Brick Body Kids Still Daydream" is about life in the housing projects he grew up in, for a direct reference.

    I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump by JPEGMAFIA and Freaky is really good. The whole "2nd Amendment" mixtape (available on his Bandcamp for whatever you want, along with the rest of his work, is very good. The thing about Peggy is most of his work has a strong political element, but there's also stuff that's standard hip-hop braggadocio, as well, and he's extremely aggressive with his points. A track to be careful of: I just killed a cop now I'm horny, which was controversial for its sampling of the murder of deputy Kyle Dinkheller. I usually skip this one.

    Quelle Chris's "Guns" album. Not much to say, a very in-depth exploration of gun violence in the US.

    Clipping just dropped Chapter 319 which is extremely timely, and unlike everything else I've pointed at, is pretty obvious in its points. If you're unfamiliar with Clipping, the project is built around noise and hip hop, and generally tried to make the music feel like the violence it portrays. Again, you'll see a mix of commentary and standard braggadocio.

    Brother Ali is one of the few rappers I know of to actually have the federal government look into him for his music and religioius and political actions. He's white, converted to Islam as a teenager, and it helped guide him out of trouble and get his life together. Being a Muslim convert, as politically outspoken as he is, and going to the Middle East in the early 00s,, he's had some issues with a couple federal agencies. Songs like Uncle Sam Goddamn (this is a censored version put out by the label) put him ahead, but he's been preaching the same themes consistently through his career, generally intensely pro-social justice, and ascending towards a more preacher-like delivery as his career progresses. I can't think of a song of this that doesn't explore these themes in some way.

    The reason I listen to hip hop is Busdriver. A lot of the rappers I listen to were found because they collaborated with him. A lot of his work covers social commentaries, but I just liked the sound of Imaginary Places when I was 14. Species of Property deals directly with black equality through post-slavery. Ministry of the Torture Couch is also a song I'd recommend, but I can't say anything about it without getting in the way of interpretations. He's a bit more out there on the artistic scale.

    Aesop Rock tends to not be directly political, but will also occasionally veer directly into it, particularly earlier in his career. Labor Days. I'm still not sure what to think of the album, it's absolutely dense like a lot of his work. His later albums are more introspective, largely about his own troubles.

    5 votes
  3. Bauke
    (edited )
    Link
    Northlane & In Hearts Wake - Equinox (lyrics in the description) It's a 3 part EP (but best listened to in its entirety, of course) about the refugee crisis in 2016 (the first song, Refuge), and...

    It's a 3 part EP (but best listened to in its entirety, of course) about the refugee crisis in 2016 (the first song, Refuge), and fear being used as an instrument of control and the destruction of communities (the third song, Hologram). The second song Equinox is the interlude between the others. And while it is from 2016, a lot of it still applies to today just as much as it did back then. When this originally came out Northlane & In Hearts Wake also did an interview where they explain it a bit more.

    When I first heard this EP I had this moment of clarity highlighting that some people are such fucks to each other for absolutely no good reason, and it really pissed me off. And now when I listen to it again, it still pisses me off. It was this lyric in particular:

    Hostile humankind thinking with a narrow mind.

    There's a plethora of excuses why some people just decide to perpetuate their bullshit rhetoric and hatred on others, but for every single one of them it truly just boils down to this absolute lack of self-awareness and narrow-minded thinking. And it really gets under my skin.

    Anyways, it's a great EP and I urge you to listen to it even if you're not into metal.

    The lyrics to this song are not subtle here, so I'll leave the explaining for them to do. A song from 2016 about the exact thing people are protesting about today, and were protesting about a decade ago. And a decade ago before that. And a decade ago before that. And a decade ago before that...

    Excuse me Mr. officer, no need for war. Trying to drain my energy, but you can’t keep me down.

    I can’t walk this road forever, and I can’t forget the past. My soul is under pressure, but it won’t kill me.

    3 votes
  4. Happy_Shredder
    Link
    There is sooooo much man. A few I like: Cattle Decapitation - Bring Back the Plague. For the lulz (originally released Nov 2019). Gaylord - Circle of Spears. Queer anarchist black metal. Neckbeard...

    There is sooooo much man. A few I like:

    The punk/anarchopunk tags on bandcamp are a good rabbit hole too. Anticitizen, Body Farm, SlutBomb, Automated Terror Machine, Tortur, Cliterati, Lifeless Dark, Appalachian Terror Unit, Redbait, Unsanitary Napkin...

    There's also classics like Oi Polloi, Discharge, Extreme Noise Terror etc

    3 votes
  5. tunneljumper
    Link
    Mr muthafuckin’ eXquire: (“Burn Baby Burn”)[https://youtu.be/5rTAWOkQE78] (nsfw) is the most recent one that immediately comes to mind. “They even shot her in her sleep and she was out there savin...

    Mr muthafuckin’ eXquire: (“Burn Baby Burn”)[https://youtu.be/5rTAWOkQE78] (nsfw) is the most recent one that immediately comes to mind.

    “They even shot her in her sleep and she was out there savin lives
    They shot Tamir for playin
    He shot them just for prayin
    Then the cops went out to cop them burger king with extra fries
    The cops are kkk and they ain't even tryna hide
    I went and caught the bigger k and then I got it super sized”

    3 votes
  6. [2]
    moonbathers
    Link
    Contempt Breeds Contamination by Trivium is a song from 2006 about the murder of Amadou Diallo by police. Four plainclothes cops shot him as he was hanging outside the building he lived in, later...

    Contempt Breeds Contamination by Trivium is a song from 2006 about the murder of Amadou Diallo by police. Four plainclothes cops shot him as he was hanging outside the building he lived in, later claiming they thought he was either a serial rapist or a lookout for someone else. They shot at him 41 times. He had no weapons on him, and the officers were acquitted on all charges.

    3 votes
    1. ReapersGale
      Link Parent
      I'd go further and say that most of The Crusade would be fitting.

      I'd go further and say that most of The Crusade would be fitting.

      3 votes
  7. [2]
    krg
    Link
    I'd be lying if I said I was familiar with Woody Guthrie's oeuvre (though I know This Land is Your Land), but this topic spurred me to look up some of his music. I'm digging All You Fascists Bound...

    I'd be lying if I said I was familiar with Woody Guthrie's oeuvre (though I know This Land is Your Land), but this topic spurred me to look up some of his music. I'm digging All You Fascists Bound to Lose. Hillbillies against fascists!

    Woody Guthrie's "This Machine Kills Fascists" guitar inspired Tom Morello's "Arm the Homeless" guitar. Speaking of which, I'll throw RATM's No Shelter in the mix, if only because they talk shit about Godzilla (really, entertainment leading to complacence) while being featured in the Godzilla (1998) soundtrack.

    2 votes
    1. smores
      Link Parent
      You might already know this, but This Land is Your Land was originally a protest song, too. Guthrie wrote it after crossing the country during the Great Depression, and after hearing Kate Smith's...

      You might already know this, but This Land is Your Land was originally a protest song, too. Guthrie wrote it after crossing the country during the Great Depression, and after hearing Kate Smith's recent recording of God Bless America. He originally penned the title "God Blessed America", as a direct response to "God Bless America", but crossed it out and changed it to "This Land is Made for You & Me" (he then crossed out "is Made for You & Me", as well, leaving just "This Land").

      There were two verses on the original lyric sheet that were dropped when the song was added to American school books in the 50's:

      Verse 4

      Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
      A sign was painted said: Private Property,
      But on the back side it didn't say nothing —
      God blessed America for me.
      [This land was made for you and me.]

      Verse 6

      One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
      By the Relief Office I saw my people —
      As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
      God blessed America for me.
      [This land was made for you and me.]

      2 votes
  8. vakieh
    Link
    This has been my favourite political statement 'song' since the year it was released and counting. Why is marijuana not legal? Why is marijuana not legal? It's a natural plant that grows in the...

    This has been my favourite political statement 'song' since the year it was released and counting.

    Why is marijuana not legal? Why is marijuana not legal?
    It's a natural plant that grows in the dirt.
    Do you know what's not natural?
    80 year old dudes with hard-ons. That's not natural.
    But we got pills for that.
    We're dedicating all our medical resources to keeping the old guys erect,
    But we're putting people in jail for something that grows in the dirt?

    You know we have more prescription drugs now.
    Every commercial that comes on TV is a prescription drug ad.
    I can't watch TV for four minutes without thinking I have five serious diseases.
    Like: "Do you ever wake up tired in the morning?"
    Oh my god I have this, write this down. Whatever it is, I have it.
    Half the time I don't even know what the commercial is…
    People running in fields or flying kites or swimming in the ocean.
    I'm like that is the greatest disease ever. How do you get that?
    That disease comes with a hot chick and a puppy.

    The schools now… It is all about self-esteem in the schools now.
    Build the kids' self-esteem, make them feel good about themselves.
    If everybody grows up with high self-esteem, who is going to dance in our strip clubs?
    What's going to happen to our porno industry?
    These women don't just grown on trees.
    It takes lots of drunk dads missing dance recitals before you decide to blow a goat on the internet for fifty bucks.
    And if that disappears, where does that leave me on a Friday night with my new high speed connection?

    Masterminds are another word that comes up all the time.
    You keep hearing about these terrorists masterminds that get killed in the middle east.
    Terrorists masterminds.
    Mastermind is sort of a lofty way to describe what these guys do, don't you think?
    They're not masterminds.
    "OK, you take bomb, right? And you put in your backpack. And you get on bus and you blow yourself up. Alright?"
    "Why do I have to blow myself up? Why can't I just…"
    "Who's the fucking mastermind here? Me or you?"

    Americans, let's face it: We've been a spoiled country for a long time.
    Do you know what the number one health risk in America is?
    Obesity. They say we're in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
    An epidemic like it is polio. Like we'll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
    The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004.
    "How'd you get through it grandpa?"
    "Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere."

    Nobody knows why were getting fatter? Look at our lifestyle.
    I'll sit at a drive thru.
    I'll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.
    Everything is mega meal, super sized. Want biggie fries, super sized, want to go large.
    You want to have thirty burgers for a nickel you fat mother fucker. There's room in the bag. Take it!
    Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It's only three more cents.

    Sometimes you have to suffer a little bit in your youth to motivate yourself to succeed in later life.
    Do you think if Bill Gates got laid in high school, do you think there'd be a Microsoft?
    Of course not.
    You got to spend a long time in your own locker with your underwear shoved up your ass before you start to think,
    "You'll see. I'm going to take on the world of computers! I'll show them."

    We're in one of the richest countries in the world,
    But the minimum wage is lower than it was thirty five years ago.
    There are homeless people everywhere.
    This homeless guy asked me for money the other day.
    I was about to give it to him and then I thought he was going to use it on drugs or alcohol.
    And then I thought, that's what I'm going to use it on.
    Why am I judging this poor bastard.
    People love to judge homeless guys. Like if you give them money they're just going to waste it.
    Well, he lives in a box, what do you want him to do? Save it up and buy a wall unit?
    Take a little run to the store for a throw rug and a CD rack? He's homeless.
    I walked behind this guy the other day.
    A homeless guy asked him for money.
    He looks right at the homeless guy and says why don't you go get a job you bum.
    People always say that to homeless guys like it is so easy.
    This homeless guy was wearing his underwear outside his pants.
    Outside his pants. I'm guessing his resume isn't all up to date.
    I'm predicting some problems during the interview process.
    I'm pretty sure even McDonalds has a "underwear goes inside the pants" policy.
    Not that they enforce it really strictly, but technically I'm sure it is on the books.

    2 votes
  9. shan
    Link
    Love Me, I'm A Liberal is pretty funny despite some dated language and references edit: & I personally think Steppenwolf - Monster is underappreciated

    Love Me, I'm A Liberal is pretty funny despite some dated language and references

    edit: & I personally think Steppenwolf - Monster is underappreciated

    1 vote
  10. [2]
    IHardlyKnewHer
    Link
    Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam

    Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam

    1. pvik
      Link Parent
      Also, Nina Simone performing 'Why?" live three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

      Also, Nina Simone performing 'Why?" live three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

  11. Autoxidation
    Link
    As far as political music goes, it's hard to not mention Rise Against. Just from their most recent album, Wolves, there are songs like Welcome to the Breakdown, which is explicitly about the...

    As far as political music goes, it's hard to not mention Rise Against. Just from their most recent album, Wolves, there are songs like Welcome to the Breakdown, which is explicitly about the election of Trump and the 2016 political climate.

    How Many Walls feels pretty great to rock out to. The Violence features lyrics like "The bombs are getting closer everyday, that can never happen here we used to say. Have these wars come to our doorstep? Has this moment finally come?"

    If you like this style, you'll like many of their older albums, which all feature political songs.

  12. smores
    Link
    This is more of a song honoring protest songs than itself a protest song, but I really got into Nina Cried Power from Hozier, ft Mavis Staples. Song Exploder, one of my favorite podcasts, has an...

    This is more of a song honoring protest songs than itself a protest song, but I really got into Nina Cried Power from Hozier, ft Mavis Staples.

    Song Exploder, one of my favorite podcasts, has an episode where they talk to Hozier and Mavis about it, it's absolutely worth a listen!

  13. ChuckS
    Link
    I was just listening to "Impeach the President" by The Honey Drippers on my way into work this morning. Nice funky protest music.

    I was just listening to "Impeach the President" by The Honey Drippers on my way into work this morning. Nice funky protest music.

  14. Iliketoast
    Link
    I listen to "Time for Guillotines" from Trevor Moore pretty often. He's a comedian but speaks pretty truthfully. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exnaY0l4XsM

    I listen to "Time for Guillotines" from Trevor Moore pretty often. He's a comedian but speaks pretty truthfully.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exnaY0l4XsM