Listen To The Related Podcast Episode Here: Rebelations Podcast Ep. 18: Black And Afro-Latino Artists With Activist And Conscious Songs
Hey everyone, thanks for joining me again!
Here are some dope songs I found by artists who at times, have hit home with the messages they’ve had in their music. Very thought-provoking. Check them out. Look out for this week’s ‘Rebelations Podcast’ episode, where I’ll be talking about each of the songs mentioned in this week’s blog.
Afilando los Cuchillos- Residente, iLe,Bad Bunny (2019):
Puerto Ricans showed the mainland that when you want a corrupt leader out, you take the action that is your right to take. Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his position as the governor of Puerto Rico after multiple mass protests. “Afilando los Cuchillos,” a protest song, by Residente, Bad Bunny, and iLe, lets Ricardo know how the island felt about his betrayal:
“The people cannot stand more injustices. They got tired of your lies and the manipulation of the news. Hey, hey, all the groups, all the hoods, we are our own militia. You will not take advantage of us again. You are a corrupt man who takes corrupt advice.
This is America – Childish Gambino (2018)
Donald Glover’s powerful message to the world shocked the American public
when it was first released, however, years later, it remains relevant. The music video opens with a lengthy tracking shot, set to traditional, African-inspired music. However, the sudden gunshots shatter the illusion, launching the powerful message of police brutality and violence.
Run The Jewels 4-Killer Mike, El-P(2020):
“You so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me/Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper—‘I can’t breathe’/And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV,”
Killer Mike raps on “walking in the snow,” his voice urgent. The lyric is about Eric Garner. Now it’s about George Floyd, too. That these two unjust killings occurred under tragically, uncannily similar circumstances (out in the open; with other officers standing by; with a man being suffocated to death; on camera) nearly six years apart only underscores the unending flow of racist violence in America.
The state of heightened rage such violence induces is untenable and corrosive. Yet love needs fury to fight hate. Clearly none of this is lost on the pair of indie, old head, no-fucks-giving, chain-snatching, self-professed menaces to sobriety behind this project. Their boisterous new album, RTJ4, makes time for trash-talking and chin-checking amid insurrection.
My Bible-Nas (2021)
This song by Nas truly shows his growth. Nas has been in the game for over 20 years.
“Second chapter, and you get what you give
It’s power in how you live, I sit and talk with the kids
And tell ’em just how it is, go straight to avoid the bids
Livin’ fast can wait, stay down and work on your grades
Speak gospel for the next generation
You can have it all, just don’t side with Satan
I seen that take down most of the greatest
Hotel suites, Hollywood stars hangin’
The other side of what you think is fly
Your jewelry could be cursed and so can your ride
Let that soak in your mind, Suburbans and Beamers
Shot up with Ninas, how to stop a young genius
Spiritual like a deep cut from Shirley Caesar
I wonder if it’s Jesus when a baby reach up
Sharpenin’ up myself ’cause I know they need us
My African skin gave me the passion to win (ooh, ooh)
Prayin’ this doesn’t come to a tragic end (and I pray)”
This chapter called “Women”, y’all been the rib since the beginnin’
A woman’s intuition, is what a man is missin’
To understand your wisdom is something I had to learn
Somehow you the most unprotected on planet Earth
Your smile lift me up and your eyes kiss my soul
Your sweetness is honeycomb, such a lovely tone
You hold the power to make a house a home
Because of you, I wanna right my wrongs (love)
Kiss your mother ’cause we only get one (one)
A grandmother’s words to her grandson
Beautiful minds develop in time (yeah)
Checks every month ’cause you held me for nine
They might see an image of a woman who’s flawed
But I see a woman in the image of God
Highest regards, I light a cigar
To man, woman and children, my Bible is ours (yeah)”
Rapsody-All Black Everything (2011)
“All black belts for all the blacks that didn’t buckle
In the stuggle, Black medallions medalin they didn’t love us
Crosses burning in our yards, Black bangers for the wrists
Up on the wrist I told them this
Black friday in the black
Just like a prophet I would profit
To the black’s worth
To the blackness of my bra
Gon support you
Word, to Phylicia Rashad’s black lashes,
All blacks they used to make up all the back of buses
I wear liner on the lids for all my brothers
And the mothers, black picks we stay ahead of dissin black
My bookbag be dippin cause rapsody has got your back
Blacks they be hypin, I’m the light that lit your match
A black watch for all the times I watched MTV raps
Black lights and blues burn when I record for watts
And every black like Troy Davis who never had a fair shot
All black everything, everything black
Culture over everything, yo, we taking it back
Chocquibtown- Somos Los Prietos (2018)
Included on the album Sin Miedo by the Colombian band, this avant-garde mix of R&B with reggaeton, hip-hop with Jamaican dancehall and Afrobeat is a hymn to diversity that celebrates the rhythms of the Pacific. A tribute to his African roots that has recently inspired the series Somos los Prietos, a new television production from Sony Pictures Television that will address racism in Latin America. Set on the Pacific coast of Colombia, it will tell the story of a group of Afro youth who confront poverty and racism through music.
Some of the lyrics:
“Traigo en mi voz el mensaje de mi gente
Y también el flow que es lo que prevalece
Si quiero cantar mi sueño va a ser real
No se rinde el que nació donde por todo hay que luchar
Mi estilo es diferente al del monto
Que suene la marimba mientras bailamos los dos
El ritmo es negro y eso ya se comprobó
Pero todo lo negro no es malo como dice la televisión…”
The Story of O.J. – Jay-Z (2017)
Released in 2017, The Story of O.J. touches on African-American culture, detailing the traditional and stereotypical roles within the black community. Most notably, the release explains how the black community is affected by money. The lead line “I’m not black, I’m O.J.,” references the idea that wealth and fame can transcend race. The song also features samples from Nina Simone’s hit Four Women.
“You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it
Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children
Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine
But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for nine ninety-nine
I turned that two to a four, four to an eight
I turned my life into a nice first week release date,
Y’all out here still takin’ advances, huh?
Me and my niggas takin’ real chances, uh
Y’all on the ‘gram holdin’ money to your ear
There’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here, yeah”
How Many – Miguel (2016)
R&B artist Miguel’s song How Many was released in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile outside the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The Black Lives Matter anthem asks the questions, how many more black lives does it take before change comes?
“Brothers and sisters it’s time to wake up, wake up, wake up
Brothers and sisters it’s time to say somethin’, do somethin’, make ’em
How many black lives? How many black lives?
How many heartbeats turned into flat lines? Oh oh
How many black lives? How many black lives?
Does it take to wake the change?
Does it take to wake the change?
Does it take to wake the change?
We can’t let them die in vain!
What it takes to wake the change?”
Alright-Kendrick Lamar (2015)
Taken from his third studio album, Alright is Kendrick Lamar’s lyrically optimistic take on the current state of affairs. It begins with the infamous lines “Alls my life, I had to fight” from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. After it was released, the song became associated with the Black Lives Matter movement after several youth-led protests were observed chanting the chorus. In 2019, Pitchfork named it the best song of the 2010s.
“What you want you, a house? You, a car?
40 acres and a mule? A piano, a guitar?
Anything, see my name is Lucy, I’m your dog
Motherfucker, you can live at the mall
I can see the evil, I can tell it I know when it’s illegal
I don’t think about it, I deposit every other zero
Thinkin’ of my partner put the candy, paint it on the regal
Diggin’ in my pocket ain’t a profit, big enough to feed you
Everyday my logic, get another dollar just to keep you
In the presence of your chico ah!
I don’t talk about it, be about it, everyday I see cool
If I got it then you know you got it, Heaven, I can reach you
Pat Dawg, Pat Dawg, Pat Dawg, my dog, that’s all
Bick back and Chad, I trap the bag for y’all
I rap, I black on track so rest assured
My rights, my wrongs, I write ’til I’m right with God”
Worthy Of Mentioning:
Wiyathul – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (2008)
Written in his mother languages, Galpu, Djambarrpuynu and Gumatj, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s first album Gurrumul was an incredibly raw depiction of Indigenous art in modern culture. Wiyathul is an ode to the country and a sublime and angelic release from the blind, Indigenous artist.
Big K.R.I.T.- Energy (2019)
“Hot life (hot life), hot life (hot life)
Hot tie (hot tie), don’t drown (don’t drown)
Big breath (big breath), taste stale (taste stale), stay cool (stay cool)
When I’m down (when I’m down), dead vibe (dead vibe)
That’s right (that’s right), on top (on top)
That height (that height), I fly (I fly), skydive (skydive)
High-five (high-five), we won’t die (we won’t die)
See hope (see hope), see drive (see drive), see why (see why)
In my eyes (in my eyes), win big (win big), win life (win life)
Take off (take off), bye bye (bye bye)
No slip (no slip), black ice (black ice)
Big shooter (big shooter), lit fly (lit fly)
Don’t stop (don’t stop), must try (must try)
Energy (energy), that’s why (that’s why)
I’m doing the most
In the middle of the road or runnin’ the globe
I’m fightin’ for doors to give everything back what they owe
So close (so close), don’t fold (don’t fold)
Live bright (live bright), live bold (live bold)
Kick back (kick back), get close (get close)
Light it up, light it up for yours”
“Thank you for reading this far; even if you disagree with what I have to say, I hope you were able to see things from my point of view. Perhaps as I go through life, or perhaps as I talk to more people about this, my views may change. Perhaps your perspective will shift. The unknown. Cheers.”
Written By: Mario Funes
DM via Instagram/Twitter: @wokeuparebel
Don’t forget to check out the Artist Spotlight section of the Newsletter to find out what our picks were that stood out from the Woke Up A Rebel Playlist.
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