Hey Readers! Here are a few of my favorite protest songs of all time. Now I will be posting a playlist at the end of this post so check that out too because there are just so many amazing songs to help you protest & get your fix of social activist songs.
1. American Idiot- Green Day
This song came out during the Bush era of presendicy and it rocked! It came at a time when America was being told all of these lies and being looked to be a fool in the public eye. Bush was pushing these crazy extremist tactics out on everyone and just being a big idiot. Due to this the youth were feeling tired and scared at the same time and it could be seen everywhere. That’s where Green Day came in and with their critically acclaimed 2005 album American Idiot and the title track they made a generation of youth feel like they weren’t alone. Besides being just a bomb album it really was an anthem and rallying cry to youth everywhere that we didn’t have to believe the hype.
2. Killing In the Name Of- Rage Against the Machine
This band was huge in the ’90s with their mix of punk, hip-hop and thrash with a message. They were prominent during a time where you had things like the Rodney King riots happening as well as Bush senior send troops to an unnecessary war and feeling the effects left over from the ’80s Reagan era. Between the drug war and gang violence there was just a lot going on and Rage Against the Machine was just what the youth needed. Their most famous song to date is Killing in the Name Of about police brutality, the KKK and the government. It’s a fire punch in the face song perfect if your fed up with the way things are going in the world and need to headband or yell it out. Zack de la Rocha’s lyrics basically said most of what people thought all the time. Their songs still resonate with all the struggles still happening today.
3. Talkin About A Revolution- Tracy Chapmen
I love Tracy Chapmen. Here music is folksy and soothing with a great message. One of my favorite songs of hers is Talk About A Revolution in which she questions basically everything this system stands for.
4. Same Thing- Flobots
I found out about the Flobots in high school around 2008 when their single No Handlebars came out and loved it. Years later I went back in their catology and checked out more from their first album and learned they are a socially active band with many views I feel myself. Their songs like Same Thing remind us that we are being brain washed by the government and system and we must start a revolution. Same Thing is a song dictated to the turmoil the American government has but us through. All the wars and killings that us the people never asked for. Year after year the same thing happens with no recourse and we must get out of this hamster weal.
5. Get Up, Stand Up- Bob Marley & The Wailers
This one I don’t even have to explain it’s Bob Marley he was the king of putting social commentary into his music trying to wake up the people. Get Up, Stand Up is a classic by him and is a common protest song to this day. The lyrics honestly go so well with any struggle “Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for Your Rights. Get Up, Stand Up Don’t Give Up the Fight.” My favorite line of the song comes from the Wailers when one of them goes where sick and tired of your easy slizzy games” Over all this is an anthem for the ages.
6. Uncle Sam Goddamn- Brother Ali
This song really sticks it to you. It’s a song about all the lies this country stands for. The reality of this country and not what they force feed you through school. It’s beautifully done and a banger with a really important message to all, Don’t believe the hype!
7. Fight the Power- Public Enemy
This is an OG hip-hop protest song by a dope group Public Enemy who where always tellin it like it is. They were all about bringing you that concus hip-hop reminding you of the harsh realities in the black community. This song was an anthem to the youth like Get Up Stand Up was in the reggae genera.
8. Everything Changes- SOJA
This comes from a band that I feel in love with around 2014 and haven’t looked back. Their a reggae band from Arlington, VA and they take a lot of inspiration from Bob Marley. Now no not like Sublime in the ’90s who basically copied what he did but more in a taking the revolutionary spirit he put into his music. Through songs like Everything Changes SOJA askes the listener to question what is out there and what you can support. Everything Changes questions how we can go around living our lives without careing about the homeless guy outside your window, or the creater can make us to be so hateful of each other. Their an amazing band.
9. Changes- 2 Pac
Another song I don’t even have to go into detail about. 2 Pac really wanted to see real change in our communities and this song really is testament to that. In Changes he talks about things like police brutality, the hood & getting along. What’s sad is that Pac’s vision has not been realized even after having a black president.
10. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised- Gil Scott-Heron
This “song” if you could call it that is an ode to the revolution. Gill Scott-Heron is saying in this track that the revolution will not be televised that you must go out into the streets and protest and support it. It wouldn’t come from you watching tv screen with fake shows and terrible commercials. This could even be applied to today the revolution will not be smart phoned or computerized.
11. What’s Going On- Marvin Gay
The legend that is Marvin Gay was always on point weather through his love ballets to his protest songs and everything in between. What’s Going On was a real question to society on what really is going on out there. Back in the ’60s-’70s drugs where running ramp it, Vietnam and Korea mixed with the Cold War where happening and blacks where still being killed a high rate. It’s a beautiful soul track that last the test of time and sadly those questions he is asking are still relevant.
Till Next Time…Fight for Your Rights!