For as long as the Revolution has been going on here in America, Black people have always found a way to harmonize the joy as well as sing through the pain.
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Two artists that helped mend us with music from both sides of the spectrum are worldwide hitmakers Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. The past collaborators have come forth yet again to put the problems of the world in song, with K. Dot appearing on the official remix to Bey’s fan-favorite RENAISSANCE album cut, “AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM.”
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Sampling and directly inspired by ’90s rapper Kilo Ali’s 1990 track “America Has A Problem (Cocaine),” Beyoncé incorporated the most clever of double entendres in her rendition that compares the drug’s real-life addiction to her real-life appeal shared by the Beyhive. Lamar is quick to pledge his allegiance as well, calling himself an “honorary” member of her global fanbase in his opening verse, but the message is way deeper than a love for the number one diva in this game for a minute. Cocaine addiction, and drug abuse overall, have played a huge part in contributing to the increasing number of overdose-related deaths in America. Putting that into a bit more perspective, the National Institute On Drug Abuse reported that drug-involved overdose deaths were a little under 20,000 for the year 1999; in 2021, that number skyrocketed to over 106,000 with a substantially steady increase within those 20 years. Suffice it to say America still has a problem, and so we sing.
Of course, as we mentioned prior, that’s something we know how to do quite well as a culture. Over the decades, Black Americans have used the gift of song to center our people and make us all feel a bit more connected in those shared everyday struggles. Racism, the mistreatment of women, ageism — if it’s an issue, we’ve pretty much put a tune behind it!
As we all take time to enjoy Beyoncé and Kendrick’s third outing as a musical duo, we couldn’t help but reminisce on some of the greatest, most groundbreaking Black political anthems that we’ve heard throughout history.
Take a look below at 20 prominent political anthems sung by Black musicians, and let us know which bangers give you that feeling of Black Power:
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20 Groundbreaking Black Political Anthems was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. “Mississippi Goddam” – Nina Simone
2. “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar
3. “U.N.I.T.Y.” – Queen Latifah
4. “Glory” – Common & John Legend
5. “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” – James Brown
6. “Comment #1” – Gil Scott-Heron
7. “Fight The Power” – Public Enemy
8. “Changes” – 2Pac (feat. Talent)
9. “Freedom” – Beyoncé (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
10. “This is America” – Childish Gambino / Donald Glover
11. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – unknown
12. “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” – James Weldon Johnson & John Rosamond Johnson
13. “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday
14. “A Change Is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke
15. “We Shall Overcome” – Rev. Charles Tindley
16. “Freedom Highway” – The Staple Singers
17. “When The Revolution Comes” – The Last Poets
18. “Living For The City” – Stevie Wonder
19. “Get Up Stand Up” – Bob Marley And The Wailers
20. “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five
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