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Soundcheck: Protest Anthems

Soundcheck: Protest Anthems

Every week, we bring you #SOUNDCHECK — your destination for the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that AUX cord. This week's roundup features 10 of our favorite emerging and established artists. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

Five or so years ago, during a particularly troubled stretch of time that saw the Charleston church shooting and the deaths of both Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray, it wasn't uncommon to hear the chants of Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" echo through streets all over America. By the end of 2015, it was the critical consensus that the song, and its triumphant lyric "we gon' be alright," marked a new generation of protests.

Now, in 2020, America is witnessing another profound period of pressurized change. With it come the anthems that fuel the long days and nights out in the streets. This time we've seen protestors dance to Chief Keef's "Faneto" as buildings burn in the background, and wrestle cops with Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck" as the soundtrack. Of course, Childish Gambino's "This Is America," and Lamar's "Alright" have also resurfaced. This is all to say that America has a long legacy of protest anthems. After the jump are some you should know.

"F*ck Tha Police" - N.W.A

"F*ck the police comin' straight from the underground!/ A young n*gga got it bad ‘cause I'm brown/ And not the other color, so police think/ They have the authority to kill a minority"

Ruthless Records

"This Is America" - Childish Gambino

"This is America/ Don't catch you slippin' now/ Look at how I'm livin' now/ Police be trippin' now"

RCA Records

"Alright" - Kendrick Lamar

"My knees gettin' weak, and my gun might blow/ But we gon' be alright"


"Soldier" - Erykah Badu

"To my folks on the picket line/ Don't stop til you change they mind"

UMG Recordings

"Knuck If You Buck" - Crime Mob

"Jumping off from on the stage, throwing bows like Johnny Cage/ All my n*ggas starting riots, knocking down the barricade"

Reprise Records

"Freedom" - Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar

"I break chains all by myself/ Won't let my freedom rot in hell"

Parkwood Entertainment, LLC

"Shake The Room" - Pop Smoke ft. Quavo

"In New York I gotta shake in this bitch/ Shake, shake, shake, shake (shake it up)"

Republic Records

"Faneto" - Chief Keef

"Feds at my door, jump out the window, n*gga"

GBE/RBC Records

"Pig Feet" - Terrace Martin

"Bring the cops out, bring the pigs"

Sounds of Crenshaw / Empire

"FTP" - YG

"F*ck 12, bitch, I got the nerves/ F*ck 12, bitch, they get on my nerves"

Def Jam Recordings