With times of unrest and injustice, we often turn to music to find solace. Yet, music can also inspire and motivate us to get moving and actually put foot to pavement and fight the power. The following songs will do just that. Listen at the highest volume possible.
1. “Querido FBI,” Calle 13
“Querido FBI,” Calle 13
It’s completely an FU to the U.S. government and the FBI. Following the death of Puerto Rican revolutionary leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, who was a proponent proponent of independence of the isle, Residente wrote this scathing song. If you ever felt the government has done you wrong, this encapsulates every feeling of rage.
2. “Pigs,” Cypress Hill
“Pigs,” Cypress Hill
They’re definitely not talking about bacon here. Using the derogatory term for police officers, the legendary hip-hop group Cypress Hill go H.A.M. (pun intended) on the travesties done by bad cops.
3. “Bin Laden,” Immortal Technique f/ Mos Def & Jadakiss
“Bin Laden,” Immortal Technique f/ Mos Def & Jadakiss
Immortal Technique is one of the few voices in music to consistently go anti-establishment and do it well. This jaw-dropping masterpiece suggests 9/11 was an inside job, and after listening to his lyrical dexterity, you might start questioning it yourself.
4. “Plastico,” Ruben Blades & Willie Colon
“Plastico,” Rubén Blades & Willie Colon
Penned and sung by Blades, this seminal salsa track discussed the superficiality of 1970s/1980s society—yet it’s even more relevant today. The Panamanian icon urged Latinos to unite and educate ourselves rather than fall victim to the “Plastics.”
5. “Killing in the Name,” Rage Against the Machine
“Killing in the Name,” Rage Against the Machine
Written in response to the police beating of Rodney King, “Killing in the Name” is perhaps the finest and most exact song to describe police brutality. Mexican American Zach de la Rocha’s passionate delivery only drives the point home—right into your skull.
6. “Gimme The Power,” Molotov
“Gimme The Power,” Molotov
The political unrest is constant in Latin America, and Molotov expresses it over a smooth beat and ice-cold lyrics. They’re all about getting the power back to the people and out of the hands of politicos and police officers.
7. “Vengo,” Ana Tijoux
“Vengo,” Ana Tijoux
The Chilean MC’s classic is a cry for her country to honor its indigenous roots. Leave behind the conquistador customs and embrace our ancestors’ roots.
8. “La Rebelion,” Joe Arroyo
“La Rebelion,” Joe Arroyo
Masked as a danceable salsa track, Arroyo’s classic song is also an ode to the Black people of Colombia and Latin America. The track’s climax comes when the slave master hits one of his female slaves and her husband comes to defend her honor—hence the title. “La Rebelion” is reminder of our black heritage, history and culture.