[ View the story "The Stream community's top 15 political/social hip-hop songs ever" on Storify] The Stream community's top 15 political/social hip-hop songs ever We asked our community to share their thoughts about hip-hop's best political/social songs, and this is what they told us.
AJAMStream· Thu, Sep 19 2013 12:51:35
Curating a list of Top 15 Political/Social Hip-Hop Songs Ever for @AJAMStream show tonight with @THEKINGDMC, what tracks should I add?Julio Ricardo Varela
This is what you told us.
The most popular choice, by far, was Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." Icess Fernandez was the first to tell us that we had to include the 1989 opening song of Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing."
And I'll be first and say Fight the Power. Classic and good!facebook.com
Here it is, with a serious hat tip to actor Rosie Perez.
(Explicit lyrics.) Best line: "Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps."
The Greatest Opening Credits in Movie Historyirishace11
Before she was a Hollywood darling, Queen Latifah broke into hip-hop's male-dominated genre. In 1994, she released "U.N.I.T.Y."
Best lines: "But don't you be calling out my name. I bring wrath to those who disrespect me like a dame."
Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y.queenlatifahvevo
The Stream's co-host, Wajahat Ali, made sure he got his choice on the list. "The Choice is Yours" (1991) by Black Sheep.
Best lines: "Engine engine number 9, party peoples feeling fine. If your life goes off the track. Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up."
@julito77 @AJAMStream @THEKINGDMC you must add Black Sheep - The Choice is YoursWajahat Ali
Black Sheep - The Choice Is Yoursblacksheepvevo
Another "must add" was Lauryn HIll with "Mr. Intentional," released in 2002.
Best lines: "Wake up you've been sleeping. Take up your bed and walk. Stop blaming other people. Oh it's nobody else's fault.
Lauryn Hill - unplugged - Mr Intentionalsimplecense
Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendal" (1992) focused on the life of a homeless man.
Best line: "Be strong, serve God only, know that if you do, beautiful heaven awaits."
Arrested Development - Mr. Wendalboynamedfuture
Many in our community told us that "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five had to be on the list. This [year] classic was one of the first hip-hop songs that spoke to the realities of urban life.
(Explicit lyrics.) Best line: "It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes we wonder how I keep from goin' under."
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Messagevintagehiphopseattle
Several 2pac mentions were shared. "Changes," released posthumously in 1998, used a Bruce Hornsby sample to the challenges of life.
(Explicit lyrics.) Best lines: "I see no changes, all I see is racist faces. Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races."
2pac - Changes (Official Video)simplyrapmusic
In 2007 Common released "The People."
(Explicit lyrics.) Best lines: "And the struggle of the brothas and the folks. With lovers under dope, experiments to discover hopes."
Common - The Peoplecommonvevo
During the Bush years, several high-profile rappers released scathing critiques of the president. Here is the 2005 song, "Georgia Bush" by Lil Wayne.
(Explicit lyrics.) Best lines: "But I know people that died in that pool. I know people that died in them schools."
Lil Wayne - Georgia Bushjuan64111
Jay-Z and Ne-Yo recorded "Minority Report" (2006) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
(Explicit lyrics.) Best line: "The same idiots that can't get water into a major American city in less than three days are trying to win a war..."
Minority Report Jay-Z and Ne-Yoalmiten29
Many fans of our community who follow the Latino hip-hop scene told us that Calle 13's "Latinoamérica" had to be added. The song, released in 2011 dissects the common cultural and political bonds in the region.
Best line: Soy el desarrollo en carne viva, nn discurso sin saliva. ("I am developing raw, a political speech without saliva.)"
Calle 13 - Latinoaméricaelvecindariocalle13
There was also mentions of Ana Tijoux's "Shock," a 2012 protest song. Best line:
"Tu estado de control, tu trono podrido de oro, tu política y tu riqueza y tu tesoro no. ("Your state of control, your corrupt throne of gold, your politics and your wealth, and your treasure, no.")
Ana Tijoux - "Shock" in Arizonandlonvideos
One song that combined both hip-hop and hard rock is Rage Against The Machine's "Down Rodeo." (1996)
(Explicit lyrics.) Best line: "These people ain't seen a brown-skin man since their grandparents bought one."
Rage Against The Machine - Down Rodeor4tm2
A newer addition is "Occupation Freedom" (2011) by Ground Zero and The Global Block Collective.
Best line: "Occupy the streets, let's occupy the nation, but don't occupy your mind with false corporations."
Occupy Wall St. Hip Hop Anthem: Occupation Freedom, Ground Zero And The Global Block Collectivedjvibetv
And who can forget "Self Destruction," the megastar jam from 1989? Best line:
"So to crush the stereotype here's what we did. We got ourselves together so that you could unite and fight for what's right."
Stop the Violence Movement - Self Destruction [Official Video HD]oldschoolhiphophd
So, which ones did we miss? Let us know here.