Run The Jewels
At this point in time we should not have to go to any length introducing Run The Jewels but just in case you have not heard of them, we urge you to check them out. This duo makes incredible productions, they are community organisers, their flow is brilliant and their songs are just so catchy. On top of that, they use their voices fiercely and now that their vocal chords resonate to an even larger audience they keep at it and make one of the greatest rap/protest albums we’ve ever heard. Just check out these lyrics from a song that was written before Eric Garner’s murder and watch the single below – you’ll see that this is revolution music.
“The way I see it, you’re probably freest from the ages one to four
Around the age of five you’re shipped away for your body to be stored
They promise education, but really they give you tests and scores
And they predictin’ prison population by who scoring the lowest
And usually the lowest scores the poorest they look like me
And every day on the evening news, they feed you fear for free
And you so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me
Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, “I can’t breathe””
Full album: https://spoti.fi/3n4Aybb
War On Women
Hardworking hardcore band War On Women are what you might call familiars of Shouts as they were some of the webpage’s first interviews. Since a way back we have followed them grow into a force to be reckoned with as they take on large stages and use their talents frequently in support of all the voiceless. Their new album, Wonderful Hell, completely rips and is a wonderfully hellish way forward for the band. It’s punk, it’s angry, it’s current, it’s groovy and it’s just really, really good music.
Full album: waronwomen.bandcamp.com
Cybersecurity and computer networking by day and music and activism by night – this is Portes. As she explained to us in an interview this year her artistic name is the French name for doors: “Each style of music represents a door to explore.” Portes was born in Guatemala and at the age of 6 she was adopted to a family in the U.S. “Knowing I’m from a multicultural family grounds me in being open-minded and willing to experience other people and cultures, including their music.” Portes’ background shines through on her latest album; it is diverse, interesting and beautiful.
Full album: portesmusic.bandcamp.com
Ye Hai Baghawat
Different from most genres of music, rap has collectives. Many have perhaps heard of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan from the U.S., or Rap Against Dictatorship from Thailand. Wanandaf is a collective of rappers and activists out of India that make art for their fellow people – no matter who they are. This is an important factor because in India people are still, in 2020, degraded and mistreated because of their social class (otherwise known as the Caste system). Wanandaf take this seriously and drop bad ass albums while fighting for the human rights of Indian people.
Full album: https://spoti.fi/3mWK4gs
Short Sighted People In Power
Two friends that have been making music since the age of 14 is either a recipe for disaster or success. In the case of My Politic and their latest album it is the latter. Shortsighted People In Power is a reflection on the state of things in the U.S. and a very hard hitting, angry and honest album. As one half of the duo, Kaston Guffey, told us “I wanted to write something honest, something true”.
Full album: mypolitic.bandcamp.com
An educator, an activist and a musician. Although this is the resume of many of the artists that we feature here on Shouts, Valerie Orth has said she was first an activist before getting into using music as a tool for activism: “She challenged corporate behemoths like Proctor & Gamble, joined the fight for fair-trade coffee, and traveled to China to consolidate worker support. She led the effort to pass San Francisco’s anti-sweatshop law in 2005.”
Full album: store.valerieorth.com
By The Time I Get To Minnesota
The Cornel West Theory
From the front porch of the U.S. comes one of the baddest rap groups around. Vetted by the doctor himself, The Cornel West Theory bring hard, truth telling lyrics to their fellow citizens under noisy, punkish, sample driven beats. If you ever have the chance to ever catch them live, grab the opportunity – you won’t be disappointed.
Full album: thecornelwesttheory.bandcamp.com
The Sharecropper’s Daughter
Not necessarily a protest musician, but rather one of the greatest MC’s in the game for the past decade or so, Sa-Roc always brings consciousness and real talk to the table. Her latest effort is a huge LP with that has been in the works for at least a couple of years. Black empowerment, female empowerment and a plea to look inside ourselves and make the world a bit better is all wrapped up in her incredible bars.
Full album: sa-roc.bandcamp.com
Maybe the hardest listen on this list (for most people) brings the most animal friendly lyrics mixed between the grindcore noise and pummeling riffs. Australian band Facecutter are a vegan band and their songs are an angry statement about the world of factory farms, animal welfare and consumerism. This music tears your soul apart if you let it.
Full album: facecutter.bandcamp.com
For more selected protest music of 2020
check out our 100+ protest song playlist on Spotify:
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