Tag Archives: social justice

Best Of Protest Music 2021: A Turbulent Year Reviewed

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In the United States, the year begins with an insurgence when violent protesters storm the Capitol, an event that leaves five people dead and a divided nation terrified.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban make a swift takeover of the country which leads to many countries’ military operatives and other staff leaving in a chaotic fashion. The United Nations describes the current situation in Afghanistan as a humanitarian disaster.

See also: Action For Afghanistan: Racetraitor, Disappear, Life Force, Eighteen Visions And More On New Benefit Compilation

In Russia, opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, is sentenced to years in prison prompting protests around the country. Members of activist music collective Pussy Riot have been detained and jailed for actively using their voices in protest of the oppressive Russian regime. Some of them have fled Russia because of constant harassment from authorities and threats to their safety.

While the supreme court in Mexico rules that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional, state officials across the U.S. border in Texas put a new law into effect which bans abortion after six weeks.

Artists around the world are facing harassment and persecution for their art. While looking only at recent headlines on the page of Freemuse, a watchdog organisation dedicated to raising awareness about artists at risk and oppression of artistic freedom, one can see Turkey, Yemen, Kenya, and more countries detaining and sentencing artists for their words and work. In other countries, like Colombia, musicians have been murdered.

In India, tons of new protest songs have sprung up in support of Indian farmers protesting new laws that they say will destroy their livelihood and put the country’s agricultural sector in corporate hands. Although the Indian government has fought the protests by, among other things, shutting down music online (to which YouTube obliged) it hasn’t stopped the news from spreading. Heck, even Rhianna turned Twitter upside down while publicly voicing her support for Indian farmers.

See also: Farmers In India Are Protesting And Their Soundtrack Keeps Growing

The planet is overheating; we have not reached gender equality in most places; people are still racist as hell; everyone is at war; and animals, nature, and people around the world are being tortured on a daily basis.

But luckily, so that we all don’t tumble into a pit of depression, there are artists, journalists, and activists working hard every day, spending all their efforts on making this world more beautiful, more informative, and more just. The job for the rest of us is to be aware of that, to share that hard work, point it out, share arts, share beauty among each other, and stand together against tyranny wherever it rears its ugly head.

And Bandcamp, the world’s greatest online music service, has decided to help artists make the world more beautiful by waiving their revenue share on the first Friday of every month. This is a massive help for musicians around the world who have lost their income due to venues closing down because of COVID.

Below are some of our favorite protest albums released in 2021, and additionally you can check out our Spotify playlist, Selected Protest Music of 2021, which counts more than 100 releases from this year in over six hours.

We want to pay it forward by Shout!ing our praise and support for these artists from every rooftop we can. While in reality there are too many to count, some of our favorite releases of the year include: wildlife electronica taking a stand for endangered wildlife; all-female garage rock that kicks patriarchy in the teeth with infectious grooves and epic riffs that appear out of left field; a mesmerizing new release from the poet and multimedia pioneer of the Black Quantum Futurism movement; a compilation from Detroit featuring a wide array of musicians and audio samples taken from Black Lives Matter protests; hardcore political punk from Tunisia; transcontinental experimental jazz that calls global listeners to action; a Herculean feat of screamo from Galicia, Spain; punk rock from Florida whose melodies cling to you like the southern humidity out of which it’s born; pared down British indie-folk brimming with deftly-penned lyrics; a one of a kind, genre-, species-, and gender-bending release from Switzerland that exposes horrors against animals, and more! 

Thank you to all the musicians who have kept us engaged and called to action throughout the darkest moments of the year, and thank you to all the Shouts! supporters out there for joining us here on the rooftops of our crumbling empires and faulty institutions. May they collapse, and may we compassionately and fiercely rebuild what is broken, hand in hand, with speakers blasting the whole time.  


Black To The Future by Sons of Kemet

From the jazzy side of this year’s releases comes Black To The Future, a stunning piece of protest work by Sons of Kemet. This album will make you move your feet and want to get up and join the fight: “Another track, Hustle, has a deep, strong beat to it that makes one want to stand up and march in rhythm. The chorus, “Born from the mud with the hustle inside me”, repeats in such a way that it becomes a mantra that one can imagine thousands of people chanting on the street while demanding change.” – from our article about the album.

Blood Lemon by Blood Lemon

This all female garage rock group gives patriarchy a damn good kick in the butt on what is one of our favorite releases of 2021. Tackling subjects such as environmental inaction, colonialism, political faults of their own government and more, this three-piece pummels through your eardrums in a highly enjoyable manner. If you love riff filled, heavy, riot- grrrl rock then you need to hear Blood Lemon’s self titled debut album.

Territorios by Tenue

“Rarely do rage and patience find such companionship in one another as they do on this album; this is a kind of musical maturity not often seen in screamo, and another reason why Tenue are in a league of their own. You, listener, will feel catharsis, exhaustion, rage, amplification, and augmentation in this album, amidst its blasts and d-beats, its frenetic rising and swelling and exploding guitar work.” – from Nathaniel Youman’s review of the album.

Black Encyclopedia of the Air by Moor Mother

From sounding like a proper MC to a soothing, yet fiery, wizard, Moor Mother is bound to move you on her latest album, ‘Black Encyclopedia of the Air’. The multi-disciplinary artist and activist has created a piece of musical work that sounds like nothing else you’ll have heard this year.

Connectivity by Grace Petrie

Grace Petrie is no stranger to making protest music, and her years of development shines through on her latest effort. With her wit and grit on top of her socially driven lyrics and with her acoustic axe up front, she rages on against injustice in the most entertaining of ways.

Life In Warp by A lake by the mõõn

“In what strikes the ear first as swathes of digitally manipulated noise and vaguely industrial, futuristic electronic free-balling, “Life in Warp” affords its listener a vivid and disorienting experience haunted by the sounds of a wide array of endangered animals from around the globe. The result is something like wildlife-electronica—replete with walrus beats and humpback whale drones—but is so much more serious, devastating, and deferential.” – from Nathaniel Youman’s review of the album.

ANTI by D.O.G.

Hardcore and protest has always gone hand in hand. Whether the music is used to fuel rage against the system and the ones in power or against a personal sorrow we all can relate to, hardcore music is there to provide the soundtrack to the protest – and a friends-filled pit to mosh it out in. D.O.G. have a statement in their name which appearantly stands for Death Of God, Decency Over Government, Debt Of Guilt. The music follows the name as they protest with blasting, groovy riffs and ragged screams. A wonderfully heavy effort.

Dirty Water by Debt Neglector

We covered one of the singles off of Debt Neglector’s album back in October as they wrote a song about their furry friend, and whenever a song is written about dogs we automatically get excited. Obviously it doesn’t hurt that the music Debt Neglector make is extremely fun punk rock that makes you want to jump and sing along. All proceeds from the sale of the album will be split evenly between Flint Kids Fund (flintkids.org) and Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (www.sbev.org).

No Justice, No Peace by Various Artists

This compilation of Black Lives Matter protest audio and thematically related songs covers a wide breadth of genres and styles, all from Detroit artists. As an album, it well represents the strange, unpredictable, unjust at times, year of 2021. All proceeds from the album sales will be donated and split between General Baker Institute and one more organization to be determined.

Purple Grass by Soya The Cow

A gender and species bending drag cow and an animal liberation soldier, Soya the Cow is one musician to keep an eye on. On her catchy, debut pop album she explores the world of animal rights activism and pleads to her human friends to slow down and explore with her a beautiful, alternative world where humans and animals live together as friends – not as consumers and meals.

Znousland 3 by Znous

Political metal music and Tunisia are not two things that are exactly swarming global radio stations, as far as we know. But we are very glad that we came across heavy makers Znous from Tunisia. Their album, Znousland 3, is a pure banger and critical dissection of Tunisian society. Stories of Tunisian female field workers and their exploitation, slavery in north Africa, racism, songs to the inner spirits and “spit on the face of one of the most toxic, ignorant, macho, criminal and disgusting politicians in Tunisian history” – this is some of what you’ll hear (in Tunisian with English lyrics) mixed up with straight up, riffs-and-solo -filled metal.

Brainwashed by The Anti Virals

The Anti Virals were fed up, and that is a good thing for the rest of us. Sometimes, frustration leads to wonderful music. In this particular case it is danceable, singalong punk rock, made in protest and solidarity as the band members explained on their FB page: “We are the voice for those who may feel bullied by this world! We are that thing you wish you could say but are afraid to. We are going to say it for you!”


Exclusive Premiere: ‘Scared’ By Adptd

Opposite to the title of her new single, Adptd does not seem to be scared of anything when you hear her rock out on her new, banging track. From recording music in her bedroom to landing a record deal, Adptd is all set to release her debut EP in 2022.

The music is reminiscent of the best of early 2000’s rock; with its guitar driven, groovy melodies and catchy vocals (with some awesome and perfectly fitted screams). This protest song comes mindfully wrapped, and completely slays it for this holiday season.

The new single, exclusively premiered on Shouts, is a call to action against racism. Growing up as an adopted child to white foster parents, Adptd (real name Josie Randle) learned early on how to embrace herself and to not give a crap about what other people think of her or the color of her skin. She hopes that some people can relate to the things she sings about as she told us via email:

“I want every song that I release on this upcoming album to relate to someone else. I’m not the only one to experience loss, pain, love, depression, and anxiety.  None of us are alone in our emotions, our thoughts, or beliefs. I want people to know that not just through me, and my music but at our shows, your family. Adptd is a community to feel welcome, and loved, no matter who you are or what you’re going through.”

Photo by courtesy of the artist

Being a person of color in the rock music scene has had an impact on Adptd and she takes it seriously representing POC in this dominantly white surrounding: “I’d like to think it’s important for me and every other artist of colour in our music community to stand up and show that, yo we too can write some emo, pop punk, pop rock shit and rock out just as hard.

I’ve been to many shows where I very well may be the only black person there either on stage throwing down or in the crowd rocking out. So when you do see another person having a dope time listening to a metal band, a rock band, pop punk band, whatever it’s dope to see.

There’s definitely an unspoken stigma out there for sure. So when I see new bands popping up like, Meet Me at the Alter, Magnolia Park, and (not new) but Turnstile, to name a few, killing it in this dominant scene of white folks, then hell ya I’m stoked on it and to be apart of these awesome POC killing it in the music scene.”

Adptd’s debut EP is set for release in 2022 so stay tuned! Listen to the exclusive premiere of ‘Scared’ below and check out more of Adptd’s work via her webpage adptd.com.


Native Eyez | Intikana, Social Justice Activist, By Mike Fiorito

This article is written by Mike Fiorito and originally published on the Star Revue webpage. Check out more of Mike’s writings via his webpage.


I met the rapper Intikana through a series of mutual connections; some from a New York based Taíno community and some from musicians we both know. Born and raised in the Bronx, Intikana went to P.S. 76, M.S. 135, then to Dewitt Clinton High School.

As a professional recording artist, Intikana has collaborated with legends such as Dead Prez, Keith Murray, Murda Mook, Chris Rivers, Abiodun Oyewole (The Last Poets), Vaughn Benjamin aka Akae Beka (Midnite), Dinco D (Leaders of The New School), and Vordul Mega (Cannibal Ox). His EP “Native Eyez” was nominated for three Native American Music Awards (“Best Music Video”, “Best Rap Recording” & “Best Historical / Linguistic Recording”).

I had the fortune to speak to Intikana on a Saturday in mid-June.

“You have a long family history in the Bronx?”

“My grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to The Bronx in the 1950s. My Mom was born and raised in The Bronx. My dad was born in Queens but raised in The Bronx,” said Intikana. His voice was gentle. A born lyricist, you could hear the wisdom in his words.

“I know you are of Puerto Rican descent. Have you ever been to PR?”

“When I was a kid, I spent summers in Puerto Rico. Borikén is actually the original Taíno name of Puerto Rico. When translated, Puerto Rico means ‘rich port’ which is how the colonizers viewed our island. A port that was rich in gold, natural herbs, and spices.”

The Taíno were the first Indigenous people to encounter Columbus. The Europeans have had a long history of committing atrocities on the island. Intikana often writes about the island’s history of social injustice. He also acknowledges the experience of social injustice on other Caribbean islands and extends this awareness to social injustice found around the globe.

“What town or city did you stay in on the island?”

“I spent my early childhood summers in Cabo Rojo which is a small town on the west side of Borikén. When I was there, I stayed with my grandparents. Their home was right next to the hills or what we called los montes. My early experiences there taught me a lot about the importance of the natural world.”

“What was it like growing up in the Bronx?”

“It made me who I am. I will always love my city. Someone once told me where you’re from feeds you. Growing up in the Bronx fed me. It taught me survival. Taught me about life.”

“What was the neighborhood like?”

“We lived in the northeast section of the Bronx. Between the 5 train on Gun Hill Road and the 2 train on Burke Avenue. My mom and I resided in the basement of my grandmother’s house. It was a very family-oriented neighborhood. There were many Caribbean people, Haitians, Dominicans, Jamaicans, Puerto Ricans, many of whom owned homes. Our neighborhood bordered the Eastchester projects.”

“When you say, the neighborhood taught you how to survive, what do you mean?”

“It taught me how to be strong in challenging situations. I experienced a lot in The Bronx. When I was a kid, my father was in prison. I was thirteen when he came home. On the weekends, I used to stay with him in the Mill Brook Projects in the South Bronx. One day, we went to the park with my family. While there, a little boy had hit my sister in the face and made her cry. My dad was upset and confronted the boy’s father. The guy said something threatening to take things to another level. In response, my father punched him. The guy dropped to the floor and we walked away. When leaving the park, the guy got up and pulled out a gun. Then he started running at us claiming to be a cop. He pointed the gun at my dad, my uncle, and then aimed it at my face. Suddenly, the officer emptied the entire gun, shooting multiple bullets. Luckily, I was only grazed on my arm. It wasn’t a direct shot. However, the man shot my dad. One bullet struck my father in the leg which thankfully went in and out. The guy with the gun turned out to be an off-duty corrections officer. He was sentenced to a year in jail for reckless endangerment. Not a year for shooting my dad but rather a year for endangering the lives of everyone else in the park.”

“I can only imagine how traumatizing that was.”

“That’s why I say The Bronx taught me about survival. I’ve known friends who were murdered and have witnessed a great deal of senseless violence. Every year in my middle school, we used to paint new murals dedicated to students who got killed. There was one friend of mine who I went to class with. One day, he was late to school and, unfortunately, never made it. He and his entire family were murdered early in the morning. I remember showing up to the wake. There were about eight closed caskets.”

“Did these experiences inspire your interest in rap?”

“Definitely. But let me take a step back. I was close to my grandfather. He was a deep-thinking man. He taught me how to play chess and reflect on my approach to everything. He got extremely sick from diabetes when I was twelve. When I went to see him in the hospital, he didn’t recognize me at first. Slowly, he began to remember who I was, but the nurses forced me to leave the room. This was an immensely powerful experience for me. My reaction to the emotion was to start writing about it. Also, when I was going to high school, rapping was a way for me to verbally defend myself. At first rapping was a way for me to find my voice, but then it grew into something that helped me to discover myself. Music also kept me focused. Eventually, I started to get more into poetry. I also learned more about theater and film. I wrote a play called Penumbra, which included music, poetry, and monologues. Penumbra also had dancers and live musicians. I toured the play around the country in places such as Alaska, California, Chicago, New York, Utah, Colorado, and as far as Ecuador. My friend Bamboo MC helped me find the title Penumbra. Penumbra means a shadow of a shadow.”

“Who were your inspirations? What kind of music do you listen to?”

“When I was younger, I was engrossed in Hip Hop: Nas, Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes and many others. I did my homework. I studied all the artists. Then I checked out older albums. At seventeen, I interned at BMG, the record label. There I helped with promotions for “The Neptunes present… Clones” album by Pharrell and Chad Hugo. I spent a whole day with both managing the line for autographs at their in-store event. For a young kid, these moments were life-changing. This would all prove to have a positive impact on my networking and collaborations.

I also spent time at the Apollo Theater. That’s where I got to meet Sway. I broadened my interests, studying jazz, blues, soul, roots reggae, and bomba, which is a form of Afro- Borikén music. I was so hungry and kept growing and learning. There was an artist named Vaughn Benjamin who founded a group called Midnite and later changed his name to Akae Beka. He was a significant inspiration for me. His intelligence, style, and overall mission was powerful to me. We collaborated on a song called “Meditation” which features Stic of the legendary Hip-Hop group Dead Prez as well as Aza Lineage from Kingston, Jamaica. Only months after releasing the song, he sadly transitioned (died) in 2019.

Through music, I’ve been able to travel and see the world. Which is such a huge blessing. In South America, for example, I participated in important Indigenous ceremonies. It was during this time that I received my spiritual name, Intikana.”

“Can you tell me about your songs that involve your Taíno origins?”

“I wrote a song called ‘Native Eyez’ which is also the title track for a project I did in 2013. It was created to raise awareness of native culture and its connection to the street. How the arriving conquerors replaced the nature world, the jungle, and the forest, with the concrete jungle. I then did music videos for this project. The mission was to showcase and highlight our global interconnectedness as Indigenous peoples. Not just for Taínos but for Indigenous people everywhere. I also did a music video with an artist from Australia named Provocalz. The song is called ‘Survivors’ and is part of a native music project called ‘Only Built for Koori Linx.’ The song speaks about how much Indigenous people had to endure simply to survive. My interests in social justice have inspired me to keep learning, to remain a student.”

“What other Indigenous songs have you written?”

“I also wrote a song called ‘Crouching Gallo Hidden Coqui’ which was produced by Xen Medina. It has a very direct, strong tone.”

Gallo means rooster in Spanish, symbolizing masculinity in many Caribbean/Latin American cultures. The coqui symbol is particularly important to Taíno people. It is a singing tree frog native to Borikén. Both roosters and frogs appear in Taino stories throughout the Caribbean and are recognized as major symbols in Borikén culture.

“In addition, I recorded a song called ‘El Pueblo Esta Muerto’ which is on my album ‘Sovereignty.’ I originally wrote and recorded the song for News Beat Podcast which is produced by Manny Faces. In this song, I talk about the history of Borikén and about the island post-earthquake. I wrote another song called ‘Culture Shock’ featuring M1 of Dead Prez. It was filmed in Africa, Cuba, Guatemala, Borikén & The Bronx. These songs are very revolutionary in nature. They’re concerned with oppression and with the suppression of the original cultures of our people.”

“What has your Taíno culture taught you about your perspective of the world?”

“My culture motivates me when there’s no motivation. I remember why I’m doing the work. It’s not for some artificial purpose. I have a bigger mission. My work inspires me to learn about history. For instance, when I read Columbus’s journal, it made me want to cry. Columbus wrote in his letters that the Indigenous people were gullible and naive. In his letters to Spain, he wrote that the Taíno were easily able to memorize prayers and could easily be conquered. And, because of the Taínos’ generous nature, the Spaniards were able to colonize the island fast. It hurt me to read this. The impact of colonization still affects Borikén today. Since the time of the Spaniards, foreign anthropologists have selectively filtered what we know about our own history. We are conditioned to see ourselves through the eyes of people who hate us.”

“What are your future plans?”

“I am working on a book. The working title is Native Eyez: Lyrics & Curriculum. This will be the first in a series of books. This book will serve as a resource for educational institutions, professors, teachers, students, and families. My intention is to raise awareness and understanding of native history within the Afro-Indigenous diaspora. The idea is to have it exist as a teaching guide that can be used in the classroom. I hope it will inspire people to think deeply and explore issues concerning injustice, struggle, and movements of resistance. I pray it can assist in liberating minds and help those interested in reclaiming their own identity. This book is a culmination of many years of hard work, research, study and learning. I am hoping to sign with a major publisher who values and respects the vision. I have a few in mind. If not, I’m willing to self-publish. Either way, I intend on leaving my mark in this world. I believe that this book will exist long after I am gone.”

“Are you working on a music project?”

“Not at the moment. I have a lot of music that I’ve recorded and would like to release a new project soon. However, I’m in the process of reinventing my own soundscape. So, I’m remaining patient with this next release. No name as of yet. Nonetheless, I will more than likely release a few new singles as well as music videos to keep feeding my audience.”

“It’s exciting to imagine what kinds of projects you’ll be working on twenty years from now.”

“My goal is to keep moving forward, to speak up for oppressed people everywhere. Every day, my vision gets bigger. And I’m grateful for that.”

Contact info:
Intikana: http://www.intikana.net
Mike Fiorito: http://www.fallingfromtrees.info

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