In an era of millennials that made being “woke”, connected and informed a thing, it’s only right that we give you a few rhymes and rhythms that come at you with socially- or politically-driven messages. The artists on this list mastered blending what’s trendy and hot in terms of catchy hooks, instrumentals/beats and metaphors with messages that go beyond your typical “rap” beef or money-themed concepts.
Below you’ll find our top 15 picks of “Woke” tracks and a brief description on what makes these socially- and politically-charged tracks masterpieces:
- Wu Tang Clan – Tearz (1993)
A song about Karma, stories of happiness followed by stories of sadness.
- Erykah Badu – On & On (1997)
Spiritual piece in which Badu believes humans are all made in God’s image.
- Common – Retrospect of Life ft. Lauryn Hill (1997)
A song reflecting on having a child when you’re both young adults.
- Tupac – Changes (1998)
Iconic rap song about the unfair treatment of Blacks in America and Tupac’s views about the World.
- Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) (1998)
A track about not letting ‘that thing’ (religious beliefs, morals and materialistic things) be what exploits you as a man or woman.
- Nas – I Can (2002)
This song was meant as an inspirational piece for youth about believing in yourself.
- Immortal technique – 4th Branch/Peruvian Cocaine (2003)
Political, social and religious piece – touches on slavery, corporate America, human rights violations and more.
- Kanye West ft Syleena Johnson – All Falls Down (2004)
A track that examines self-consciousness in the Black community.
- J Cole – Lost Ones (2011)
A song that makes you question love, relationships and unplanned parenthood.
- Ab – Soul – Terrorist Threats ft. Jhene Aiko, Danny Brown (2012)
A track about the political system in America.
- J.Cole – Be Free (2014)
A tribute to Mike Brown and a song about the current slavery of Blacks in America.
- Alright – Kendrick Lamar (2015)
A song about hope using symbolism and poetry.
- Saint Pablo – Kanye West (2016)
This track addresses the thoughts and insecurities of Mr. West.
- Tribe Called Quest – Dis Generation / We The People (2016)
A track about racial and religious discrimination in America.
- Childish Gambino – Redbone (2016)
Stay tuned for part two of our ‘Listen if you W O K E ‘ list coming next week and let us know which track is your favourite in the comments below!
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