In the wake of the Mike Brown tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, Los Angeles-Rapper The Game brought out Hip-Hop's elite for "Don't Shoot", collaborating with Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Curren$y, Problem, King Pharaoh & TGT. This record helped propel the #DontShoot digital movement, and proceeds from record sales are being donated to the Mike Brown Memorial Fund.
Hands Up: Street Anthems 4 Justice
Hands Up: Street Anthems 4 Justice
Marc Payne- "Juvenile"
"Juvenile" by Marc Payne has been in heavy rotation as the top video on West Coast legend Snoop Dogg's Underground Heat. The video pays tribute to youthful innocence cut short by juvenile incarceration and violence, and shows what it's like walking the streets of LA as an innocent target of law enforcement.
With Snoop's support of the #Justice4Juveniles movement complementing Payne's catchy flow, smooth delivery, and inspiring yet gritty visuals, "Juvenile" has become a LA street anthem and video not to miss.
G-Unit- "Ahhh Shit"
G-Unit came together with an artistic expression of rage on "Ahhh Shit". This powerful video includes footage of Staten Island man Eric Garner pleading for sympathy from the NYPD before he was tragically choked to death this summer. The Unit is definitely back for the streets with this one.
Mann- "As the World Turns" feat. Marc Payne
West LA rapper Mann is back with a real message to the streets about the fierce urgency of the moment. Three years after releasing the hit single "Buzzin" that attracted a remix by hip-hop heavyweight 50 Cent, Mann recruited hometown hero Marc Payne for "As The World Turns", a SoCal Tribute to the young victims of violence and leaders of the community to come together as one.
Definitely the most lyrical of Mann's singles, and complemented by the dynamic young spitter Payne, "As The World Turns" is a message to Millennials to put down the tools that separate us and collectively fight for justice.
Big K.R.I.T.- "American Rapstar"
Big K.R.I.T. is one of the most underrated MC's this side of the 21st Century. "American Rapstar" is one of those anthems that may have gotten lost in time, but surely is now more relevant now than ever. K.R.I.T. speaks of his frustration with the 2009 slaying of Oscar Grant in Oakland, but goes deeper on government assassinations of Civil Rights leaders and Black heroes on this soothing banger.
The song, off K.R.I.T.'s 2012 mixtape Return of 4eva, contains a sample of The Ethics "Lost in a Lonely World" is a 3-minute and 45 second testament to everything the keenly aware Mississippi-rapper represents--the struggle to help the people amidst an unfriendly and unforgiving world.
Snoop Lion- "No Guns Allowed" feat. Drake & Cori B
Snoop Lion, formerly known as (and still known as) Snoop Dogg, turned heads last year with "No Guns Allowed", a stirring tribute to a world without guns and youth violence. This powerful video utilizes actual news clips of President Obama addressing the Sandy Hook shooting, and other reports of innocent youth victims of gun violence.
What makes this track truly special, is that Snoop even brought the family out, recruiting his daughter Cori B to sing the powerful hook. Not to be forgotten, Drake contributed one of his most meaningful verses in recent years. Much respect to Snoop on the video, the No Guns Allowed and #Justice4Juveniles movement.
Papoose- "50 Shots"
Back when DJ Kay Slay was the Mixtape King on Hot 97, he dropped the 2006 Papoose classic, "50 Shots" on his midnight radio show, at a time when NYC was grieving heavily for Sean Bell. Anyone listening could hear the anger and tension in Slay's voice, directed at the NYPD shortly after several officers shot and killed the unarmed Sean Bell on November 26, 2006, the night before his wedding.
Papoose has always been known as quite the wordsmith, but this track sampling Sam Cooke's legendary 1964 "A Change is Gonna Come" featured much press, including a New York Times feature, and was adopted as the soundtrack to the RIP Sean Bell Movement.
Public Enemy- "Fight the Power"
With all due respect to everybody, "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy is the undisputed heavyweight of all street anthems for justice. Groundbreaking movie director Spike Lee influenced the group to contribute this record to the 1989 "Do The Right Thing" soundtrack, and it has been utilized in countless movie scenes, PSAs, and news stories since. It even inspired Chuck D to write a book aptly titled "Fight The Power".
"Fight The Power" is in every sense of the word, a classic. The RIAA even ranked it as one of the top songs of the 20th Century, proving it holds its own in the streets as well as the industry.
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In the wake of the Mike Brown tragedy and so many other instances of police brutality, the hip-hop community has been rallying together to make uplifting street anthems and movements.
Hip-Hop emerged out of a collective struggle against oppression, poverty, and pain. Recently, rappers have been teaming up in order to promote an end to police brutality, even raising money for victims like Mike Brown, and spreading digital campaigns to promote awareness of the issue. This isn't the first time we've seen rappers speak up against violence in their music, so we've gathered several examples from recent times as well as the past in this list.
Of all the recent tracks discussing the undeniable impact violence is having on our communities, a select few have become anthems. Hip-hop is surely at the forefront of the effort to end police brutality, and must be a force to end violence in our communities. Some daring artists have created records that have become rallying calls for our generation, and are an important outlet for the streets to vent and unify.
The Game compiled a most impressive slew of features for "Don't Shoot", while J. Cole positioned himself like a crooner on "Be Free". G-Unit also made a noteworthy comeback appearance on "Ahhh Shit", and underground LA star Marc Payne showed the LA streets are united behind uplifting the community once and for all in the "Juvenile" video. While Snoop recently co-signed the #Justice4Juveniles Movement, he's also on the list for 2013's "No Guns Allowed". The list features more from Big K.R.I.T., Mann, and the brilliant wordsmith Papoose.
Take a look at a sampling of the uplifting records pushing for justice and an end to the madness in the galleries above.