It’s 2017, and we, as a community, still find ourselves climbing an uphill battle when it comes to social and economic issues. With a narcissistic, bigot being the president-elected (Donald J. Trump), the battle has gotten more intense; moving towards a pure battle of good versus evil. An effect from these conditions that a lot of us predicted, was the fact that the arts and music value of these times would increase due to these conditions. Substance will return to the forefront. Fake artists will be exposed. You will hear what’s on the hearts of the conscious artists, and less of what drugs are on their mind. I mean, just look at history for an example.
Hip-Hop began to thrive during the Reagan and Bush (Senior) presidency due to the expression of the oppressed voice through music (something that had never been seen). You had Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli get exposed. Groups that catered to the expression of our revolution came alive such as Public Enemy & NWA. Embarrassing, ugly instances (i.e: Rodney King) became the images of America. Most importantly, Tupac woke up a lot of street hustlers on a lost path. Today, not much has changed but we are moving in the right direction - except Trump and his posse. Since his inauguration though, the Hip-Hop industry couldn’t have been more booming. Check out our top 7 music videos that touch on issues facing the urban community.
7. Meek Mill x The-Dream x Young Black America
Meek Mill and The-Dream collab to paint a story of the trials and tribulations of growing up Black in America. From poverty to segregation to police brutality, Meek highlights many problems we as a community still face today in light of recent newsworthy events of young black men being unfairly abused and killed at the hands of law enforcement. The video shows black men in Klansmen hoods, arrests and many too real nightmares.
6. Twelve'Len x Denzel Curry x Human Gods
Florida natives Twelve'len and Denzel Curry teamed up for "Human Gods" questions the meaning in material things. The video taunts an out of this world large dog and psychadelic trippy aesthetics. Memorable lyrics like "Some people see faith in cognac. Some people see God in Callidacs. Even though God is a money stack." have you thinking about what and why you put your faith in the things you do. Dig deeper.
5. Kodak Black x Tunnel Vision
A modern day negro spiritual from an unsuspecting artist, "Tunnel Vision" by Florida's own Kodak Black had one of the most catchy hooks of the year. "Lil Kodak they don't want to see you winning" is disturbingly relatable. Substitute "Lil Kodak" for your name and you definitely become one with Kodak's struggle of success and beating the odds. The music video features a Confederate flag wearing man and a strong willed Black man in a field -- one can only imagine what happens next. Take a look and see for yourself.
4. YG & Nipsey Hussle x FDT (F**k Donald Trump)
LA natives YG & Nipsey Hussle team up and tell us how they really feel about our new president. "F**k Donald Trump" is a lyrical critique of President Trump filled with references to his policies including his proposed wall on the Mexican border. At the time of the song's release, Trump was only a mere candidate in the 2016 presidential election. Since his inauguration, this song and video still resonates with the 48% of non-Trump voters. #FDT
3. Kendrick Lamar x DNA
Here Kung Fu Kenny goes again giving us yet another classic Black anthem. Succeeding "i", "DNA" off of Kendrick Lamar's latest album "DAMN." explores and celebrates Black heritage and culture. Just when we thought the song was enough by itself, K. Dot dropped this stunning visual featuring acclaimed actor Don Cheadle. The video's imagery is breathtaking and impact is timeless.
2. Logic x Alessia Cara x Khalid x 1-800-273-8255
Switching gears from racial injustice, Logic teams up with Alessia Cara and Khalid to produce a heartfelt song for anyone who's dealing with depression. 1-800-273-8255 a.k.a the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline shows people that suicide is not the answer for your problems. The music video sheds light on homosexuality, mental health and the intersectionality between masculinity, blackness and sexuality.
1. Jay-Z x The Story of O.J.
It hasn't been a year since Jay-Z dropped his groundbreaking comeback album "4:44" but we are still learning so many lessons from HOV. In The Story of O.J., eerily released right before O.J. Simpson's release HOV schools the young black rappers on how to achieve financial freedom as a black man in a white world. The video is debatedly one of the most innovative music videos dropped by a hip-hop artist in years. Using old racist black-face cartoons while navigating intersectionality, success, culture, sexuality and mental health in black and white for a mere 4 minutes, Jay-Z reminds us that whichever label we subscribe to, we are all black at the end of the day.