We made it, everyone! We made it through some of the most horrific years in U.S. history. With Biden taking the office we can now take some steps towards reconstruction. However, this is just a small step toward change. In order to make it through these uncertain times, I curated this playlist to uplift your spirits.
Eminem – “Not Afraid”
If anyone is feeling anxious about the election or this year in general, I feel the album Road to Recovery: Withdrawal, especially the song “Not Afraid,” will give you the courage to go and do something for our country. This album is about standing up for yourself and bouncing back. Something we are all probably feeling at the moment since Biden has won the election. Now it is time to stand up and fight for even more change.
Jay Z FT. Alicia Keys –
“Empire State of Mind”
The album The Blueprint 3 gives me a sense of pride for the country I was raised in. The song “Empire State of Mind” represents new beginnings, taking risks and living in the moment. While listening to it, close your eyes and imagine a world where everything is going to be okay. Use the lyrics to help encourage you to continue to make change.
Childish Gambino –
“This Is America”
The album This Is America was one of 2019’s highlights. The title song’s message, paired with the video, is very powerful and addresses what is still happening in our country. Childish Gambino is one of the most influential figures of his generation. This song portrays what has been going on for generations. Songs like these should be played at every function and party, and remembered for all time.
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most influential artists of this generation. He always includes powerful messages in his music. The Compton rapper fights for equal rights in the streets and in his music, and his album To Pimp a Butterfly is his most empowering. It made a huge impact when it first dropped. Be sure to check out the song, “Alright.” Kendrick always rapped about social injustice, perhaps that’s why he is considered one of the world’s best MCs.
Lil Baby – “The Bigger Picture”
In his album My Turn, Lil Baby addresses the current world situation and protests against racial inequality. Lil Baby is one of the biggest new wave rappers. It’s always up to the next generation to make real change. Lil Baby has a wide audience of all ages. I respect when artists like Baby use their platform to make change, it’s always a good thing to see your favorite rapper do.
Dababy, Roddy Rich – “Rockstar Remix”
“Rockstar” was one of the biggest songs of the year. So it was a big deal when DaBaby and Roddy Rich released a remix with a special message about protesting against racial inequality. Dababy and Roddy Rich both released songs that charted at No. 1 this year. This song is very powerful and comes from the voices of people we deeply respect.
NWA – “Fuck Tha Police”
“Fuck Tha Police,” from the classic NWA album Straight Outta Compton, was one of the first songs to catch national attention for discussing standing up against racists cops. This song will hype up anyone unhappy with our police departments. We consider Biden/Harris taking office a small step towards racial equality. Regardless of who is the Commander in Chief, police departments need to be held accountable for abusing their power.
YG – “FDT”
What kind of election playlist would this be if “FDT” wasn’t featured in it? YG is a living legend, one of the first musicians to publicly humiliate the president of the United States. If anything, this song, from the album Still Brazy, should be petitioned to be the new national anthem. Hopefully, Donald Trump will never be President again. It will feel good when he’s finally gone.
Noah “DJ Edel” Holt, 21, is a DJ from Oakland and an A&R for YR Media, a national network of diverse young journalists and artists from underrepresented communities who create content for this generation, which is headquartered in downtown Oakland.