Griselda’s Dominant 2020: A Meta-Analysis

Pre-2020 criticisms of Griselda were founded in monotonous flows, stale production, and overly-hypebeast attitude. But with seven stellar albums this year from Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Armani Caesar, and Benny the Butcher, not to mention a wonderful project from fellow Buffalo resident Billie Essco, Griselda has proven that Buffalo is here to stay. Stamping Griselda on the map for many casual listeners in 2020 … Continue reading Griselda’s Dominant 2020: A Meta-Analysis

What Kind of Music Do We Need to Create Change?

In order to create change, a soundscape based in talent, experimentation, and compassion must undergird, motivate, and reflect social movements. Creating change is a long process with many steps along the way, but timeless and exciting music is absolutely helpful in changing ideology and then policy. The music and ideology of Erykah Badu, Ric Wilson, Slauson Malone, and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah provide a high … Continue reading What Kind of Music Do We Need to Create Change?

“Kersaia” by Matana Roberts: An Abstract Black Protest Song

Matana Roberts is an avant garde jazz musician and composer, a conceptual artist that focuses on creating narratives and stories that represent her experience and those of lived experiences of Black folks in the anthropocene. Her song, “Kersaia,” is the third song on the first installment of her Coin Coin series: Coin Coin Chapter 1: Gens de Couleur Libres. It’s a winding, shifting song with … Continue reading “Kersaia” by Matana Roberts: An Abstract Black Protest Song

Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Paved a Way for Contemporary Black Protest Music

Producing a song about racism and society’s unwillingness to see it is a difficult task, but Nina Simone did so with her song “Mississippi Goddam,” taking it to the biggest music stages in America. The song is one of her biggest bouts of protest, a loud, passionate song reacting to senseless violence against Black folks. It specifically comes right after the politically motivated assassination of … Continue reading Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Paved a Way for Contemporary Black Protest Music

“Freeze Tag” Brings Together Tenets of Black Protest Music

“Freeze Tag,” Dinner Party’s lead single from their 2020 album Dinner Party, is a song steeped in signature elements of Black protest music. Featuring vocal performances from Phoelix on the original song, and Cordae on the song’s remix, the track is a melodic, melancholy song that speaks on police violence with clarity. Released amidst a year that saw a greater focus on Black protest music … Continue reading “Freeze Tag” Brings Together Tenets of Black Protest Music

Louis Armstrong’s “Go Down, Moses” is a Protest Song

Louis Armstrong’s 1956 recording and release of the song, “Go Down, Moses” builds upon hundreds of years of Black protest. Standing up to the racist and often limiting strategies of white elites, whether in government or music, releasing this song was a seminal moment in the Black protest music canon. Negro spirituals are religious songs sung by Black folks, combining the spiritual and religious themes … Continue reading Louis Armstrong’s “Go Down, Moses” is a Protest Song

How “Alright” Became an Anthem for BLM Protests

Black protest music is one of the oldest genres we can conceive of. Building on African rhythms that have been impacted and empowered by life in Africa as well as the trauma of slavery, colonialism, and all of their consequences, Black protest music has been an avenue for Black folks to represent themselves and push back against the oppressive forces that have tried to eradicate … Continue reading How “Alright” Became an Anthem for BLM Protests