Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sky Box Sounds vol. 39 | 10 Songs that Inspire US To Wake Up & Keep Going

"Wake up, wake up, wake up it's the 1st of the month..."

Since the beginning of its existence, hip-hop has been a safe haven that has been heavily influenced by and created for black culture. From the genesis, it's been a space where artist were given a platform to tell our stories and be a voice in a world we were shut out from. Pretty soon, the world caught on and loved hip-hop too, even though the majority would never be able to fully relate. Under the most negative circumstances, here are a few moments in hip-hop where the underlying message was about resilience, standing up for yourself, the culture, and not shutting down and giving up the good fight during times of oppression.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify:

1. Changes - Tupac

Tupac Shakur was a prophet way ahead of his time and I could curate an entire compilation to prove it. For the sake of keeping this play list short, I chose the popular hit single, Changes. Using popular 80's single, The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Tupac speaks life into the black community and encourages us to go after more than what we've settled for. Still relevant and still a staple in my collection.

2. Alright - Kendrick Lamar

This right the resilience anthem of the decade. Not only does it ring loud with encouragement, it uses the pain, struggle, awareness of racial inequality and a corrupt justice system to convey to the masses that through relentless solidarity, we're going to be okay.

3. Persevere - Jerreau

Still relatively new to the music scene, I was introduced to artist professionally known as Jerreau last summer, performing his single Really Got It during Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Never How You Plan is full of Sports references, so the song Persevere was a great intro to his debut studio album, which made my list of best albums last year, and fits in perfectly with the overall theme of today's play list.

4. Warrior Song - Nas ft. Alicia Keys

Another lyrical collaboration, both with individually stellar catalogs, this song is one that's dedicated to the people, and is easily one of my favorites from the vault. Rap Genius calls it "an anthem for the unsung heroes of the ghetto" and I would agree with the statement.

5. Life - Big K.R.I.T. 

I could seriously write an entire dissertation on how big of an impact Big K.R.I.T.'s music has had on my life. This song is one of the many that motivates me on a regular basis. 

6. Land of the Free - Joey Bada$$

This song gave me chills when I heard it for the first time, as it is a war cry for justice and addresses the current state of American politics. An underrated lyricist, Joey Bada$$ speaks his truth loud and clear.

7. The Life of Kings - Phonte, Evidence, Big K.R.I.T.

It's nothing more empowering than black men with ambition and I think this 2011 collaboration does a good job of embodying that characteristic. 

8. Aquemini - Outkast

The Atlanta natives were known for dropping gems with a message in every track they touched. Aquemini speaks about brotherhood, but it's also a song of hope. The lyrics also uses stories of the streets they grew up on as an example of why we need to build ourselves up and give back to these struggling communities.

9. Renegade - Jay Z & Eminem 

That time the Jigga and the sinister collaborated to remind us to speak up and not allow fear to stop your message from spreading like wildfire. It's a song of being misunderstood, of speaking when no one really hears your message, but not allowing any of that to silence us.

10. 4 Your Eyez Only - J. Cole

Changing the tempo a bit, this song is an ode to his own daughter, as well as the daughter of a late childhood friend, but it's one that has a message for all of us. If we find ourselves in tough circumstances, it's our minds that keep us there, but we have the power and the opportunity to rise and become better people.

There are so many other fitting songs, so there will probably be a Part II to this compilation. In the meantime, what are some songs that serve as personal anthems that inspire you to fight through the hard times and conquer your dreams?

 Follow me on Twitter : @TheSkyBoxSuite  | @ChymereA

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