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2016: Music inspired by the struggle

By Brad Sigal |
December 31, 2016
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2016 has been a year marked by many important struggles for justice, and also by the ascent of reactionary right wing politics to the White House. All of our movements will face big battles in 2017 as Donald Trump and his band of billionaires and generals take the reigns of power. Here’s some new music from the past year that can help inspire us to carry forward and strengthen our movements for the struggles to come. These are only a sampling of songs from this year; if you want to add more that have inspired you, comment on the article on facebook.

Like many hated right wing politicians before him,Trump's presidential campaign inspired a lot of music expressing outrage against his reactionary politics and actions. Here are some songs that took on Trump during his campaign.

(Note: some of these songs contain profane language)

YG - FDT (F#ck Donald Trump) Part 2 

 

Monoloco with Sauce - Chinga Tu Madre Presidente Donald Trump

 

Ryan Harvey with Ani DiFranco & Tom Morello - Old Man Trump

This is a remake of an old Woodie Guthrie song about Donald Trump’s father!

 

Kyle Craft - Before the Wall

 

Death Cab for Cutie - Million Dollar Loan

 

One of the most powerful struggles this year has been the struggle led by Indigenous peoples to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Here are some songs inspired by that struggle.

A Tribe Called Red - Black Snakes

 

Tall Paul - #BadDAPL

Listen on SoundCloud

Angie Citlali - Water is Life (Standing Rock)

Listen on SoundCloud

Several revolutionary musicians put out new records in 2016 that speak to today’s political struggles and to the need for a new society. Here are a few.

Bambu - The Party Worker (full album)

 

Run the Jewels 3 (full album)

 

Zach de la Rocha - Digging for Windows

 

Downtown Boys - Full Communism (full album)

 

Here are several other songs from this year with echoes of different political movements. Several are directly inspired by the ongoing movement against police crimes and the Black liberation movement. Others are inspired by other movements. Some are well known, others lesser known.

Taina Asili - Freedom (featuring Michael Reyes)

 

Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost - The Revolution Has Come

 

Beyonce - Formation

 

Rodrigo Stars and King Capa - Ella

 

A Tribe Called Quest - We The People

 

Common (with Stevie Wonder) - Black America Again

 

Swet Shop Boys - T5

 

G.L.O.S.S. - Trans Day of Revenge

Drive By Truckers - What it Means

This year Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro passed away. There are countless songs inspired by the Cuban revolution and Fidel. Here's a song that David Rovics put out right after Fidel passed away that captures much of Fidel’s legacy.

David Rovics - Commandante Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz

 

Prince - Baltimore

In 2016 several important cultural figures passed away. One who stood up for peace and against injustice was Prince. Though this song was written in 2015, not 2016, it is one of his most recent songs with an explicitly political message.

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