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2020: sounds of an upsurge

Review by Brad Sigal |
January 3, 2021
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2020 was quite a year with huge upsurges of struggle. And when there's an upsurge, you can bet it will be accompanied by protest music. This year has been no exception.

Here are some of the great songs of 2020. Some give voice to a specific struggle, while others tackle more general themes.While it may not have seemed like it at the time, looking back it becomes clear how much powerful content was created in the heat of the struggles of 2020.

You can also play these songs as a playlist on YouTube or Spotify.

(Content warning: some of these songs contain profane language and disturbing themes)

Janelle Monáe - Turntables


Jeezy (featuring Tamika Mallory) - Oh Lord


David Rovics - As I Watch Minneapolis Burn


Bob Mould - American Crisis


María Isa - Como Duele


Noname - Song 33


Anderson .Paak - Lockdown


Bambu featuring Ricky G, Kiwi & Ruby Ibarra - Dittybop


Lil Baby - The Bigger Picture


Kabaka Pyramid - Babylon Fallin


Soulside - This Ship


Rebel Diaz & Tef Poe - Fiyah to the Fascists


Alice Bag - No Gifts for Nazis


The Muslims - Punch a Nazi


MDC - No Trump No KKK No Fascist USA


Ana Tijoux - Antifa Dance


Resistance Revival Chorus with Rhiannon Giddens - All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose


Black Thought - Thought vs Everybody


Lonnie Oceans & Xtina Beni - Warfare


Coriky - Last Thing


Billy Bragg - Can't Be There Today


Tré Burt with Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell & Sunny War - Under the Devil's Knee


Des Demonas - The South Will Never Rise Again


Vic Mensa - Bethlehem / SC Freestyle


Black Thought - State Prisoner


Beyonce - Black Parade


Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion - WAP


Run The Jewels with Zach De La Rocha and Pharrell Williams - JU$T


Public Enemy - State of the Union


Jasiri X - Rob Jeff Bezo$


A Tribe Called Red ft. Boogey the Beat and Northern Voice - Land Back


Downtown Boys - L’Internacionale


Brick - Fake Names


Anti-Flag - A Dying Plea, Vol. 2


GMAC Cash - Tired


Lil B - I Am George Floyd


Vivir Quintana - Canción Sin Miedo


Las Cafeteras - Long Time Coming


Chicano Batman - Manuel’s Story


Ana Tijoux - Rebelión de Octubre


Dax - Black Lives Matter


Demi Lovato - Commander in Chief


H.E.R. - I Can’t Breathe


Alicia Keys - Perfect Way to Die


Bambu - Signing Off