Music and Social Justice Timeline

Timeline created by GagandeepBaraich
In Music
  • First of rap

    First of rap
    Coke La Rock made up rhythmic poems that gained in popularity and were the first raps.
  • First Music Video

    First Music Video
    Whodini becomes the first rap group to shoot an official video for their song "Magic's Wand."
  • NWA - F*** Tha Police

    NWA - F*** Tha Police
    “A war on gangs, to me, is a politically correct word to say a war on anybody you think is a gang member,” Ice Cube remarked during a recent panel discussion about the film. “you can mistake any kid for a gang member—any good kid. Some of them dress like gangbangers, and they go to school every day because that’s the fashion in the neighborhood. Our music was our only weapon,” he added. “Nonviolent protest.”
  • Starts to Evolve

    Starts to Evolve
    Rappers, like Schoolly D, Ice T, Easy E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dog, chose instead to develop gangsta rap, which glorifies the gangster lifestyle -- violence, drugs, sex, and of course, gangs. They just rapped about what they grew up around in their neighborhoods.
  • Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted was a pivotal cry for social justice

    Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted was a pivotal cry for social justice
    The album proved the struggles of black Americans that fueled the anger and frustration behind the L.A. Riots in 1992. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted is one of the first records to change the dynamic of social justice in rap music, thanks to the surrounding influence of Public Enemy. Its themes and content have remained relevant, carrying on into the mainstream and becoming a benchmark for black artists having their message heard in American society.
  • Wu Tang Clan

    Wu Tang Clan
    Wu-Tang Clan were assembled as a loose congregation of nine MCs, almost as a support group. They rapped about many social justice issues such as racism, and poverty.
  • Tupac Shakur's Most Socially Conscious Lyrics

    Tupac Shakur's Most Socially Conscious Lyrics
    Tupac celebrates blackness, women, and black women, promoting hope and positivity amidst tragic circumstances. The fact that it’s so disparate from his most thugged out material is likely its greatest strength; if he can get the hardest, toughest gangsters to consider the strength and beauty of black women, maybe the rest of us can, too.
  • Dr. Dre's 'Compton': Social justice in the streets, domestic violence in the sheets

    Dr. Dre's 'Compton': Social justice in the streets, domestic violence in the sheets
    "Compton," inspired by Dre's past in N.W.A. and the new biopic about the seminal gangsta rappers, finds the hip-hop physician asserting his longevity, saluting his former comrades and examining street realities that haven't changed much since the 1990s. "Just a young black man from Compton wondering who could save us," he raps on "Animals." For the most part, it's Dre, and his revolving-door collaborators, being Dre. It's great hip-hop; it's great music.
  • J Cole - Social Activism

    J Cole - Social Activism
    J. Cole is no stranger to political activism, and like Lamar, the North Carolina rapper does not speak out through viral tweets. Instead, he tends to turn to his music to send a message. He released his platinum-certified album "4 Your Eyez Only" in 2016 and embarked on his 2017 nationwide tour dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, appearing on stage shackled in chains to highlight the themes of mass incarceration and police brutality that he tackles in his music.
  • KnowMads - Better World

    KnowMads - Better World
    This song speaks about real social justice issues in the world. Such as poverty where people sleep on the streets. How children are being shot around the world for their belongings. Gang violence is a main issue aswell.
  • Joey Bada$$

    Joey Bada$$
    "All Amerikkkan Bada$$," is a vivid, free-flowing critique of race and racism in America that touches on white supremacy, mass incarceration and police brutality through the rapper's candid reflections on his experiences as a black man in America.
  • Jay-Z Pens Letter Urging Fans to Fight For Social Justice

    Jay-Z Pens Letter Urging Fans to Fight For Social Justice
    Jay-Z has published an essay addressing the importance of social justice titled “This Is Our Power.” “But social justice isn’t a political issue. It’s a human issue. It’s a story of empathy. When we are able to identify that we are all not perfect and have compassion for someone else, we can move forward as a society,” Jay-Z concludes. “Look around at what’s happening in your town and your city right now. Think small, and you can do much bigger things.”
  • Eminem lambasts Donald Trump in freestyle rap

    Eminem lambasts Donald Trump in freestyle rap
    When Eminem released his freestyle as part of the BET Hip Hop Awards' annual cypher against Donald Trump. He indicted the president for his most egregious transgressions: perpetuating racism, emboldening white supremacy, his irresponsibility with North Korea, the attacks on black NFL players, his abandonment of Puerto Rico. The list goes on.
  • Rapsody - Power

    Rapsody - Power
    Rapsody celebrates the black experience and provides listeners with an uplifting soundtrack to an era marked by political turmoil in her Grammy-nominated album "Laila's Wisdom," which was named after her maternal grandmother.
  • Vic Mensa - Social

    Vic Mensa - Social
    The Chicago rapper's debut album, "The Autobiography," is a series of raw reflections that blurs the line between the personal with the political, humanizing as well as politicizing issues like racism and depression. Mensa toured with Jay-Z this year.
    Standout track: "We Could Be Free," featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The video spotlights oppression in various areas in the world and highlights the similarities of injustice.
  • Logic's Grammy speech makes case for social justice

    Logic's Grammy speech makes case for social justice "Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly. Be not scared to use your voice, especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity. Stand and fight for those who are not weak, but who have yet to discover the strength that the evil of this world has done its best to conceal."
  • Kendrick Lamar and Hip-Hop as a Medium for Social Change

    Kendrick Lamar and Hip-Hop as a Medium for Social Change
    “If we’re talking about the most urgent and immediate reasons that hip-hop is important now, I think it’s because of the fact that as a country, nation and society, we haven’t internalized that black lives matter. And the reason that this became a movement and a hashtag, ‘the unarmed black man being killed,’ it speaks to the nature of institutional racism, and hip-hop can be an incredibly powerful tool to address some of those systemic problems that still exist.”
  • Kanye West’s Political Views

    Kanye West’s Political Views
    West and Jay-Z release Watch the Throne, which meditates on racism, consumerism, sexism, and more. On “Murder to Excellence,” he raps, “It’s time for us to stop and redefine black power / 41 souls murdered in 50 hours” and “I feel the pain in my city wherever I go / 314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago.”
  • How Meek Mill Became the Face of Criminal Justice Reform

    How Meek Mill Became the Face of Criminal Justice Reform
    “The energy is swelling in Philadelphia right now,” said McCants, the activist. “This is just the beginning. Now we’re starting to see people’s eyes opening to the way things are not working. With what’s happened at Starbucks and Meek Mill, people who were not concerned about the criminal justice system before are now.”
  • The Racial Politics of Childish Gambino

    The Racial Politics of Childish Gambino
    Donald Glover’s trap gospel "This Is America" is a piece of trickster art that soundly rebukes the natural DNA of the protest song and constructs it into a freakish chronicle of imprisoned torment.
  • Period: to

    The History of Rap: 1970 to Now

    Hip-hop finds its ethnic origins in Jamaican music and DJs in the seventies who used two turntables to create longer drum breaks in records for dance parties giving rise to “breakdancing” and “break-dancers” now known as b-boys and b-girls. DJs and MCs popularized the technique of speaking over beats and the culture expanded to include street dance and graffiti art. Embraced by working-class urban and young African-Americans.