Stress from the presidential election has been all too real. Many are fearful and on edge about what President Trump could mean for America.
So after a contentious and draining election season, and a vote count that went into the wee hours -- we are left to grapple with an even more exhausting result. Many feel a crumbling surge of uncertainty on where they stand.
In light of what awaits us, many artists have turned to music to speak in our troubling times and to articulate the agony and frustration that many of us are feeling.
The question still haunts like a nightmare: Why would America elect an openly, sexist and xenophobic as our next president?
Many sense a spiritual void amid the looming chaos, the stirred up negativity from the results have brought up more acts of racial violence and mistreatment.
Yet in this period of uncertainty, one thing is definite: America will prevail.
Darkness may encompass us and try to convince us that all hope is lost, but music serves as the imperative reminder that we are not alone.
Out of this oppressing atmosphere must come a call to action; art communicating a freedom lost or trampled or abandoned or fractured or decimated. Here are 5 artists storming the stage and singing out their own truths in a time seemingly devoid of it.
1. Highly Suspect - “Viper Strike”
The 2x Grammy nominated American rock trio Highly Suspect leaked “Viper Strike” shortly after Trump’s US election win, and let’s just say their unburden, don't give a f**k demeanor is exactly what the world needs at this moment.
“Viper Strike” encapsulates perfectly the state of our mad world. The venomous track is incredibly intense, serving as an open brutal letter that describes the band’s hatred for racism and homophobia.
Blending a perfect mix of grunge punk and funky verses, the band also gets super vocal about the recent police shootings and Black Lives Matter in their lyrics, singing: “Guns don’t kill people, white people kill black people with guns / Is it hard to hear?”
In regards to the track, lead vocalist and guitarist, Johnny Stevens said:
"In light of today's events we think it's appropriate to leak this song. Remember to love each other in this time. We call upon you to help those who are suffering and protect the rights of our fellow human beings that have worked so hard to get them. We always have and always will fight for equality, in whatever capacity we can. Count your blessings and show no fear. This song is called Viper Strike. It is not for the faint of heart. MCID"
2. The Regrettes - “Seashore”
LA-based garage pop quartet The Regrettes (whom we've spoken with before) might be just teens, but they are truly outspoken when it comes to social and political issues. The teen punk riot kids -- fronted by extremely political Lydia Night, released “Seashore.”
The track opens with a playful tune of a guitar, but Night shows she means business when she sings: “You’re talking to me like a child / hey, I got news I’m not a little girl / and no I won’t give you a little twirl.”
Known for covering strong messages in their music such as politics and female identity, “Seashore” urges people to 'just go f**k yourself' if you're down with the patriarchy and recent p-word grabbing attitude.
With a middle finger as its visual album art, the garage-rock single is a flip of the bird to anyone who has ever discriminated based on gender. In light of recent events, the band also dedicated the song to no other than, yup you guessed it: Drumpf.
3. Mainland - “Empty Promises”
New York City indie rock band, Mainland released “Empty Promises” on election day to reverberate how hopeless some of us really feel when it comes to politics.
Let’s face it: some people felt at a crossroads in knowing who to elect as their next president. Many felt hopeless and said we were doomed from the start with both candidates, those who were not in favor of either — voted for 3rd party, or sadly didn’t vote at all.
With a blaring rhythmic guitar and intricate drums, Topf’s poignant lyrics describes the act of putting one’s blind faith in the hands of those who “promise” the world. These lyrics still hit home even after election day, as many still feel despair with the presidential results.
In regards to the song, the band said: "WE WILL NOT LET THE USA GO DOWN. WE WILL STAND UP FOR THE FREEDOM AND LOVE WE HAVE BUILT. NOT THE COWARDICE BIGOTRY #NOTMYPRESIDENT...the only thing we can do now is fight for our rights and make art."
4. A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service
No one really knows what to expect with Trump at helm of the country, but renowned hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest’s final album We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service is a protest-minded project with a call to unity and resilience.
The last time A Tribe Called Quest released an album was 18 years ago since 1998’s The Love Movement. The legendary and revered hip-hop group has returned stronger than ever with their much anticipated sixth and final album.
Honestly, it couldn’t have arrived at a time when the world needed it most. The leading track “The Space Program,” sets the expectations for the rest of the album, addressing political issues with: “It’s time to go left and not right,” or verses that hit home like: “They planning for our future/ None of our people involved.”
The group calls forth a revolution with “The Space Program,” seeking an irreversible progressive change in where everyone could be included regardless of age, sex, or gender.
Overall, the album is brim with meaning. One of the most powerful and political songs on the album is “We the People,” which touches on many current events including police brutality, racial and religious discrimination, gentrification, threats of deportation, and a lack of equality for women.
“We the People” exposes and highlights the harsh truth behind Trump’s campaign, saying: “All you Black folks, you must go/All you Mexicans, you must go/And all you poor folks, you must go/Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways/So all you bad folks, you must go.”
In regards to Trump’s victory, in an interview with The Village Voice, Q-Tip said, "With Trump being elected president, we have to look at where we are with race in this country. Not just a conversation, but actions that are going to instill knowledge and healing. I wish we could be really solutions-oriented in our conversation before there is more bloodshed on the streets."
5. Jason James x Rodney Hazard - No Weapon
Written and recorded over a 4-year span, Jason James and spoiled's very own Creative Director, Rodney Hazard, released their third and hotly-anticipated album No Weapon.
The album is a thirty-minute journey that focuses on American imperialism, personal struggles, war and terrorism to religion and sexuality in the digital age.
The opening track “No Weapon” highlights the way society has been brainwashed by the media and the number of ways in which the government has total control in our lives.
In “No Weapon,” James illuminates all of America’s problems including the materialistic things and people we idolized, pointing out that we’re all being used like puppets: “Life manufactured/no individuals.”
The Vancouver artist describes on “No Weapon” how we’re being distracted from the real truth. This brutal reality sinks in when he speaks out on the presidential election, rapping: “Who you’re voting for the ass or the elephant/ It doesn’t matter because your ass is irrelevant.”
In his last song, “Runaway Slaves,” James cleverly makes an interesting connection between religion and politics, essentially saying that the government and even media won’t have control over him.
James refuses to worship and idolize anything or anyone, by expressing: You can have all the money and the fame/ But you’re not my god/ Helicopters, guns and tanks/But you’re not my god/Owned every President and all of the banks/But you’re not my god.”
Those verses depict the way so many people feel in this political climate, especially when many have denied on Trump being their president ( #NOTMYPRESIDENT).
All in all, the album is deep, dark and real, but it works perfectly with Hazard's production style.
James said, “I believe a lot of today’s music has lost its meaning and the world needs positivity now more than ever. It’s important that the world knows that thoughtful music is still out there and WE ARE HERE TO REVIVE IT!”[Feature Image Courtesy HipHopDX]