This week, I wrote about a new album from North Carolina musicians making songs inspired by that state's Moral Monday protests. Listening to their album made me hungry for a whole playlist of American protest music.
So, I spent way too long putting together this mixtape of great American protest songs. It's an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rap, dance, and folk—it includes no punk, because that's just my taste. My desire was to make a mix that's enjoyable to listen to, in addition to being all about politics. The songs address a wide range of issues in American history, including racism, sexism, police brutality, inequality, and war. I put some serious classics on there (like “Talkin' Bout a Revolution”) and some songs that make me laugh (like Peggy Seeger's “I'm Gonna Be an Engineer.”) I put Nina Simone on there twice because she's Nina Simone.
Ironically, when I bought Barbara Dane's song “I Hate Capitalism” on iTunes, there was a glitch and iTunes wouldn't let me listen to it. I had to buy the song off Amazon. What can I say? Capitalism is one tough glitch.
Please let me know your other favorite protest songs in the comments—there are so many more great ones that I didn't include here.
Listen to over 200 Bitch-made feminist mixtapes on 8tracks.com.
This Land is Your Land (Woody Guthrie cover) - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
My Favorite Mutiny - The Coup
Fight the Power - Public Enemy
The Message - Grandmaster Flash
Mississippi Goddamn - Nina Simone
Here's to the State of Mississippi - Phil Ochs
Waves - Portugal. the Man
I Shot Mr. Lee - The Bobbettes
Lucky Girl - Tetes Noires
50 Thousand Deep - Blue Scholars
Party at the NSA - YACHT
Get Off the Internet - Le Tigre
Combat Rock - Sleater-Kinney
My Body Politic - Caitlin Cary and shirlette ammons
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
Let Me Die in My Footsteps - Bob Dylan
I Hate the Capitalist System - Barbara Dane
Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore - John Prine
I'm Gonna Be an Engineer - Peggy Seeger
The Most Dangerous Woman - Utah Phillips/Ani DiFranco
Talkin' Bout a Revolution - Tracy Chapman
Four Women - Nina Simone
Thanks to my friends for their over 100 recommendations for this mix. Special thanks to Beth Wooten, Alex Schechter, Cyrus Smith, and Alex Mahan, whose recommendations I used the most.