Unsurprisingly, there has been a resurgence of protest songs since Donald Trump started running for office. His offensiveness has spurred countless artists to speak out, even if their music was never political to begin with.
The following songs are just a handful of the best examples of anti-Trump anthems. Some are not necessarily about Trump himself but are in objection of the bleak world he has played a huge role in creating.
1. “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” by YG ft. Nipsey Hussle
Let’s just get straight to the point because YG certainly did in his hip-hop protest song that released on March 30, 2016.
YG and Nipsey Hussle were not afraid to get explicit when they wrote their angry-yet-catchy lyrics that delve into their grievances and criticisms toward Trump and his policies.
YG was so passionate about the message he was trying to spread that he broke a contract with San Diego State University that demanded he not perform the controversial song when the school booked him on March 3, 2017. He played the song anyway and consequently forfeited the $60,000 appearance fee.
2. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino
Released on May 5, the most well-known of protest songs, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” and its music video counterpart became instant internet sensations. The viral hit even shot up to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 upon its debut, becoming the 31st song to do so in the history of the chart.
The lyrics capture the plight of the average African American in the United States, who must deal with racism and discrimination as well as wider issues such as gun violence, mass shootings and police brutality.
Appropriately, a single gunshot serves as the jarring transition between the two tones of the song, an “afro folk-inspired melody” to a “dark, pulsing trap,” as Aida Amoako of The Atlantic magazine describes.
Twitter immediately took to dissecting the provocative imagery and symbols that appeared in the music video. This obsession opened up a much-needed discussion on what it is like to be black in modern-day America. Unfortunately, it is not too different from life in the past.
3. “Americans” by Janelle Monáe
Although this may be Gambino’s America, this is not Janelle Monáe’s America. Her protest song, “Americans,” is the closing track on her latest album “Dirty Computer,” which was released on April 27.
The beat is fun and uptempo, yet Monáe’s lyrics are anything but. She lambastes the conservative American dream before going into her own version, one where marginalized people are accepted for who they are and are allowed on the same playing field.
This redefinition of American identity is as enthusiastic as it is propulsive.
4. “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)” by Mac McCaughan
Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan posted this song on his Bandcamp along with a note: “Written and recorded Dec. 24, 2016 in a moment of trying to look at any possible bright side of the coming new year after the disaster that was this one.”
Since the worst already happened when the world lost legendary performer Prince in early 2016, that means it can only be uphill from here … right?
5. “Million Dollar Loan” by Death Cab for Cutie
Less than a month away from the 2016 Election Day, the three men of Death Cab for Cutie released this overtly sarcastic tune about Trump’s questionable ascent to power.
The band maintains its classic, soothing style, but the lyrics just take shot after shot at Trump and his campaign.
The song was the first installment of a Dave Eggers campaign called 30 Days, 30 Songs, in which an artist would share an anti-Trump song every day leading up to the day of the election.
The playlist has now been expanded to 1,000 Days, 1,000 Songs, so that a song will be released on every weekday of Trump’s term.
All proceeds will go toward the Center for Popular Democracy.
6. “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab)” by Mona Haydar
Mona Haydar wraps her hijab while she raps about her hijab and other celebrated Muslim values in her debut of hopefully many protest songs, “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab)” which was released on Muslim Women’s Day 2017.
Haydar takes the mic to voice her frustrations about the constant bombardment of questions, comments and concerns about her culture and how she and her fellow Muslim sisters will not stand for it any longer.
She doesn’t care what you think about her hijab and her lifestyle. She announces her pride with attitude, and if her upcoming 2018 EP is written in a similar vein, then there is plenty more where that came from.
7. “Quiet” by MILCK
When MILCK wrote her protest song about overcoming the traumas of her past, she did not expect her powerful ballad to become the unofficial anthem for the Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017.
The lyrics follow one woman’s journey as she realizes that she cannot stay quiet about her experiences with domestic abuse anymore and include a call to action for other survivors to speak out as well.
Although she had already posted a music video for the song on Jan. 16, 2017, it was not until she and a group of her fans performed an emotionally-charged a cappella version at the Women’s March on Washington that people really started to listen.
All rehearsals for the flash mob had been held via Skype, and they had only met in person two days before the performances.
8. “Fight Like A Girl” by Zolita
“You fight like a girl” is no longer an insult in Zolita’s book, as the singer proudly proclaims her method of destroying the patriarchy while wearing lingerie a shade of red as bold as she is.
This protest song radiates feminism, and the lyrics include direct references to Trump and how his oppressive campaign provoked Zolita to write the song in the first place. Women of all backgrounds will not be silenced and this song will serve as their collective voice.