Kendrick Lamar – How Much a Dollar Cost
“I’ll tell you just how much a dollar cost. The price of having a spot in Heaven, embrace your loss, I am God.”
In How Much a Dollar Cost, Kendrick tells the story of his interaction with a homeless man begging for money. The song’s instrumental alone can leave listeners speechless. However, the lyrics force listeners to reevaluate their perceptions of the homeless.
WuTang Clan – Impossible
“Innocent black immigrants locked in housing tenements. Eighty-Five percent tenants depended welfare recipients.”
In Impossible, various members of WuTang Clan passionately recount the dark sides of poverty. Though this song was released in 1997, listeners will be shocked to see the similarities between the past and the present.
Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair
“You know this hair is my shit. Rode the ride, I gave it time. But this here is mine.”
For many African American women, hair is an integral part of our identities. In this line of Don’t Touch My Hair, Solange perfectly describes how time can heal the love-hate relationship many African American women experience with their hair.
6Lack, Dreezy, Kodak Black – Spar
“This can’t be, “Land of the free”. If kneeling might cost your position. I’m supposed to respect the system.”
Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the pledge of allegiance *in protest of the flag* was an event that changed the world. Though Kaepernick’s protest is a symbol of black empowerment, it unfortunately left him without a job.
Vince Staples – Nat
“Face emotionless, I don’t think they ever noticed that I noticed it. As a kid all I wanted a hundred grand.”
The memories of our childhood follow us for the rest of our lives. In Vince Staples’, Nate, Vince expresses the conundrum of having a “normal” childhood in a poverty-stricken household. Listeners are able to see the commonalities between Vince’s childhood and their own childhood.
Joey Bada$$ – Waves
“Since nine five, momma been working nine five. And I know the landlord fed up with our lies. So, we pray to the Gods, the Jahs, and the Allahs. To keep us safe and watch our lives.”
In Waves, Joey Bada$$ perfectly describes hopelessly wanting (but being unable) to help our parents.
Jay-Z – Moonlight
“We stuck in La La Land. Even when we win, we gon’ lose.”
In Moonlight, Jay-Z pokes fun at the 2017 Oscar’s Best Picture fiasco. Just look it up on YouTube if you’ve been living under a rock since 2017.