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In the wake of the tragic loss of life this week—the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile who were killed by police— some of music's biggest artists have poured their anger and frustration into songs that have quickly pooled together as a united chorus urging for change in America in 2016. As Terrence "Punch" Henderson, the co-president of TDE tweeted Thursday, "I believe music heals. I believe that."
Jay Z shared a personal message with fans Thursday night, alerting them that he had written a song that Punch told him to release after Mike Brown's death. Jay Z didn't and told him "This issue will always be relevant." Thursday night, he finally dropped that song he had written long ago titled, "Spritual."
Swizz Beatz enlisted the help of Scarface for a dancehall-infused track that references Trayvon Martin, the Klu Klux Klan, and Donald Trump as they simultaneously beg everyone to pray and "hope that the world will be okay." It's devastatingly somber as it calls out all those little boys that have lost their lives, but leaves some room for hope.
"I cannot stay silent," Miguel opens up the track "How Many." From there, he croons about the unfortunate pattern of people's names turning into hashtags upon their senseless deaths. "How many black lives? How many heartbeats turn into flatlines?" he asks on the chorus. "This version was started (written/recorded) here in London in my hotel room between the hours of 4am and around 7am when i passed out. ill update this song every week until its complete. Please feel free to share. #blacklivesmatter," he captioned he track.
Slim Thug released his latest song, "IDKY" before he originally planned to address this week's tragedies. Of courese, this was a song Thug already had written and lined up for his forthcoming album because this week's events are only a troubling extension about the senseless loss of life that has been going unchecked for years in this country. "I remember thinking in the last few weeks this song might be too late cause it's been a minute since the last one and look here we go again twice in less than 24 hours...#BlackLivesMatter" he captioned the track.
Producer Mike Dean teamed up with Z-Ro on "No Justice No Peace," a brash song that hits the pavement hard with stark lyrics that the song was written as they watched Thursday's events "unfold on the news."
The Bay Area's Mistah Fab confronts the pain of this week's events in his track, "6 Shots," where he breaks down the details surrounding Sterling’s death before calling out the deaths of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and more. The song ends with a chilling audio clip from police officer Nakia Jones' video that has since gone viral following Sterling’s death.
Young Buck unleashes his anger on "Riot" where he advocates for everyone to exhibit physical resistance to police.
Many other artist have been using their platform for political change including Vic Mensa, YG, and Blood Orange. Recently, Vic linked up with several artists for the pro-LGBT song "Free Love" after the Orlando shooting at Pulse night club claimed dozens of innocent young lives.
Listen to all the recently released protest songs from Miguel, Slim Thug, Victoria Monét with Ariana Grande, My Morning Jacket, and many more below.