Michael Brown, Eric Garner: 10 Tribute Songs From T.I., Alicia Keys, J. Cole, And More
Following the grand jury decisions regarding the police-related deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY, plenty of musicians have expressed their outrage and calls for peace and unity by releasing songs inspired by these incidents. Here are 10 songs inspired by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
1. T.I. – “New National Anthem” ft. Skylar Grey
T.I. may not directly reference Michael Brown or Eric Garner in his Paperwork track "New National Anthem," but the song does address the long history of violence against African-Americans in this country, from the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X to the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
2. The Game – “Don’t Shoot” ft. Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, etc.
For his Ferguson protest track "Don't Shoot," the Game recruited what seems like the entirety of the hip-hop community to drop verses about America's racial disharmony, with Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beats, Yo Gotti, Curren$y, Problem, King Pharaoh, and TGT all making guest appearances.
3. G-Unit – “Ahhh S**t”
In the powerful music video for "Ahhh S**t," G-Unit incorporates images of not just the Eric Garner video and the Ferguson protests, but police brutality in general, including the infamous pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis.
4. Tom Morello – “Marching On Ferguson”
Tom Morello isn't one to shy away from themes of social injustice in his music (he was a member of Rage Against the Machine, after all), so it's only natural that he would write a protest anthem about Ferguson, which he claims was originally written and performed "immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown."
5. J. Cole – “Be Free”
Back in August, J. Cole shared his stark, highly emotional track "Be Free," which is dedicated to "Michael Brown and every young black man murdered in America" and incorporates audio samples of eyewitness accounts to Brown's shooting.
6. A$AP Ferg - "Talk It"
In the first verse of his contemplative Ferg Forever track "Talk It," A$AP Ferg directly references Ferguson, Michael Brown, and even N.W.A.'s incendiary golden age classic "F**k The Police."
7. Tink – “Tell The Children”
Less than 24 hours had passed after the Ferguson grand jury decision last week when Chicago rapper Tink and producer Timbaland shared their own powerful protest track "Tell The Children," which incorporates audio samples from news reports on the decision's aftermath.
8. De La Soul – “The People” ft. Chuck D
Though De La Soul's latest single "The People" was originally intended for release back in June, before the deaths of either Eric Garner or Michael Brown, its late November release in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision proved to make the song even more relevant. "We hope it will lend itself to something positive in these difficult times," the group said upon the song's release.
9. Lauryn Hill – “Black Rage”
Though Lauryn Hill's "Black Rage" dates back to 2012, the themes expressed in the song are, sadly, timeless. Hill shared a demo version of the song, which is based on "My Favorite Things," back in August to voice her support for the protests in Ferguson.
10. Alicia Keys – “We Gotta Pray”
Following the grand jury decision yesterday, Dec. 3, in the Eric Garner case, Alicia Keys shared a slideshow video for her new song "We Gotta Pray," which includes images of protests alongside quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, calling for peace and understanding in such tense and emotional times.
What other artists have shared songs inspired by Michael Brown and Eric Garner? Let us know down in the comments section below!