The diverse music inspired by Black Lives Matter is bound by a profound shared grievance and a stance of never giving up

Black History Month 2021
  • PLAYLIST: Black Music Matters: Part 2:
    The Hard Mix on YouTube and Spotify

Black History Month

The past year has been momentous in the struggle for Black rights. February is Black History Month and, once again, Kurated is focusing on Black issues and artists. This is the final Black History Month post for this year. Your feedback is always welcome!

Kurated is a music sharing project.
Stay tuned and enjoy,
Kris Sig Plastic V3

28 February 2021


Artwork from

Kendrick Lamar’s Alright is one of the songs featured on Black Music Matters: Part 2– The Hard Mix playlist. Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music – the first rap artist to be acknowledged – for his 2017 album DAMN.


Today’s post is a companion piece to Kurated 110 where I explained the reason for two playlists for Black Lives Matter: Some of this music wants to be listened to and some of it asks you to get up. A few of the 20 artists you’ll hear include T-Pain (with the song Get Up), Beyoncé, Robert Cray, David Byrne, Anderson.Paak, Snotty Nose Rez Kids (hailing from Kitimaat Village, BC) and Lauryn Hill.

Track List for The Hard Mix

1) Black Lives Matter -Dele Sosimi Sosimi played with Afrobeat progenitor Fela Kuti for six years and later with Fela’s son Fema. The lyrics offer a brief history lesson.

2) Get Up – T-Pain The Florida rapper has been recording since 2004 and is known for his use of autotune.

I gave it my all and it still ain’t enough (Still ain’t enough)
Everybody gettin’ knocked down (Knocked down)
The only thing that matters is what you gon’ do when you get up
Get up there, get up now
Get up there, get up
The only thing that matters is what you gon’ do when you get up
The only thing that matters is what you gon’ do when you get up
Get up

3) Black Parade – Beyoncé  The song was released on June 19, 2020, also referred to as Juneteenth, the day on which slavery ended in the U.S.
Money raised from the song goes to the singer’s  BeyGOOD’s Black Business Impact Fund which helps support Black-owned small businesses.

4) Hell You Talmbout (two versions)

  • Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland Collective (on YouTube only)
  • David Byrne on Spotify

The title is a contraction of “what the hell are you talking about?” Monáe and the Wondaland collective recorded this in 2015 invoking the names of 18 Black people who were killed in police conflicts. 

David Byrne and his band used the song as an encore during their 2018 American Utopia tour.

5) Black Lives Matter – Dae Dae, London On Da Track

6) Don’t Shoot Guns Down – Sault

7) Be Free – J. Cole

8) Sandra’s Smile – Blood Orange The song commemorates Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman found dead in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas after being detained for a minor traffic violation in July, 2015. Blood Orange is British singer Devonté Hynes. 

9) We Got Love – (feat. Ms Lauryn Hill) Teyana Taylor

10) This Man – Robert Cray

11) Lockdown – Anderson.Paak Also known as Brandon Paak Anderson, the California-based artist has won three Grammy Awards including best R&B Album for 2019’s Ventura.

12) “24 (Toronto Remix)” – TOBi (feat. Shad, Haviah Mighty, Jazz Cartier and Ejji Smith) Some of Toronto’s top hip hop stars collaborate to record this one released in May last year.

13) Rank & File – Moses Sumney The Los Angeles singer/songwriter wrote this tense and urgent piece after attending his first demonstration held to protest the killing of Michael Brown. The Black 18 year-old was shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

Watch them assemble
Looking for trouble
March in formation
March for our nation

Now I don’t care what I’ve been told
(Hey, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
This police state is much cold
(Hey, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Cut from crooked cloth and mold
(Hey, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
This police state is much too old
(Hey, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

And fall right into rank and file
They fall right into rank and file
They fall right into rank and file
Fall right into rank and file
They fall right into rank and file

14) My Bloc – Che Lingo says: “South London rapper Che Lingo explores the deeper, more heartfelt side of U.K. rap, aiming to bring emotional intelligence to his lyrics and beats.” He told music mag NME the initial “driving force and inspiration” of the track was to raise awareness for his friend Julian Cole – who had his neck broken and was left brain-damaged by police after an incident at a Bedfordshire nightclub in 2013. Cole’s family continue to fight for justice.

15) Rooted – (feat. Ester Dean) Ciara
“All my songs come with melanin / Got the heart, got the soul like Harriet / A queen since she born, that was evident / That’s evidence of Black excellence,” – Ciara

16) Letter To the Fee – Common, Bilal Performing since the 1990s, Common is one of the most influential and political rappers on the scene. He has recorded 13 albums and won three Grammy Awards including wins for his collaborations with Erykah Badu and John Legend.

17) The Bigger Picture – Lil Baby

18) Black America Again – Common and Stevie Wonder

19) Cops With Guns Are The Worst!!! – Snooty Nose Rez Kids
Hailing from Kitimaat Village, BC, SNRK are a First Nations hip hop duo who have been recording since 2017. They released their latest EP last April. A sample lyric:
“Fuck the police, with a fist to the sky!
We fighting for the future homie pick a side
New lies, cut ties, new genocide
We the future and the future will be televised”

20) Alright – Kendrick Lamar In 2018 Lamar became the first rap artist to win a Pulitzer Prize. He won the music prize for his 2017 album DAMN. The Pulitzer write-up said: “Recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” 


On Spotify

On YouTube