8 Musicians Making New Music to Occupy Wall Street
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8. Talib Kweli, “Distraction”
The ever-political rapper from Brooklyn actually freestyled “Distraction” at one of his Occupy Wall Street visits, making it perhaps the first song that was actually born in the movement. He used his first visit there in early October—which he later said made him “proud to be an American”—to rail on rappers he perceives as misguided, celebrity-worshiping culture, and the ironic colonial impulse of Anglo-Saxon America ( Steal the land from the Native American and make our missiles Tomahawks, touche Talib.) But it really is a good rap on paper, in which he flips his lyrics quite cleverly: The people so thirsty, what they seeing is mirages/ But this passion Photoshopping and your YouTube collages/ Coming through like Collossus/ Exposing the false prophet. And to double the irony, we will direct you to his performance of this freestyle with a link to YouTube.
There are plenty more where that came from, as these are just the folks who’ve made it to Occupy so far—but hey, if people down at Occupy Oakland or Occupy London are playing Rihanna, doesn’t that automatically make it protest music? It’s about what gets people motivated to fight.
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.