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Nahko’s ‘Take Your Power Back’ Playlist

With everyone sequestered and self-quarantining due to the coronavirus, we’ve asked our favorite artists to come up with playlists that keep you entertained. Here is alternative singer/songwriter Nahko:

Music has a mystical way of arriving and cradling us during emotional times. It goes without saying (but, I’ll say it anyway) that 2020 is nothing short of emotional. In fact, we’re being confronted with a dialectical moment that our future ancestors will refer back to as the major turning point in world history. Are we able to hold multiple truths at one time, see the hindsight of 2020 (where we’ve been and what didn’t work for us) and perfect 2020 vision of the future (where we want to go and what will work for us) and then make the changes needed?

Below is a playlist I’ve curated that speaks to my love for social justice. Folk music is rooted in oppression and injustice. It branched off into blues, jazz, hip-hop, etc however the weapon of words + music has always been a tool for revolution and change. From current artists to iconic leaders who are no longer with us, these are songs of 2020 vision, a future we can believe in.

“Clandestino” – Manu Chao
In my opinion, Manu is the greatest French/Spanish writer of the century. His voice for immigrants, systematic oppression, and skillful linguistics have kept my spirits high for many years. This song really gets me every time, on the topic of immigrant families and borders.

“S.O.T.L.” – Ludacris, Lil Wayne
Honestly, this is the realest I’ve ever heard from Ludacris. In my opinion, this is important to witness artists’ shift narratives and messaging.

“Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
A timeless classic that will never die. Whenever you need to catch a revolutionary vibe, whip this out.

“Black America Again” – Common, Stevie Wonder
Common is arguably one of the greatest rappers of the last 20 years. Combined with Stevie Wonder, this song hits so deep. Real truth in the words here. Listen close and put it on repeat. Teachable moments!

“Tribe” – Jidenna
If you’re into afro-beats, this is a song for you. It’ll melt like honey over your ears and make you wanna squad up with your crew.

“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” – Nina Simone
Softening your edges with this smooth piano melody from one of my favorite singers. You already know this is going to cradle you in all the best ways. This song knows exactly where to speak to the heart of the issue.

“16 Shots” – Vic Mensa
I’m clearly on a roll here with songs about oppression and brutality of BIPOC. Vic Mensa tells the story of Laquan Mcdonald and his murder at the hands of Chicago PD. It’s a harrowing story, considering the current moment, and an important timepiece to this ongoing issue in America.

“Speak Life” – Damian Marley
Beach lullabies from the legend. Damian has a way with words and this is yet another example of his power. Laidback and way too cool.

“My Generation” – Nas & Damian Marley, Lil Wayne, Joss Stone
I love these all-star line-up collaborations! This speaks to the future ancestors and will inspire you to keep the vibes high.

“We Are Nowhere and It’s Now” – Bright Eyes
One of my biggest influences, Bright Eyes knocks me out every time with this tune. Emmy Lou Harris dishes a perfect duet with Connor and reminds you that folk music can bring you to that fine line between joy and grief with just one chord.

“Show Me How to Live” – Audioslave
Chris’s music kept me sane in my teen years and it will never get old. You may want to turn this up to 11 and let your hair down.