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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Apr 09, 2014
Headline for Call Out the Instigator: 5 political musicians we hear today
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Call Out the Instigator: 5 political musicians we hear today

Making waves with sound waves, these musicians do not shy away from voicing their political opinions. We often hear many protest songs from decades ago but here are some modern day movers and shakers.




British artist Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) has an active history highlighting injustice in her music and on social media. Maya has taken up issues such as the Tamil struggle and the Wikileaks mission. Her time in the media spotlight has been exceptionally controversial but she stands her ground. M.I.A is an artist who crosses over into politics bringing up the old question of what is art if it does not change anything.




Somali Canadian hip hop artist Keinan Abdi Warsame writes about the struggle in beautiful poetic threads. He teamed up with humanitarian James Orbinski to promote Canadian Bill C393 which gives easier access to much needed drugs and health care to countries in Africa. His work goes beyond just the music. As The Dusty Foot Philosopher, K’naan makes sure he walks the walk.

Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian’s politics are apparent in his music. He’s well known for his passion for social justice. Tankian is often part of protests and organizing them with Rage Against the Machine member Tom Morello. He not only is a promoter of human rights but he also stands up for animal rights. His hard rock style delivers the message straight to the ear drums. If you weren’t awake before, you certainly are now.

Lupe Fiasco

American rapper Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (Lupe Fiasco) once said on the Colbert Report “you should criticize power even if you agree with it.” Lupe Fiasco follows through on this belief in the lyrics of his songs. His song “Words I Never Said” strongly criticizes power and government. He also penned a song for the Occupy movement. Lupe knows how to use his platform to express political views.

Tom Morello

Obviously coming from the well known politically driven band Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello would take his politics and his guitar with him. His solo act is titled The Nightwatchman and his lyrics drive a political message home. Sometimes his songs actually sound like protest chants as he is part of the Industrial Workers of the World. He and Serj Tankian have a political group called “Axis of Justice” that brings political ideas and musicians together. He is a familiar face among activists and 90s rock enthusiasts alike.