Underground Musicians Who Are Also Activists: A Playlist

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is just an excuse to make this a headline. As we gear up for the holiday this Monday with an empowering playlist, know that we should constantly be helping these musicians and what they stand for as much as we can.

There’s no single genre or musical theme connecting this playlist. It’s simply contemporary underground musicians who you might’ve missed because although they might not be in the charts, they need to be heard musically and politically. From entire Bandcamp revenues going straight to charities or organizations to musicians openly calling out the messed up shit happening in our society—press play and educate yourself on what these bands are preaching and practicing.


A spoken poem-style song about the musician’s stark experiences of racial profiling, police harassment, detention, and Islamophobia.


Emicida, “É tudo pra ontem” ft. Gilberto Gil

Huge in South America, the Brazillian rapper and activist created this song to go along with his Netflix documentary AmarElo-It’s All For Yesterday, celebrating Black Brazillian culture.


Nana Grizol, “Plantation Country”

Pop-punk allies in the movement, this track condemns the whitewashing of plantations, which are still being used for leisure and capitalism today. The entire album is available on Bandcamp with 100% of its proceeds going to Southerners On New Ground.


Iye Yin Dae, “Streets”

His music is moody and introspective hitting on all kinds of social issues. He’s also an educator and works hard alongside and for his community in Philadelphia, Pa.


The Muslims, “Punch A Nazi”

In both their music and attitudes, this trio uses punk rock to humorously, but very seriously preach about injustices and uses their platform to lift the voices of the oppressed.


Mega Ran, “Courageous Cat” ft. Rockness Monsta & Monteasy

Also an educator, this rapper creates social rhymes that explode with emotion and strength. He also raised $15K for the Bail Fund Project back in June to help those arrested during the #BLM protests.


Joshua Henry, “Stand Up” (The O’Jays cover)

This song is so powerful and so brutally relevant today. Henry is working with Dosomething.org by volunteering in it’s Strength Through Service program and also donating prortions of this song’s proceeds to the organization.


Red Arkade, “Fuck This Shit”

An NYC hardcore punk band that doesn’t take anyones shit is what 2021 desperately needs. They’re active on the streets with protests and share it with their fans.



An activist with Black Trans Lives Matter, WILLIE the GENIUS stands up for everyone who needs it and does so by dancing, singing, and educating through art. Plus, the music video for this song was made at the Black Lives Matter mural in NYC and it’s magnificent.


FEVER 333, “Burn It”

Activist hardcore punk/rap that shoves activism in your face—if you’ve been so privileged that you aren’t even aware of the shit going on, Fever 333 will make you see.