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What Went Right With Presents… The Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs About September 11th & The War On Terror

An image of a vinyl record with an aerial view of the World Trade rubble by What Went Wrong Or Right With...? for whatwentrightwith.com

Mainstream Political Hip-Hop almost disappeared following the 9/11 attacks. Whereas mainstream rappers such as Jay-Z and Eminem made passing, almost meaningless remarks in a couple of their songs, Underground Hip-Hop artists unleashed their opinion and devoted entire songs to the subject. If you’re not a fan or a follower of underground music however, these tracks may have gone unnoticed. Unlike the Hippie movement during the late 60s and early 70s where every political song made it to the consciousness of the public (and therefore is referenced in numerous films and television programmes set during that time) political music created during the 00s has almost been wiped from history. If you ask someone what music was playing during the Vietnam War people would say something like “Eve Of Destruction” by Barry McGuire but if you ask someone what music was made during the unfolding of the War On Terror they’ll say something like “Izzo” by Jay-Z, but surely that’s a very grave thing to happen? Political music has been hushed by the media and Hip-Hop music specifically has been made to look superficial and hollow rather than deep and meaningful over the years, especially after the dawn of the millennium. But fuck the mainstream, here’s a list of Hip-Hop songs that didn’t shy away from the topic of war, terrorism, foreign policy, and everything in-between, these artists didn’t get scared to air their alternative and unpopular opinion and that’s exactly what Hip-Hop music is all about…

20

“Rule”

By Nas & Amerie

Let’s start with something that’s not too heavy. Now I’ll admit that two of the most corniest tracks on Nas’ album Stillmatic were “Rule” and “My Country”. These two back-to-back songs sported mediocre choruses but “Rule” contained some peace-loving lyrics which were much needed during a time of jingoism and sabre-rattling. Along with the interpolation of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, this makes for a decent track that questions the war-mongering…

19

“Is America”

By Scaramanga

Jay-Z’s Blueprint was released on September 11th 2001 but Scaramanga aka Sir Menelik hilariously stated who had the bigger impact on 9/11; “Fuck Jigga, Osama the real nigga”. Aside from this joke however, this final song from album Snake Eyes questions how America reacted to 9/11…

18

“Home Security”

By Loer Velocity, Mazzi, Oktober, Pumpkinhead, Sub Conscious, & Stic.Man of dead prez

This is a track from DJ Black Panther’s album The Darkest Night Ever, although it’s not completely focussed, there’s a lot of political content from a whole host of rappers…

17

“Let Freedom Ring (Remix)”

By Grime

This track which references the opening line from Ras Kass‘ “Nature Of The Threat” is a decent song. I don’t know too much about the artist but I remember liking it back in the day. I couldn’t find this track on YouTube but you can play this song on Sound Click, just click here (the song will open in a new tab)

16

“Grenades”

By Pumpkinhead

Another little known track is “Grenades” by the late, great Pumpkinhead. “Fuck the military” is a line you won’t hear in any mainstream Hip-Hop song during a decade made famous by militarism and army-dick-riding…

15

“Propaganda”

By Lost Children Of Babylon

A decent track by collective The Lost Children Of Babylon, this is taken from an album completely dedicated to September 11th titled “The 9/11 Report”…

14

“Satisfied”

By J-Live

The second verse from this track contained some pertinent lyrics; “The same devils that you used to love to hate, they got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate. The same ones that traded books for guns, smuggled drugs for funds, and had fun lettin’ off forty-one. But now it’s all about NYPD caps, and Pentagon bumper stickers, but yo, you still a nigger”…

13

“The Decider”

By Cleveland Steamers

This humourous and clever track uses samples of George W. Bush to answer each line delivered by the duo. It is undoubtedly the best anti-Bush Hip-Hop song on this list. This is another track that’s not on YouTube but it’s available on Spotify…

12

“Bin Laden”

By Immortal Technique & Mos Def

The chorus to this song samples Jadakiss’ line from “Why” and it contains lines like this; “Bush funded Al-Qaeda, and now they blame the Muslim religion, even though bin Laden was a CIA tactician, they gave him billions of dollars, and they funded his purpose, Fahrenheit 9/11, that’s just scratching the surface”. It’s just unfortunate that DJ Green Lantern (the producer) tacks on a corny line by Eminem on the end of the track. That particular throwaway lyric from the song “Patiently Waiting” ruins an otherwise serious song…

11

“Bin Laden (Remix)”

By Immortal Technique, KRS-One, & Chuck D

A longer remix of “Bin Laden” contains some more political lyrics from Immortal Technique, this time with KRS One and Chuck D of Public Enemy on the hook…

10

“Prince Of Terror”

By TruthTold

A biography of Osama Bin Laden from an artist I’ve ever heard of (if you know anything more about TruthTold leave a comment below this article). Regardless of who this rapper is and where he’s from, he makes a good job of going through the history of everybody’s favourite noughties’ boogeyman…

9

“War”

By Tragedy Khadafi, The Art, & Future

This King Solomon produced anti-war track features Tragedy Khadafi and little known rappers The Art and Future (not that one). The line “There’s a lot of people sleeping that will never awake” refers to the masses who blindly accepted the official narrative of 9/11 and the “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” bullshit, but it could also mean the countless people killed because of this unjust and illegal war…

8

“Fahrenheit 9/11”

By Virtuoso & Slaine Mob

A decent song which references the Michael Moore documentary of the same name, the opening line says it all; “You told the soldiers fight for God, got them slaughtering kids, now they sick taking naked flicks at Abu Ghraib”…

7

“Lies”

By ReMo Conscious

This rapper from Oakland made a song for the “Loose Change” conspiracy documentary but this track is much better in my opinion (both in terms of production and lyrical content)…

6

“The 4th Branch”

By Immortal Technique

The 4th Branch of the government, according to Immortal Technique, is the media. After 9/11 the media undoubtedly helped proselytise the people into wanting military action and the removal of certain freedoms. This song tackles everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Fox News, this is Political Hip-Hop at its best…

5

“Know Your Enemy”

By dead prez

Dead Prez never hold back on their opinion and this track is no different. The opening verse by Stic.Man says it all and it was one of the first songs to say what needed to be said about flag-waving, patriotic, mass-hysteria…

4

“Home Of The Brave”

By Mr. Lif

Another very impressive track, this song was also very early to air an unpopular opinion about 9/11, not to mention the War On Terror, Fox News’ right-wing bullshit, and even the Anthrax scare. It also contains a sample of Public Enemy’s “Welcome To The Terrordome” and Ice Cube’s “Endangered Species” during the chorus…

3

“9/11 Was An Inside Job”

By Roy Shivers

Alex Jones and InfoWars have since become fake, government-supporting, Islamophobic shills, but after September 11th they were one of the few alternative media outlets that brought up the discrepancies in the official narrative of the event. This song utilises Alex Jones speaking about 9/11 during the chorus and the song itself goes through the evidence and the conspiracies in a “Nature Of The Threat” style. On a side note, it’s a great way of discrediting art and media by creating a believable frontman for conspiracies and then allowing him to sellout, songs like this may now sound idiotic because of its association with Jones but back in the noughties, this was a brilliantly-constructed song that didn’t shy away from the conspiracy theories…

2

“What Would You Do?”

By Paris

Paris’ album cover for Sonic Jihad showed an aircraft flying into the White House and the LP itself was also a brilliant piece of Political Hip-Hop. As a rapper he is rarely mentioned when the sub-genre is brought up and that’s very unfortunate. This track contains some decent lyrics and a great edited Bush speech during the intro…

1

“The Cause Of Death”

By Immortal Technique

This is arguably the best song about 9/11 and the War On Terror, at the very least it sounded the most heartfelt to me when I first heard it. With no bassline this song doesn’t sound like a stereotypical Political Hip-Hop track but the lyrics are the epitome of the sub-genre. I could quote some of the lines but pretty much the entire song is a Hip-Hop quotable, especially the second and third verses…

So don’t let anybody tell you that Hip-Hop stayed quiet about 9/11 and the War On Terror. Beneath the mainstream’s contrived viewpoint, beneath all the skewed patriotism, the blind support for the military and the government, the jingoism and the scare-mongering there was…

A War Against The War.

Read more at whatwentwrongwith.com

READ MORE AT WHATWENTWRONGWITH.COM…

What Went Wrong With... Society, Media, & Popular Culture After September 11th?

What Went Wrong With… Society, Media, And Popular Culture After 9/11?

Read more at whatwentwrongwith.com

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