Editor’s note: Every Friday for the month of June, aka African-American Music Appreciation Month, aka Black Music Month, we’ll be creating a Spotify playlist based on the news of the week. Check out the stories behind playlist No. 1, playlist No. 2 and playlist No. 3.
Real talk: This week was fucked up.
There were so many stories in the news week that reminded us that black lives really don’t matter that I almost felt like Florida Evans, throwing down a crystal punch bowl to the ground, shaking my fists to the heavens:
But luckily, black music has magical healing powers. Black people have been channeling their anger and frustration, but also their love and joy for life, into their music since forever. Many of the songs on this week’s playlist aren’t necessarily connected to a specific news story; they’re on it because they capture a mood or perfectly express an emotion, or they’re just soothing to the soul, because sometimes we don’t always have the words to say what we feel other than “Damn.”
1. “Fuck tha Police,” by N.W.A
This oldie but goodie perfectly sums up the week, with police across the nation doing their part to keep this song in style, like shooting pregnant mothers who called them for help or getting a one-day suspension for stomping on the head of a handcuffed man or getting away with killing a legal gun owner during a traffic stop for a busted taillight.
2. “Quiet Storm,” by Mobb Deep
3. “Shook Ones, Part II,” by Mobb Deep
4. “Survival of the Fittest,” by Mobb Deep
Hip-hop lost another legend this week with the passing of mic master Prodigy, who died Tuesday at the age of 42. As Justin Charity wrote in The Ringer, “No rapper has ever been more honest about the agony and aspirations of a stickup kid than Prodigy.” Though no official cause of death has been given, Prodigy had recently been struggling with sickle cell disease, something he’d been dealing with his entire life.
5. “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” by Outkast
The song that gives this list its headline, in a perfect expression of that Florida Evans quote.
6. “The Life,” by Pharoahe Monch, Featuring Styles P
7. “Get By,” by Talib Kweli
8. “Definition,” by Black Star
9. “Hip Hop,” by Dead Prez
10. “93 ’Til Infinity,” by Souls of Mischief
11. “Choices (Yup),” by E-40
12. “Superhyphy,” by Keak da Sneak
When California Sen. Kamala Harris is not busy scaring the shit out of white men, she’s dropping a Spotify playlist for Black Music Month. As my colleague Monique Judge wrote, the list is pretty solid, but I think it’s a little light on tunes from Northern California, which is crazy, since she was born in Oakland, Calif. Tracks 10-12 are my favorites for repping the Bay Area.
13. “Million,” by Tink
14. “How Great,” by Chance the Rapper, Featuring Jay Electronica and Nicole
15. “Better,” by Lil Yachty
Ending on a high note. Next week has to be better, right?