Hip hop pioneer Chuck D is joining Audible’s Words + Music franchise to chronicle some of the most essential works of Black music with Songs That Shook the Planet. Per a press release provided to The Root, the show “reintroduces listeners to indelible songs from artists who literally put their lives on the line to speak truth to power and provides a soundtrack of civil uprising that is perhaps even more powerful and relevant today.”
Written, produced and performed by Chuck D, the podcast features the “Fight the Power” rapper exploring the importance of various songs throughout history, as well as his own personal connection to them.
For example, in the short clip on Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” the 61-year-old discusses how his mother’s love of great female singers didn’t always make sense to a young boy who just wanted to play outside. And while discussing Marvin Gaye’s 1971 single “What’s Going On?,” he examines how the death of his duet partner, Tammi Terrell, crushed Gaye, and was one of the factors that led to Gaye’s shift from upbeat love songs to political anthems. Chuck D also talks about how Motown was the soundtrack of his childhood.
Here’s the full list of music that for Songs That Shook the Planet examines:
- Billie Holiday - “Strange Fruit”
- Curtis Mayfield - “People Get Ready”
- Sam Cooke - “A Change is Gonna Come”
- Edwin Starr - “War Live”
- Marvin Gaye - “What’s going On?”
- Stevie Wonder - “Living For The City”
- Bob Marley - “Get Up, Stand Up”
- The Special AKA - “Nelson Mandela”
- Too Short - “The Ghetto”
As previously reported by The Root, the Public Enemy founder is also developing The Story of Hip Hop with Chuck D (working title) over at PBS. The four-part docuseries, “rewinds to the birth of hip-hop and traces its role in the story of America from the past 40 years, right up to the present day.”
“The hip-hop community has, from the start, been doing what the rest of media is only now catching up to,” Chuck D said in a statement provided to The Root. “Long before any conglomerate realized it was time to wake up, hip-hop had been speaking out and telling truths. Working with PBS and BBC is an opportunity to deliver these messages through new ways and help explain hip hop’s place in history and hopefully inspire us all to take it further.”
Songs That Shook The Planet is available now on Audible.
Will you be joining Chuck D on his trip through music history?