From hip-hop to punk to thrash metal, it doesn’t matter what you’re a fan of, we can all agree that 2020 was a year full of fireworks and bullshit and it influenced some of the hardest and truest sounds that the world has seen. Politically-charged art and music have always had a place in society but always get more airtime during times of trials and tribulations; see the early 2000’s during the Bush-era of politics and 9/11.
Run The Jewels RTJ4
RTJ4 was set to be released on June 5 but in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbrey and the following country-wide protests, Run The Jewels decided, “Fuck it. Why wait.” The album opener “yankee and the brave (ep. 4)” cranks it up to 11 and keeps it there.
Check out: “Walking In The Snow”
Anti-Flag 20/20 Vision
Potentially the biggest middle finger that Anti-Flag has ever put out (at least to-date), 20/20 Vision slaps a crossed out image of the President on the cover and makes a 10 Things I Hate About You list minus the loving ending in the song “You Make Me Sick”. The album was released in January with the deluxe edition following in October, coming in with five new songs.
Check out: “Christian Nationalist”
Thrash metal band Havok have not strayed from politics in years past, with songs such as “Peace Is In Pieces” and “Intention To Deceive”, but their fifth album, V, opens with the song “Post-Truth Era” and goes on from there. Politics in metal is far from new, going back to bands such as Megadeth and Death, and Havok are just carrying the torch now.
Check out: “Fear Campaign”
Body Count Carnivore
Rap/thrash metal band Body Count returned in 2020 with their album Carnivore. Complete with a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” and featuring guest appearances from Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, the original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, late Power Trip singer Riley Gale, and Evanescence’s Amy Lee. Carnivore even made it onto metal magazine Revolver’s Top 25 Albums of 2020, coming in at #4.
Check out: “Bum Rush”
FEVER333 WRONG GENERATION
Jason Aalon Butler has been one of the most outspokenly vicious frontmen in music since his days fronting Letlive. Now fronting FEVER333, they’ve performed some of the most thematic protest songs in recent memory. WRONG GENERATION is a fast and furious eight tracks that are a must-listen for this year.
Check out: “BLOCK IS ON FIRE”
Green Day Father Of All…
While not nearly as strong as American Idiot or even 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day’s thirteenth studio album Father Of All Motherfuckers still hits some political points that have been fueling the band for years. Is it their best album? Far from it. Critics and fans alike put it towards the bottom of the pile of their catalogue. But it’s still worth a listen for long-time fans.
Check out: “Fire, Ready, Aim”
Public Enemy What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?
What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? was the fifteenth studio album released by Public Enemy. Their biggest song “Fight the Power” was first released back in 1989 and has become, what member Chuck D acknowledges as, “the most important record that Public Enemy have done”. Enter their 2020 release with the “Fight The Power: Remix 2020” featuring Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, and Questlove.
Check out: “Smash The Crowd” (feat. Ice-T and PMD)