In times of civil unrest, certain thematically relevant songs that are appropriate for the moment tend to get more plays. One of those that immediately comes to mind is NWA’s classic “F*ck The Police,” and naturally, it has seen a significant jump in listens following the death of George Floyd.
Citing figures from Alpha Data, Rolling Stone notes that from May 27 to June 1, “F*ck Tha Police” experienced a 272-percent increase in on-demand audio streams compared to the five-day period before Floyd’s death. The song did particularly well this past Sunday and Monday, racking up 765,000 streams during those days, which is about five times the amount of streams on those days before the protests began.
Meanwhile, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” has also picked up steam over the past month or so, thanks to TikTok posts about the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Also from May 27 to June 1, “This Is America” had a 149-percent jump in streams.
Other songs that experienced increased streaming activity included Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” (up by 89 percent), Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” (71 percent), D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “The Charade” (122 percent), Killer Mike’s “Don’t Die” (542 percent), Beyoncé’s “Freedom” (70 percent), James Brown’s “Say It Loud — I’m Black And I’m Proud” (455 percent), and Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (34 percent).
In a 2016 interview, Ice Cube was asked if he believed things were getting better in terms of police brutality and racial equality, and he responded, “No. The problem is that they’re just the same. People don’t change their stripes. That’s just what it is. It ain’t changed.” He also said, “As a Black person, it’s always seemed like it’s a war on us. It’s just terrible. They wonder what I’ve got to complain about at this point in my life. I’ll tell you: People are only nice to me because they know who I am and they like my work. It shouldn’t have to be like that to get people to respect you.”