On Tuesday, Zack de la Rocha gathered up a few of his friends to protest the Arizona state law (SB 1070) that legalizes
and sanctions racial profiling on the site Soundstrike.net.
Artists who joined forces to boycott Arizona (by “not allow(ing)
our collective economic power to be used to aid and abet civil and human
rights violations that will be caused by Arizona's odious law”) include: Cypress Hill (who has already cancelled a show in Arizona), Juanes, Conor Oberst, Los Tigres del Norte, Rage Against the Machine, Cafe Tacvba, filmmaker Micheal Moore, Kanye West, Calle 13, Joe Satriani, Serj Tankian, Rise Against, Ozomatli, Sabertooth Tiger, Massive Attack, One Day as a Lion, Street Sweeper Social Club, Spank Rock, Sonic Youth and Tenacious D. Sign the petition to stop SB 1070 here.
In solidarity, Heard Mentality has put together a playlist of some of these bands' best “fight the power” songs after the jump.
From Zack de la Rocha's press release:
Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled
over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the
way they speak, or for the music they listen to. …
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, they arrested her. As a
result, people got together and said we are not going to ride the bus
until they change the law. It was this courageous action that sparked
the Montgomery bus boycott. What if we got together, signed a collective
letter saying, “we're not going to ride the bus”, saying we are not
going to comply. We are not going to play in Arizona. We are going to
Here are some awesome protest songs from bands boycotting Arizona (incidentally, Sonic Youth doesn't have an explicit protest song, but Thurston Moore does have a blog of protest songs online.)
1. Rage Against The Machine, “People of the Sun”
De la Rocha could've been speaking about Arizona when he wrote this in 1996: “Tha new era of terror, check this photo lens/Now the city of angles ethnic cleanse/Heads bobbin' to tha fuck out ya speaker, on tha one Maya, Mexica/That vulture came ta try an steal ya name but now you found a gun./Ya history, this is for the people of the sun.“
2. Cypress Hill feat. Tom Morello, “Rise Up”
With lyrics such as “Turn a step back I'm tired of getting pushed/Gotta rise up to the top/Theres so much more to make the whole city rise/This defines a man to get the whole world lifted” it's been said that “Rise Up” could be the anthem to Arizona's immigration saga.
3. Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst), “Road To Joy”
A glorious ode to taking arms against apathy, without just being sheep. (“So when you're asked to fight a war that's over nothing/It's best to join the side that's going to win.”)
Rise Against has written pretty prolifically against war. Here's a graphic video to go with it.
5. Ozomatli, “La Temperatura”
In this About.com interview, Ulises Bella said about “La Temperatura,” “Immigration, at least here in Los Angeles, it's mostly Mexican and Central American issues. But the way I see it, there's a deeper historical context. This country was founded by immigrants, whether it was the Irish, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Italians. I felt that it was very much a scapegoat issue, bashing the immigrants, when its obvious we're having problems in different places.”
6. System of A Down (Serj Tankian), “Boom!”
One of the best songs ever written about militarism. In fact, you could make the same anti-war argument for Arizona; instead of spending money on policing immigrants, we can help the starving and seriously ill.