“Changes by Tupac >>> “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West >>> “Untitled” by Nas >>> “F*ck Your Ethnicity by Kendrick Lamar
As you may know, “F*ck Your Ethnicity” by Kendrick Lamar is not the first rap song that talks about racism. There have been plenty of rap songs that talk about the racism that black people have endured in the United States. So much so, that it is like a lineage of songs that talk about rap. To me, there are three songs that come to mind.
The first song that I think about is “Changes” by Tupac. Tupac grew up in California, just like Kendrick did. Tupac was also an important figure to not only the rap world, but in the political world as well as he frequently talked about the race relations that go on in the United States. There are a lot of similarities between “Changes” and “Fuck Your Ethnicity” as for one, they both count as protest songs for their upbeat sound by dark lyrics. This could be something Kendrick got influence from as the gentle sound gives way for harsher words. This collection of lyrics that really stuck out to me:“I see no changes, all I see is racist faces, Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races, We under, I wonder what it takes to make this, One better place, let’s erase the wasted, Take the evil out the people, they’ll be actin’ right ‘Cause both black and white are smokin’ crack tonight, And the only time we chill is when we kill each other”. After hearing theses lyrics it’s sad that these things still ring true today and this song was released all the way in 1992, almost two decades earlier than “Fuck Your Ethnicity”.
The second song is “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West. Released in 2005, this song is a spiritual that not only talks about Christianity, but the racism Kanye (or the protagonist in the song”) endures in this song. Similar to “F*ck Your Ethnicity”, this song has dark lyrics but also has a sound that makes you seem calm, such as both songs using children’s choirs in the background. It talks about police brutality as Kanye says: “Getting choked by detectives yeah, yeah, now check the method, They be asking us questions, harass, and arrest us”
The third song after that is “Untitled” by Nas. This song was released with the album in 2008. The album this song comes from is also named “Untitled” and its central focus is the racism that black people have been dealing with in the United States. You can tell just from the album cover.

As you can see, Nas’ back is covered with lashings to form the letter “N”, which stands for the word “N***er”. Much like “F*ck Your Ethnicity” and “Changes”, this song is upbeat, but there is a darker aura in the sound in order to convey the seriousness of the song. What Nas and Kendrick both have in common is that they challenge the claim that people say that they are both activists. They both reject that claim and say that they are just being themselves and doing what they do.