“In “JUNKY,” the boy-band raps (and sings) about several inner demons that they face, including homophobia and confronting one’s own sexuality, drug abuse, wasted education, sexism, and suicidal thoughts. This song was the third single from SATURATION II…The music video premiered on August 15, 2017.” (Genius)

For the past few months, I have been almost exclusively listening to BROCKHAMPTON. I became so fascinated with the dynamic of the group and how each of their songs sound so similar and yet, so different at the same time. The more research I did, I realized that they are lot different than any archetypical ‘boy bands’ I have listened to in the past. They are a diverse group of 13 members—singers, rappers, and producers, each with their own interesting background and, likewise, distinct sound.

I knew I wanted to pick a song from their discography, but since each song has individual verses which would fit a protest song categorization, it took some digging to find the one I wanted. “Junky” fully embodies the requirements for this assignment. “Junky” stood out to me the most because it discusses topics of race, treatment of members of the LGBTQ+ community, drug addiction and socioeconomics, and modern relationships. Each verse is performed by a different member of the group, outlining their experience with the corresponding issue. The song opens with Kevin Abstracts rap verse about being gay. There is no instrumental lead in—you are thrown directly into a very aggressive beat and correspondingly aggressive lyrics.

My only concern about potentially choosing this song, is that there is so much to unpack. While much of the lyrics are very straight forward, I am unsure of whether or not it is actually in protest of anything, and instead, the song is just a commentary on the ways those issues have impacted this generation and the members of BROCKHAMPTON.


“CANTU” by Aminé


I have been jamming to this song since it came out, but until looking into songs for this assignment, did I even consider that it could be a protest song. “CANTU” is from Aminé’s second album, ONEPOINTFIVE.

The song is a very upbeat rap song. Musically, it is not too complex. However, “CANTU” has several elements that separate it from most other anthem songs. The subject matter of the song highlights the stigma around embracing natural hair in the black community. The song opens with the repeated line and chorus: “I got my head hangin’ out the fucking window”. The song ends with an audio clip of famous Viner and YouTuber, Ricky Thompson, going on a rant about people touching his hair.

I think this song would be a perfect fit for this assignment because it takes a very hot topic and turns it into something approachable, while also being an empowering anthem for black youth.