As we dive deeper into this class, I find myself coming to the realization that so many songs address messages related to social issues, both subliminally and blatantly. With social issues becoming more prevalent as the years go by, I decided to choose two songs that cover two different topics with two different approaches and deliveries.

J. Cole is one of the best rappers of this lifetime. As a platinum selling artist, J. Cole has a very powerful voice in society that helps bring awareness to these issues for many people through the medium of hip-hop music. His lyrics touch deep within the listeners to create an everlasting message. His song “Neighbors” tells a personal story on racism and police brutality tied with the Black Lives Matter movement. Listening to this song for the first time gave me an eerie feeling. His tone was mellow and deep, and his verses had outstanding rhythm that leads me to play this song on repeat after hearing it once. The instrumentals are faded in the background to enhance the importance behind J. Cole’s lyrical story.

Listening more intently to the lyrics, I understand the message he was emulating. Blacks still face endless racial profiling and police brutality, and J. Cole does not put the problem to rest, rather he addresses it to bring justice to the people that he represents. J. Cole states that it’s hard for him to sleep at night since he’s “black in a white man territory”. J. Cole also says that often times police have “no evidence of the harm we’ve done”, yet behave unjustly. “Neighbors” is just one of many hits that references injustice portrayed on black lives regarding stereotypes like violence, drugs, and police brutality.

Going a completely different route, Ariana Grande’s third single of 2018, “God is a woman” is a female anthem that celebrates the female role in relationships through their sexuality, and resilience, and despite the title, does not reject religious history.

15 seconds in, my jaw was on the floor listening to her powerful, resonating voice. The music sounds slow and melodic towards the beginning, like floating on subtle waves, but picks up sharply as it moves to the chorus. The assertive lyrics are also meant to make people realize that women are more powerful than they seem, in every way. This song is blasphemous, especially when it comes to celebrating women’s roles in society and how sexuality, or sexual appreciation affects their role in society as well. Essentially, her lyrics mean, “I’m going to give you an experience so amazing that it will make you believe that God is a woman.” Her strong vocal delivery reflects how powerful women can be. This song serves as a pop anthem for lifting up the spirits of women everywhere.