One of the defining characteristics of Janelle Monae’s music is her ability to incorporate numerous different genres across her albums. For example, she started off making soul music with ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady and has started to incorporate full on Prince-inspired funk songs like “Make Me Feel” (which he helped Monae with before his death) or hip hop songs like “Django Jane” into her artistic persona. The song that I have chosen to examine for this project is Americans by Monae, and this song molds synth pop, funk instrumentation, and spoken word together to create a protest song that is relevant to the time period it was released in. Americans begins with Monae sounding angelic and belting out an intro that is optimistic about the future. The song then develops into verses that fuse traditional synth pop delivery with funk instrumentation. Synth pop ( originated in the 1970s and has had a major resurgence in the past decade. Even though the synth pop of the seventies is differently produced from the synth pop of today, the sound has mostly stayed the same. A characteristic of this genre is a delivery of the lyrics in a talking manner. This is shown in Americans through the verses where Monae lists out the problems that she and other minorities face in todays unequal society. Also, the chorus has a more pop inspired sound than the rest of the song. While the delivery of the song fits into synth pop, the production would fall under the funk inspired branch. This has a lot to do with who Monae is influenced by, mainly Prince. He helped with songs on this album and it comes through in Americans’ production. The guitar is groovy throughout and adds an extra dimension to the song. Funk as a musical genre refers to a style with bass lines that contribute to a “groove” ( This genre also reflects the black experience, particularly in America and is used as a way for black artists to express their feelings about society and push for social change. These two elements of funk music are evident in Monae’s Americans. The last musical genre that Americans encapsulates would be spoken word. This comes in the form of the bridge; which is an audio recording of Reverend Dr. Sean McMillan. This spoken word is take from one of his sermons and reinforces many of the themes of the song. These include fighting America’s racism, homophobia, and anti-immigration sentiments. Some characteristics of the spoken word genre are presenting your work to a crowd and touching on various social issues. Both of these are seen in McMillan’s spoken bridge and is why Americans falls under the spoken word genre (