Music Discovery: April 2017

What the World Needs Now is RAPtivism

For the month of April it is all about RAPtivism. Our Associate Music Supervisor, Kalla Vavra, has picked four songs from Aisha Fukushima, Kendrick Lamar, The Relatives, and Kevin Michael, which feature elements of RAPtivism in their music. You can peep these tunes below and be sure to check out the new addition of the April BrandRadio playlist, brought to you by our music team to refresh and impress your ears.


You can feel it all around. There’s an unspoken electricity triggered by the current state of affairs in our nation. Out of such conflict, there is a rise of artistic expression that captures the diverse views and opinions in our cultural environment. During this time of uncertainty and unrest, it is a common habit to focus on the negative because we are so inundated with what the opposition believes that it eventually becomes a competitive divide: rights vs. wrong, us vs. them, me vs. you.

That’s why I’ve chosen to highlight RAPtivisim for this month’s blog. Aisha Fukushima, a speaker, singer, and writer, defines the phrase RAPtivism as a “global hip hop project spanning over 10 countries and four continents, highlighting the ways in which culture can actively contribute to universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging apathy with awareness, ignorance with intelligence and oppression with expression.”


Artist: Aisha Fukushima

Twitter: @aishafukushima

Track: Just Breathe

The strength of Aisha’s voice, the flow of the melody and the infectious guitar riff sets the positive tone for what follows. She sings her truth in a poetic fashion and the boldness of her words deliver a lyrically conscious meaning which gives hope to the future of music. “Just Breathe” features Eddie M. who has performed with the likes of Prince & the Revolution, Sheila E. and Paula Abdul. You can check out this track, as well as others, on Aisha’s debut EP, The Cypher.


Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Twitter: @kendricklamar

Track: Alright

Kendrick Lamar teamed up with Kamazi Washington, a jazz saxophonist, on the album To Pimp A Butterfly, resulting in the 11 Grammy nominations including Album of the Year and Best Rap Performance. Kamazi subtly delivers his free-form jazz alongside a sexy beat as Lamar reflects on the past transgressions and what it means to survive throughout hard times. “We gon’ be alright,” is the Lamar’s mantra – by putting his faith in God, he can overcome any misfortune that may come his way. If you believe you will be alright, then you can prevail.

Head’s up on the video below: it contains some language and violence–so you may want to keep an eye on any kiddos who are watching over your shoulder.


Artist: The Relatives

Twitter: @RelativesDallas

Track: Things Are Changing

The Relatives are a gospel funk band out of Dallas, Texas and their vocal doo-wop at the beginning of “Things Are Changing” followed by the groove of the electric guitar explains why they’ve been on the scene since 1970. The funk-style is making a comeback with the growing popularity of Charles Bradley and Booker T. Jones, putting The Relatives on the map, once again.


Artist: Kevin Michael

Twitter: @Kev24Sev

Track: It Don’t Make Any Difference To Me

Michael tackles the issue of race in this acoustic version of “It Don’t Make Any Difference To Me”. Specifically, overcoming intolerance and prejudice with love and acceptance in regards to interracial relationships. His soprano-style voice has been likened to that of D’Angelo, Maxwell, and even the late and dearly missed, Prince.