Questlove Challenges Artists to Write Protest Songs After Mike Brown & Eric Garner Rulings

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Bud Light
Questlove performs onstage at the Bud Light Madden Bowl at The Bud Light Hotel on January 30, 2014 in New York City.

Roots mastermind says musicians -- in hip-hop and beyond -- are not singing about the issues nearly enough.

Listen up, y’all: Questlove has something to say, and as usual, it's pretty much gospel.

Following the non-indictments of police officers in the Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases, the Roots drummer took to Instagram to pen a culturally conscious criticism of contemporary music's lack of activism. Sure, there are plenty of musicians voicing their displeasure over social media, but Quest is looking for more; he wants actual music that addresses current events.

"I urge and challenge musicians and artists alike to push themselves to be a voice of the times that we live in," he opens. "I'm kinda/sorta addressing the hip hop nation I really apply this challenge to ALL artists. We need new Dylans. New Public Enemys. New Simones. New De La Roachas. New ideas!"

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He admits there have been some responses (for example, J. Cole's Ferguson-inspired "Be Free") but urges artists to brush their inhibitions aside and take a stance: "Real narratives. Songs with spirit in them. Songs with solutions. Songs with questions… Protest songs don't have to be boring or non danceable or ready made for the next Olympics."

He even goes as far as to name media entities like Clear Channel, Radio One and VH1.

In times when "poptimism" rules and it seems production and good beats are in the forefront, is there any place for fight-the-power activism in the maisntream? Quest sure hopes so.


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