Throughout the world history, music has contributed many important parts to human’s culture and politics. Especially, during the darkest times in the American history, music has become the tool that strengthen the spirit that is so influential and expresses the ideas of all the times.
During the era of slavery, music has changed due to the African musical tradition has brought to affect the culture. In fact, hip hop music is considered as one of the most common genres of American music up to now.
Most artists perform the hip hop songs are black; therefore, hip hop is known for the association of the African American community. As Barbra Dozier says in “The History of Slavery and Its Impact on Contemporary Hip-Hop Music” article that: “Hip hop music is specifically associated with slave trade which was the major cause of the migration and settlement of black people in America. This settlement resulted in the development of a new genre of music, (hip hop) that has grown to become one of the most popular music genres in the world.
Slavery can therefore be termed as a factor that has had a profound impact on contemporary hip-hop music.” Therefore, “A Song for Assata” is a good song to express the freedom during the slavery era, and it also about the black liberation movement.
In fact, the slavery era is considered the darkest times in the American history. Hence, music has become the tool that strengthen the spirit that is so influential and expresses the ideas of all the times. During the era of slavery, music has changed due to the African musical tradition has brought to affect the culture. During the slavery era, music has. According to the Library of Congress, they say that: “Many of their activities, from work to worship, were steeped in song. African Americans accompanied their labor with work songs that often-incorporated field hollers – call and response chants tinged with falsetto. They also fashioned instruments like those they had known in Africa.” For illustrate, the African music is known as reciting the history of the people. These traditional African songs are sung out to express the grief at the funerals. When these traditional songs are brought up to American during the slavery era, it became the tools for communication of the black community. These songs are used as the signals, a form of expression, and also to strengthen the spirit of the black community. As Creel Margaret says in the article ‘A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community-Culture Among the Gullahs” that: “Many slaves turned to religion for inspiration and solace. The religion of enslaved African Americans helped them resist the degradation of bondage.” Therefore, religion is pretty important for black people during slavery era. It helps them enforce the bonds between people in the black community for survival. There are many songs during this slavery era support them about the spirit.
During this era, there are many historical events occurred about the Civil Rights Movement. The popular events are about the freedom and slavery issues. Therefore, many songs are written in this era have the meaningful lyrics to support the spirit and also strengthen their minds. There is a woman named Assata Shakur. She is an African-American woman. She is a social justice activist. According to The Freedom Achieves that: “During the 1960s and 1970s, she found herself a victim of both racial profiling and political targeting. After being spotted on the New Jersey turnpike on May 2, 1973, because she is black, it was discovered that she and her two companions were members of the Black Panther Party. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier, and many members of the Civil Rights and American Indian Movements.” No one can deny that Assata Shakur has influenced to the Civil Rights Movements. For the black community, she has contributed the important parts in the American history, as she gave the hope about the freedom to end the slavery era. There is no more racial or slavery issues. Therefore, she is the good example for many rap/hip hop artists to write a song about.
During the 1970s, there is a new gene of music are formed. It is called hip hop. The root of this gene is about African American. In fact, the African American tradition has influenced deeply into the hip hop music. As Barbra Dozier says in “The History of Slavery and Its Impact on Contemporary Hip-Hop Music” article that: “During the period of the slave trade, many Africans were transported from their home continent to different continents, with the largest numbers being taken to America. The African slaves, who came to America, brought with them their culture of music and griots which they used as a coping mechanism during these times of pain, hunger and mistreatment. Through the slave trade, African music, culture and language was integrated with the American culture resulting to modification of various aspects of life such as music. As a result, a new language, African American Slang was established and a different genre of music, hip hop, created. Africans used the call to answer singing method while working in the American fields, and by so doing, developed their music genre.” There is a new gene of music are formed. It is called hip hop. The root of this gene is about African American.
To illustrate, “a song for Assata” is one of the most influential songs of Common artist. This song is performed by Common and CeeLo green. This song is in the “Like Water for Chocolate” album which is released in 2000. The genres of this song are underground rap and hip-hop/Rap. Common is known as the good hip hop artist from Chicago. He is also an activist who support the animal rights and PETA. He has influenced to the African American community. As he says in the article “Rapper Common on Activism and a New Album That’s a Social, Political Piece of Art” that: “I think art is definitely something that helps change the perspective and inspire people to movement. I think the movement right now is about Black people being acknowledged, being respected and valued in this country. You know, with the music that myself and other artists that choose that purpose, I think it’s really just to raise the consciousness of people and say, ‘Hey, we’re people here that are created from the same God that you’re created from, that love like you love, and want to enjoy our children, and want to laugh, and we cry.’ We’re human beings. I know we’ve been depicted in media as other things, but don’t forget we are human beings.” He also has the program called “Common Ground Foundation” which helps underprivileges young people to express their creation ideas and couch or mentor them. The program is non-profit, so it can gives young people many chances to join and get education.
It is not easy to find the hip hop song which contains the deeply and meaningful lyrics. This song is the good example to remind the historical events about Assata Shakur, as she is known as a symbol of repression of Africa-American. The flow of this song is engaged to the feeling of the meaningful lyrics. At first, he mentions “In the Spirit of God. In the Spirit of the Ancestors. In the Spirit of the Black Panthers. In the Spirit of Assata Shakur. We make this movement towards freedom. For all those who have been oppressed, and all those in the struggle.” He already mentions Assata in the introduction as she is an inspiration of him. Indeed, he mentions about the Black Panthers which is the organization which Assata is a member. Also, he mentions about the spirit of God. As religion is very important for the black community during the slavery. They believe in God that there is freedom for everyone. The beat is slow at first but when the drums start, the beats get faster.
Indeed, “There were lights and sirens, gunshots firing. Cover your eyes as I describe a scene so violent. Seemed like a bad dream, she laid in a blood puddle. Blood bubbled in her chest, cold air brushed against open flesh. No room to rest, pain consumed each breath. Shot twice with her hands up. Police questioned but shot before she answered. One Panther lost his life, the other ran for his. Scandalous the police were as they kicked and beat her. Comprehension she was beyond, trying to hold on.” This part describes about the situation about how polices treat the Assata for involving in the murder issues. Even those bad things happened to Assata that didn’t stop her being an active activist. The tone of the rapper becomes quite aggressive and angry as he disagrees to how the police treat Assata like that. The freestyle helps him be easy to change his tone to make the feeling and emotion in this song. Then , “I’m thinking of Assata, yes. Listen to my love, Assata, yes. Your power and pride are beautiful. May God bless your soul.” His tone becomes soft and the beat is slower. This instrument has been affected by incorporates of funk, soul and a little bit of jazz. This song is defined as the “true” hip hop song as it is written with the strong lyrical substance. These deep meaningful lyrics is considered as the voice speaking on the social issues. Especially, this song is about the symbol of repression of Africa-American. This song is heavily bassline over syncopated drums. The tempo of this song is slow at first, then gets fast. This song is well structured.
Overall, during the era of slavery, music has changed due to the African musical tradition has brought to affect the culture. In fact, hip hop music is considered as one of the most common genres of American music up to now. In fact, “a song for Assata” is a good example of the “true” hip hop song as it is written with the strong lyrical substances. These deep meaningful lyrics are considered as the voice speaking on the social issues. Especially, this song is about the symbol of repression of Africa-American. The artist is very good at rapping this song. His tone is flexible to create the flow of emotion that makes this song great.