The piece of political protest music that I chose is Chains by Usher ft Nas and Bibi Bourelly. This song was released back in 2015. The video that was released with the music helps to accentuate the meaning behind the lyrics. The purpose behind the music is to shed light onto the devastation of police brutality and racial injustice. The music did not have a usual music video but instead it was a compilation of pictures of individuals popping up following their name and ages and devastating stories as to how their lives were taken due to the wrongdoings of police officers. It was pretty evident as to what the purpose and end message of the music is. The genre of this music is R&B/ soul and overall this genre of music derives from African American culture; usually has a lot of meaning to it. It may not be a directly political genre but it can go hand in hand (especially with the song I chose).
There are powerful lyrics that are sung and rapped throughout the music. Nas raps “We got a problem that needs some acknowledgment. I am no prison commodity, not just a body you throw in a cell. For any reason, just to bother me.” The meaning behind these lyrics are shining light into a problem that seemingly no one is willing to talk about and propose a solution to. Nas also says that individuals are not a commodity (material) of prison that are just thrown into a cell. This is sending the message that people of certain color and races are not just animals that can be treated like they belong behind bars. Usher also says “Don’t act like you saving us, it’s still the same. Man don’t act like I made it up. You keep blaming us, let’s keep it one hundred. You gave the name to us, N****.” The meaning behind this is that the police who kill innocent people are saying it’s their fault when in reality it’s the racist mentality that is pulling the trigger on people who have done nothing wrong. A musical characteristic that was present in the piece would be the very upbeat and fast rhythm. This is an important part of the music because it adds the sense of adrenaline that pumps up the listener and makes the accommodating lyrics stand out.