As we celebrate the life and legacy of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all-time, I thought it was fitting to name a few musicians that embody the “Dream” that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about over 50 years ago.
1. Alicia Keys
Since bursting on the scene in with Songs in A Minor, Alicia Keys has blessed us with some of the most prolific love ballads of all-time. Her cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song at the “Staying Alive” concert was one of the most moving performances in modern-music history.
2. Marvin Sapp
This record-breaking gospel recording artist continues to spread the message of God’s love and mercy. With two cross over hits, The Best In Me and Never Would of Made It, Marvin Sapp’s inspirational melody has helped him to become the all-time highest charting gospel artist in Billboard history.
Crowned as the greatest lyricist of all-time by CNN, Nasir Jones is proof that Hip-Hop is not dead. With thought-provoking songs like I Can, Poison, and Black President, Nas continues to teach lessons of empowerment and liberation to this lost generation of music lovers.
4. Lupe Fiasco
Controversial, outspoken and introspective are a few words that describe the Chi-town native. Although he hasn’t had the same amount of commercial success as his comrade Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco continues to garner critical success while staying involved as a political activist.
The gospel duo turned reality tv stars, are nominated for another Grammy for their song Go Get It. Their blend of uptempo “church music”, bridges the gap between the old and new.
The London bred singer and philanthropist is a revolutionary in every sense of the word. Named by Esquire Magazine as one of the most influential people of the 21st century, M.I.A. continues to be the voice of the oppressed world-wide.
7. Dead Prez
The revolutionary but gangsta duo of Stic Man and M1 have been blessing us with their socially conscious lyrics for over a decade. Their lyrics, which focus on Pan Africanism and cultural awareness, have failed to land them crossover success – but this group is still Bigger Than Hip-Hop.
8. Damon “Jr. Gong” Marley
Being the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Damon “Jr. Gong” Marley only choice is to carry the baton into the 21st century. In 2010, Jr. Gong hooked up Nas to create a conscious collaboration called Distant Relatives. Proceeds for the album were to be used to build a school in Congo, Africa.
9 Talib Kweli
With a new album called Prisoner of Concious set to be released this year, Talib Kweli will more than likely deliver another album that is filled with thought provoking and heartfelt lyrics.
The rap phenomenom has taken the Billboard charts by storm with his latest single “Thrift Shop” and has even received a cosign from Ellen Degeneres. I’m not sure what MLK Jr’s stance would be on same sex marriage, but he would probably support any artist that demands equality for all and one that has spent time working with incarcerated youth.