The Protest Song Is Not Dead

May 22, 2015 9:36 PM

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When Prince released his new song, "Baltimore," in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, it was striking mostly because it was an original; it's unusual to hear protest music from today's mainstream pop stars. But R&B, rap and soul musicians have always found ways to contribute during turbulent times, says NPR Music writer Jason King.

To prove his point, King has curated a 100-hour playlist of protest songs that spans decades — from the O'Jays and Nina Simone to D'Angelo, Gregory Porter and John Legend. That playlist is streaming on I'll Take You There, NPR Music's R&B channel, through the long weekend.

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