Kendrick Lamar performs at the 2018 GRAMMYs
Photo: Theo Wargo/WireImage
Black Pride Anthems From Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, 2Pac, James Brown & More See Big Streaming Spikes
On Tuesday (June 2), the music industry observed Black Out Tuesday to stand in solidarity with the Black community and protestors across the nation calling for racial equality and an end to police brutality. In response, Spotify launched its Black Lives Matter playlist, featuring powerful anthems from Black artists across the years, including James Brown's 1968 "Say It Loud – I'm Black And I'm Proud," 2Pac's 1993 "Keep Ya Head Up" and Childish Gambino's 2018 GRAMMY-winning hit "This Is America."
On Friday (June 5), Billboard reported huge spikes in the streaming numbers on June 2 for many of the poignant songs featured in the playlist. The opener, Brown's aforementioned empowering bop, saw the biggest increase at 15,740 percent. The numbers, calculated by Nielsen Music, count streams from across major music and video platforms and were compared to those for the prior Tuesday (May 26). For example, "Say It Loud" had just over 2,000 listens last Tuesday compared to 375,000 this Tuesday.
The 58-song playlist continues with Kendrick Lamar's GRAMMY-winning 2015 popular protest anthem "Alright" and Childish Gambino's "This Is America." Both tracks saw over a million streams on Tuesday alone, due in part to their high placement on the playlist as well as their still timely critiques of racial injustice in America. The former song hit 1.16 million streams, for a 787 percent increase, and the latter earned 1.82 million streams, for a 570 percent increase.
Other songs on the playlist that also saw significant bumps in digital listenership include Killer Mike's "Don't Die" (2012), YG and Nipsey Hussle's "FDT" (2016), Beyoncé and Lamar's "Freedom" (2016) and Solange and Lil Wayne's "Mad" (2016).
Soul classics like "Wake Up Everybody" from Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes (1975) and "O-o-h Child" by The Five Stairsteps (1970) also saw increases, albeit somewhat smaller. Pivotal golden-age rap anthems "F**k tha Police" by N.W.A (1988) and "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy (1989) also had more streams this Tuesday compared to last week.
Back in 2016, ahead of the track's two GRAMMY wins, Lamar predicted the power of "Alright" in the moving GRAMMY.com interview (watch above).
"'Alright' did exactly what I would want it to do, and that's put so many people's hearts where they can actually live by and stand for, you know, put faith back in people's hearts … And not only them, but myself. I'm still saying to myself, 'Everything's going to be alright.'"