Reuben Vincent. Photo: Sayma Waleh

The Covid-19 pandemic and recent fatal police-involved shootings of unarmed Black people, subsequently leading to protests and riots, have weighed heavily on our community. Like generations before us, Black people often use music as a cathartic release.

In honor of Black Music Month, we’ve introduced Music of the Movement, a series featuring Charlotte artists who handpicked some of their favorite tracks or albums by Black artists about activism, racial and social justice, unity or inspiration.

Reuben Vincent

Hip-hop artist

Charlotte native Reuben Vincent just dropped his new EP, “Boy Meets World,” which features the singles “Albemarle Road” and “Closer.” The 19-year old rapper is signed to Grammy award-winning producer, and 2019 North Carolina Music Hall of Fame recipient, 9th Wonder’s label, Jamla Records.

Vincent, a student at N.C. A&T, went in-depth on the reasons for his Music of the Movement picks.

  • “White Man’z World” – 2Pac

Growing up, 2Pac held a huge place in my house. My pops used to pick me up from the crib and play 2Pac whenever he drove around Charlotte. This song is one of my favorites from Pac. The message in the song is one that resonates strongly with me as he’s speaking about the injustice in the justice system and wanting justice not for just Black men, but most importantly Black women.

  • “What’s Going On?” – Marvin Gaye

It’s crazy how the message in this song is still relevant today. This song will forever be timeless not only due to the sonics of the song but also for the observations he mentioned. Marvin is talking about the problems the world was facing at that particular time, and sadly many of those issues are somewhat what we still are facing as people today.

  • “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar

I remember hearing this song for the first time when I was 15. It gave me hope that though in this world as a young Black individual in which there are so many things that are purposely placed to work against me, I can search for higher purpose for everything really is gonna be alright. It was a moment of hope for me, a moment of admiration and inspiration. The whole album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,”​ opened a lot of realization for me at the time, to this day, and for years to come.

  • “It’s Your World (Part 1&2)” – Common

This song is a song I listen to whenever I feel like I can’t reach my full potential. In this record, Common is basically reminding me and many other Black youth that no matter who you are and where you come from, you can fulfill all the dreams you desire. It’s Your World, for real.

This song is about loving our Black women. I remember being there for the recording sessions of this album, and from the moment I heard this, it remained one of my favorite songs off of the project. I love pieces and bodies of work that showcase how beautiful and fly my Black women are. SiR & JID deliveries are also some of my favorite features on the project. 

  • “F.U.B.U” – Solange

“For Us, By Us,” this is one of my favorite Solange songs. It’s an anthem for Black power, coming from one of our new legends who continue to push the needle for our culture. It’s uplifting, powerful and motivating. 

Listen to our “Music of the Movement” playlist below where other local artists — like BRAVE, Anthony Hamilton, Cyanca and Jason Jet — shared their music picks.

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