The relationship between Hip-Hop, community action and politics is a volatile and symbiotic relationship with all seemingly working with and against each other at the same time. Hip-Hop has typically been critical of the powers that be, but also been driven by a desire for those in power to improve the environment. Hip-Hop to the core is an outsider’s attempt to get insiders to listen to their plight, concerns and issues. The rise of the emcee is, in part, because those voices were ignored. To paraphrase J. Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records, “First, we knocked on the door, then we beat on the door and now we’re about to kick the door in.” That’s hip-hop and politics.

AllHipHop and theGrio have compiled an unofficial list of the top 20 political hip-hop songs. Unofficial? Certainly. There are just too many great examples of politically minded rap to put in one list. Therefore, we put together a variety of songs that exemplify the vast voice that Hip-Hop had and still has to this day.

For more on the hip-hop and politics series from theGrio click here and for more from click here.