[Invisible Children Music: We firmly believe that music has a necessary role in giving social movements tremendous amounts of momentum. It is a universal language, and at Invisible Children, it's important for us to be a part of that language.]
Malika Quemarais is a champion of social justice, kindness, and good music. We asked her to be the first feature in our new series Five Songs That Matter To…, posts dedicated to exposing and explaining the five songs that empower our individual supporters and staff.
I first met Malika at a biergarten in Brooklyn the week before our KONY 2012 event Cover The Night in the Spring of 2012. Malika has one of those immediately magnetic personalities – which suits her well for her job in MTV’s Music & Talent Department as the hip hop booker. We bonded over our love of Azealia Banks (we’re still obsessed) and our trepidations about A$AP Rocky becoming a commodified hipster-rap caricature (he hasn’t.) We chatted about some business, as well.
A week later, Malika pulled out all the stops with MTV – securing their billboard in Times Square to show a KONY 2012 clip every hour – one of the highlights of New York City’s Cover The Night. She also joined us at a service project in Queens, working harder than anyone else in attendance.
Listen to the songs, read Malika’s thoughts, and determine the five picks that matter to you.
This is a hip hop heavy list, and hip hop tends to have occasional cursing; thus, the songs on this list have occasional cursing. Carry on.
For me, this song still marks one of the best collaboration songs and one that still stands the test of time as one of the best hip hop features. Q-Tip of Tribe Called Quest was, and still is, the man. I am a hip hop music fan first and foremost, so this song just speaks to me in a way that other songs do not. Losing MCA this year felt like losing a family member and there are not many artists today that will leave that lasting of an impact.
This song is not only lyrically powerful but Common’s delivery is so impassioned and spot on. You can’t listen to this song and not feel like you can take on the world and all its ills. Common is by far one of the greatest MCs out there and this song proves it.
Alright, this is definitely a throwback but this song has always reminded me of the kind of love that must still be possible in the world. Two people singing about how if they could build the world for this other person?! Songs like this just don’t exist anymore, and I love that about this track.
Now this one may seem like it’s a little left from my other choices but my love of music was born out of my love of dance and this song encompasses all of those things for me. I still draw inspiration from the moments that I can’t help but get up and dance and it inspires me to always try to carry a little bit of that fire with me in everything I do.
In my opinion, not enough people know the artist Kenna but if you do, I am sure you love him as much as I do. For me, Kenna symbolizes the type of artist that broke the mold before one had even been set and who took risks even when they weren’t considered “successful” by the mainstream audience. When I listen to this song I’m reminded of all the songs that I heard after it that emulate it and it reminds me that sometimes you have to against what other people tell you is right in the hopes that you will be able to make something different, and hopefully better.