We the People: Drive-By Truckers, Solange and Tagaq Put Activism on the Agenda 2016 in Lists

We the People: Drive-By Truckers, Solange and Tagaq Put Activism on the Agenda 2016 in Lists
Photo: Yannick Anton
While not everyone in music made wise political decisions in the face of Donald J. Trump's rise, the state of the world inspired plenty of political perspectives from a wide variety of musicians.

Pocho Aztlan
This Mexican-American deathgrind band are known to be political; Trump's rise prompted their first album in 16 years, released on Mexico's Independence Day. Pocho Aztlan loosely translates to "wasted promised land" and features tongue-in-cheek lyrics tackling issues like immigration and racial divides in America, which were particularly heightened during the presidential election. Denise Falzon

Drive-By Truckers
American Band
Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers have been writing astute political music for almost 20 years, but it took the overt American Band for this to sink in. Many longtime fans were crushed to discover their favourite band supports Black Lives Matter. Sorry, bigots — America's finest rock'n'roll band were never playing for you anyway. Stuart Henderson

A Seat At the Table
A frank and honest portrait of what it's like to be black in America in 2016. With sensitivity and refreshing candour, Solange examines the world-weary exhaustion that comes with constant exposure to anti-black racism and celebrates her resilience in the face of it all. A. Harmony

A Tribe Called Red
We Are the Halluci Nation
Obviously, this Ottawa-based Indigenous DJ collective are political. But with this masterpiece, they channelled their anger into part State of the (First) Nation address and part inclusive call to action for like-minded folks to join their Halluci Nation. This is It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back for Indigenous issues in 2016. James Keast

Tanya Tagaq
Inuk throat singer Tagaq, who adopted her wordless, improvisational approach to convey her experience in sounds, got more politically explicit on Retribution. Through spoken word selections, Shad guest verses and a cover of Nirvana's "Rape Me," Tagaq's message that "Retribution will be swift" has never been clearer. James Keast