Note: This was originally published April 26, 2012, on the 20th anniversary of the so-called LA Riots, but the playlist endures.
Ozomatli may be known as a party band, but they say they are a “direct product of the LA Riots.” KCRW DJ Raul Campos talks with Ozomatli band members, Will Abers and Justin Poree about Los Angeles, their music and the LA rebellion. Here’s the full tracklist of the LA Riots as told through music — listen to the interview below.
“White Riot” by the Clash… During the LA rebellion or Uprising or Riot — it has been named all different things — I remember being in the streets singing this song in my head. What I take from this song is, you know, me being white and being a part of the riot. It’s almost like the lyrics and the song almost show the support of being white and being involved in a struggle being about or about people of color.
“Burn Hollywood Burn” by Public Enemy… No more than any other song can that be the anthem for the riots. I think it’s the perfect anthem.
“Simi Valley Blues” by Branford Marsalis… This piece is a very aggressive violent piece of music in a really good way.
“April 29 1992” by Sublime… Because that song is about the riots. I think of the day of the riots and just being on my roof. I lived in Park Labrea and being on my roof it was so surreal almost like a video game just look out over the whole city.
“Keep Ya Head Up” by 2pac… Keep ya head up! I mean listen to the lyrics it’s so powerful. That was the voice of the voiceless, hip hop.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke… It’s a classic piece of music actually. I think it was written during the Civil Rights movement and its just a beautiful piece of music.