Five New Martin Luther King, Jr. References Since Last Year's MLK Day


Dr. Martin Luther King references in rap lyrics are a dime a dozen. Some MCs liken themselves to the civil rights activist in an attempt in an attempt to boost their profile, while others explore some of the ideas Dr. King touched on in his legendary "I Have a Dream" speech. Common, Public Enemy and Game all dedicate entire songs to Dr. King. But these vets aren't the only ones to have paid homage. Since the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day last year, several young rappers have name-dropped Dr. King in lyrics. In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, XXL looks back at five artists who have referenced MLK in the past year.—XXL Staff

Frank Ocean


"Sweet King Martin, sweet Queen Coretta/Sweet Brother Malcolm, sweet Queen Betty/Sweet Mother Mary, sweet Father Joseph/ Sweet Jesus, we made it in America/Sweet baby Jesus, oh sweet baby Jesus"—On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Made In America," Watch the Throne (2011)

Meek Mill


"100 racks off fiend money/That Martin Luther King, I had a dream money"—On Cory Gunz's "YMCMB MMG," Son of a Gun (2011)



"Now the Aston Martin doors open like Martin’s ears/ White top black shoes on the drop/Martin got it looking like a skin head and some Doc Martens/It all started with a dream like Doc Martin, Luther King/Do your thing nigga stop talking/Back when they dropped the dirt on my pop's coffin"—"Moment 4 Life," Worth the Wait (2011)

A$AP Rocky


"Give me the beat, and let me lean, tap the vein, let it stream/ Feel the pain, Young Martin Luther King, with a dream"—"Demons," LiveLoveA$AP (2011)

J. Cole


"Allow me to set the scene first/This little nigga no older than seventeen in a Martin Luther King shirt/Walkin' down the mean murk, where the fiends lurk/And the same dirt’ll find a nigga"—"The Good Son," Unreleased (2011)