9 Songs That Salute Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou’s influence on the culture goes deeper than rap. Thus, many singers and MCs have cited the literary icon in their songs or used her poems as theme anthems. After her passing Wednesday morning (May 28), we hit rewind on some of her most notable references on wax. Listen to how Angelou rocks the mic without even touching it below.

1. Kanye West “Hey Mama”

“Give me a verse of “You, Are So Beautiful To Me”
Can’t you see you’re like a book of poetry
Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovani, turn one page and there’s my mommy”

2. 2Pac feat. Outlawz “Still I Rise”

*Title references Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise

3. Wale “The Artistic integrity”

Meaning I’m lesser than a god, but higher up than ya’ll
A lion in form, Matt Leinart when firing the ball
Pause Maya Angelou spawn, abandoned and raised by Nas

4. Alicia Keys “Caged Bird Sings”

I know why the caged bird sings
Only joy comes from song
She’s so rare and beautiful to others
Why not just set her free
*Title and lyrics reference Maya Angelou’s memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

5. Common feat. Maya Angelou “The Dreamer”

Once you find your shoulders dropping
And your speech gets slow and hazy
You better change your way of being
Before you found your brain got lazy
You can build a better future when you join the winning team
If you desire a bright tomorrow, you must build a brighter dream
Dare to let your dreams reach beyond you
Know that history holds more than it seems
We are here alive today because our ancestors dared to dream
From Africa they lay in the bilge of slave ships
And stood half naked on auction blocks
From eastern Europe they crowded in vessels overloaded with immigrants
And were mis-named on Ellis Island
From South America and Mexico, from Asia, they labored in sweat shops
From all over the world, they came to America
Many shivering in rags, and still they dared to dream
Let us dream for today and for tomorrow
Let us dare to dream

6. Kendrick Lamar “Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst”

*The outro uses Maya Angelou’s voice

7. Nicki Minaj “Still I Rise”

*Title references Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise

8. The Roots “The Session”

So okey-dokey folks, most provoke me I’ll choke so hold your oats
Was willin’, cause I’m strolling with the quotes
Like Shakespeare, Mark Twain, or Egdar Allen Poe,
But Since I’m a ne-gro, I flows like Maya Ange-lou

9. Lupe Fiasco “I’m Beamin'”

Your hair done, your nails did, your ass fat but you’re dumb
Mix Melyssa Ford with Maya Angelou
Become a top model and Sojourner too

10. Talib Kweli feat. Mos Def, Jay Z, Kanye West & Busta Rhymes “Get By (Remix)”

It’s something about that Nina Simone’s piano flow
It’s like a Michaelangelou painted a portrait of Maya Angelou