Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.

It’s not uncommon for artists of various disciplines to utilize their work to talk about issues that are important to them; and, these days, climate change is at the forefront of many artists’ minds. Plenty of singer-songwriters and musicians — including longtime vegan and climate activist Billie Eilish — have incorporated messages about Climate change in their music. In addition, numerous hip-hop artists have joined this trend, such as Lil Dicky, who recruited a number of celebrities for his song “Earth.” Of course, there are numerous hip-hop stars who seemingly could care less about Climate change; most notable among them is Pitbull, whose title track on the album “Global warming” is essentially an excuse for him to gloat about his private jet. Below is a list of 10 hip-hop songs that are about Climate change, with a focus on relevant lyrics.

1. Baba Brinkman – “Make it Hot”

Source: Baba Brinkman/YouTube

Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman — who appears twice on this list — has become fairly well-known in the policy and science community, with “Rap Guide” collections focused on religion, evolution, and “climate chaos.” His song “Make it Hot” has been his most popular one as of yet, one he has performed at both the AGU’s annual meeting in New Orleans and the COP21 climate summit in Paris. The audience in New Orleans — which consisted of 20,000+ space and climate scientists — seemed pretty captivated by the performance. At this particular event, Brinkman actually began talking about Climate change before launching into the rap. “Make it Hot,” which was co-written by Brinkman, is described as a “carbon pricing rap,” with a focus on the effects of carbon pricing and its relationship to Climate change. In the song, Brinkman openly discusses carbon emissions, the effects of Climate change, and what humans need to do in order to make a difference. He smartly turns the phrase “make it hot,” which references global warming, into a call to action, encouraging his friends and anyone who’s listening to think about their negative impacts on the environment.

Notable lyrics: (04:42) “But here’s what I’m willing: I’m willing to pay a tax / A fee that’s calculated against my carbon impacts / And globally harmonized to switch incentives around / And make sure most of that carbon stays safely underground.”

2. Common, Malik Yusef, Kumasi ft. Aaron Fresh, Choklate, Laci Kay – “Trouble in the Water”

Source: Hip Hop Caucus/YouTube

In 2014, rapper-actor Common collaborated with Kumasi, producer Malik Yusef, and others for the song “Trouble in the Water.” This tune contains military beats, a “forbidding and catchy” chorus, and “harsh electronics.” The focus is on the human-caused contamination of the world’s oceans, which have become dangerous for both humans and the animals who rely on those habitats. “Trouble in the Water” was featured on HOME (which stands for Heal Our Mother Earth), a collaborative music project aimed at expanding the climate movement. According to the now-defunct project website, “Climate change is the most significant global issue of our time,” and “it’s only going to get worse unless we come together to make big change.” The project sheds light on how music can bring people together and “inspire action.”

Notable lyrics: “Contaminate the ocean / Now the water is lethal / Four bucks for two liters / That should be illegal / Amigo, evil contigo can’t even find Nemo / The water used to be see-through.”

3. Lil Dicky (and others) – “Earth”

In 2019, rapper-actor Lil Dicky recruited a number of celebrities for his song “Earth,” which also featured an accompanying animated music video. Lil Dicky was able to get Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Wiz Khalifa, John Legend, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, Sia, and others to join him in voicing animals in the song and video. “Earth,” which was released around Earth Day, focused on fighting back against Climate change deniers, when in fact Global warming “is a real thing.” The song ended up raising nearly $1 million to combat the effects of Climate change and, later, to help with COVID-19-related Support. According to Lil Dicky, though, this idea actually “started as a silly joke” and then “became the most important thing” he’d ever do. The song is also meant to depict the effects of Climate change on these particular animals, although it also fails to mention how animal agriculture is a big contributing factor to Climate change. While it’s heartening to see vegan participants like Grande, Hart, and Sia, most of the other celebrities involved are not active in the animal rights movement (and Cyrus is a former vegan).

Notable lyrics: “I’m not going to lie to you / I mean, there’s so many people out here who don’t think global / warming’s a real thing. You know? We gotta save the planet. / We’re being stupid”

4. Dan Bull – “Hell or High Water”

Source: Dan Bull/YouTube

The song “Hell or High Water” is — like the majority of the tunes on this list — hardly subtle when it comes to its messaging. The song focuses on what will happen to the Earth if the planet keeps heating up and the sea levels keep rising. Performer Dan Bull’s lyrics were written for the FLOODLAND video game, and “Hell or High Water” was primarily written as an advertisement for the game. Yet, the song also (very clearly) acts as a call to action in regard to Climate change and, in particular, flooding and severe rains.

Notable lyrics: “Heavy rain, ever so heavy rain / We’d better have a gameplan, better than merely praying / When the levee breaks through, then it’s fairly late to / Regret every mistake you, may have ever made”

5. The Accidental Rapper – “Echo Chambers”

Source: the accidental rapper/YouTube

The Accidental Rapper, an Irish hip-hop artist, was first a climate activist and then accidentally became a rapper. While he often tackles other topics, Climate change is the one he considers to be the most important, as he says that this issue “affects everybody and it also exacerbates all the existing resource and income inequalities.” One of his songs, “Echo Chambers,” discusses in detail the effects of Climate change. Last year, he appeared at a number of different climate action events, including the “Earth Rising” and “COPON” festivals in Dublin.

Notable lyrics: (0:03) “Food shortage, extreme weather and societal tension. / If you’re not worried about the climate, you’re not paying attention”

6. Mos Def – “New World Water”

Some musicians like to incorporate Climate change into their work by shedding light on how it disproportionally affects certain communities. For example, Yasiin Bey (who was previously known as Mos Def) released a song in 1999 titled “New World Water” that is about how these communities have trouble obtaining clean water, particularly in urban areas. Bey was probably the first rapper to write a song about the environment; while “New World Water” focuses on water-related issues, it’s still important as it relates to the overarching effects of Climate change.

Notable lyrics:Cause while these knuckleheads is out here sweatin’ they goods / The sun is sitting in the treetops burnin’ the woods / And as the flames from the blaze get higher and higher / They say, ‘Don’t drink the water! We need it for the fire!’

7. Xiuhtezcatl – “Broken”

Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez is a lifelong environmental activist and a trained leader with the organization Climate Reality. One particular song, “Broken,” depicts a number of things, including the “devastating toll” that Climate change has had worldwide and the fact that this crisis is an “unprecedented intergenerational justice issue.” Yet, “Broken” is hopeful in insisting that, if we as people and as members of a society can change, then we can “avoid the worst of the climate crisis.” The lyrics to the song can be used for teachable moments, and one teacher created a climate-specific lesson plan revolving around the song.

Notable lyrics: “While the walls fall and the world burns / Seas rise and the clock turns. / The earth fighting back with hurricanes / And the earthquakes and the pouring rain.”

8. Baba Brinkman – “Battle Line”

Another song featured on Baba Brinkman‘s album “Rap Guide to Climate change” is “Battle Line,” which includes elements of so-called “battle rap.” According to Brinkman, the goal of a song like this is to make “fun of some of the contentiousness around the topic of Climate change and how it’s really combative in public discourse.” It makes sense that the divisive nature of the Climate change discourse could be compared to battle raps, considering how heated both types of things can be.

Notable lyrics: “Ya mama’s carbon footprint is so fat, when it happens / It melts whole glaciers and floods manhattan / I’m kickin’ battle raps on climatic facts / With consequences for human habitats”

9. DJ Cavem – “Plant-Demic (Garden Cypher)”

Source: DJ Cavem Moetavation/YouTube

Last year, noted environmentalist, vegan activist, and rapper DJ Cavem (aka Ietef Vita) released an album (titled “Koncrete Garden”) about food injustice. DJ Cavem, who is known as the creator of the “eco hip-hop” sub-genre, released the album on Earth Day, but it was only available digitally or printed on tomato seed packets. His songs tend to focus on green living, such as growing your own food and eating as healthy as possible. Vita is also a former gang member, and in 2015, filmmaker JLove Calderon released a documentary about him. One of the songs on “Koncrete Garden” is titled “Plant-Demic (Garden Cypher)” and features singer-songwriter Sa-Roc.

10. Nate & Hila ft. DiorNoel – “Compost”

Source: Nate & Hila/YouTube

Like DJ Cavem, rapping duo Nate & Hila releases music in the eco hip-hop genre. Their song “Compost” is about how people can compost via recycling their “organic waste,” and why this is so important for our and our planet’s future. “Compost” features guest rapper and activist DiorNoel, and the accompanying music video depicts the “vibrant compost scene” of New York City. Nate & Hila’s “compost anthem” is in response to the eviction and defunding of compost sites city-wide, giving listeners an “introduction to the fundamentals of transforming food scraps into soil.”

Notable lyrics: (02:01) “The health of all depends on how a small thing decomposes — / Don’t throw it all away, let it live again, compost it.”

As the aforementioned hip-hop artists have shown, Climate change is a very important issue that can be dealt with through music. Engaging in more climate-friendly habits — such as composting, eliminating meat and other animal products from your diet, and partaking in organic gardening — is important. After listening to one or more of the songs mentioned above, maybe you’ll want to have a conversation with friends, family, etc. to discuss what you can all do to help reverse the effects of Climate change.

Related Content:

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!