Environmental activist and hip hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is set to release his debut album, Break Free, early next year.
The hip hop album focuses on telling stories about global issues, standing up for what you believe in and what you want to protect.
The environment has a strong resonance for the 17-year-old rapper, who is the leader of Earth Guardians, an organisation of youth activists, artists and musicians stepping up as leaders.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and 21 other young activists have filed a lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that the administration is not doing enough to protect the Earth’s atmosphere and young people’s future from the impacts of climate change.
The Earth Guardians youth director – who has already released the first single, One Day, from his forthcoming album – believes his message on global issues can be better communicated through music.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez says he uses “hip hop as a way to engage and inspire people” and “to tell stories and to be a voice for the oppressed”. Speaking about the album to Rolling Stone Magazine, he said: “The record is going to change the way the world sees me, and it’s going to change the way that I’ve told my story to the world.”
As a musician, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has worked and collaborated with a number of artists including Chali 2na and Jurassic 5, Nahko, Trevor Hall, Raury, Ozomatli, Rising Appalachia, and Chance the Rapper.
Break Free follows the release of Xiuhtezcatl Martinez’s book, We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet. In the book, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez discusses what young generations can do to help save the world, primarily focusing on subjects like climate change, environmental racism, fossil fuel extraction and industrial agriculture.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez says the book, which was released in September, is “very much a broad overview of the world from the perspective of a young person” and describes it as “a call to action for the world”.
The book focuses on getting everyone involved and discusses specific ways people can help support the planet.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez says: “Regardless of our age, we have the potential to bring this change. Our age doesn’t define our ability to create change, so please take your part.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea