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    RSU Radio Real College Radio

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6 Black Artists You Need to Know

todayJune 30, 2022

Background

Did you know that June is not only Pride month but also Black Music Appreciation Month? Implemented by President Carter in 1979, this month is dedicated to celebrating black musicians and their influence. To end the 6th month of the year with a bang, RSU Radio will give you the run down on 6 black artists we love (in no particular order)!

1. FKA Twigs (pictured above)

FKA Twigs, or Tahliah Debrett Barnett, is an English singer-songwriter and dancer. Her music has been met with high praise throughout her career and for good reason! Barnett is known for her unique music style which incorporates avant-garde, R&B, and a mix of other genres as well, defying any one genre. She’s also known for her light, soprano vocals and airy delivery. After a hiatus from 2016 to 2019, FKA Twigs is back stronger than ever with her sophomore album MAGDALENE (2019), numerous singles, her debut mixtape Caprisongs (2022), and her latest single, “killer”.

You can check out FKA Twig’s NPR Tiny Desk concert celebrating Black Music Month here.

Our song recommendations: tears in the club, sad day, cellophane

2. Kehlani

Kehlani Ashley Parrish is a singer-songwriter and dancer, who first hit the music scene with their group PopLyfe. However, Kehlani found that a solo career was a better fit. The singer identifies as lesbian and non-binary (their pronouns are she/they). In an interview with The FADER, they cited how important it is to them to incorporate and normalize using female pronouns in their music. She is a mezzo-soprano with a crystal clear tone who can perform runs and belts with ease. Kehlani’s music falls under the R&B, hip hop, pop, and soul categories.

Check out their latest album, blue water road, released April 29, here.

Song recs: Honey, tangerine, altar

3. Shamir

Las Vegas singer-songwriter, Shamir Bailey, doesn’t fit any one label. In an interview with Out, the artist stated “I don’t identify as gay because I don’t identify as male or female,” never truly giving himself a definitive label. His voice fits his identity, neither completely feminine nor completely masculine, falling under the category of countertenor. His vocals are reminiscent of other black musicians like The Weeknd, Prince, and Michael Jackson, all known for their higher registers. This ambiguity also applies to his music, as he pulls influences from genres like indie pop, disco, lo-fi, punk, etc. to make music that can only be described as “Shamir”.

Listen to his latest album, Heterosexuality, here.

Song recs: Gay Agenda, Reproductive, Ocean Eyes

4. binki

Nowadays, it seems impossible to be original but Pennsylvania-born rapper, binki, proves that wrong with his unique mash-up of sounds. He’s another musician on this list that pulls inspiration from different genres; pop, indie, hip hop, and dance to name a few. binki has yet to release an album, his discography consisting of 6 singles and one EP, MOTOR FUNCTION. Little is known about binki, so little that his legal name and age are unknown! We do know, however, that he is a artist to watch and we can’t wait to hear a full-length album from him.

Find info on his tour, merch, and music here.

Song recs: Clay Pigeon, Landline, Revolve

5. Childish Gambino

Actor, rapper, singer, songwriter, DJ, comedian, director, producer, writer. You name it, Donald Glover probably does it. Successful in every one of those categories, Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, is an enigma to say the least. Musically, he’s known for his clever wordplay, falsetto, and unique tenor voice. His first couple of albums stuck to the genres of hip-hop and rap, establishing himself as a musician. However, his 2016 album “Awaken, My Love!” broke out of the mold by showing us his psychedelic, soul, funk, and R&B side. His latest album, 3.15.20, continues his psychedelic-funk, genre-bending style and its complicated layers show just how innovative Glover is. There’s just one thing: we may not get more Childish Gambino. In 2017, he warned fans that his next album would be his last, feeling that his music career didn’t serve him or his fans anymore. However, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in March, Donald said he still makes music but is focusing on his family right now.

Song recs: Me and Your Mama, Summertime Magic, Algorhythm

6. Arlo Parks

English singer/songwriter/poet Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho, or Arlo Parks, is the newest on this list to the music scene. Her first single, “Cola”, was released in 2018. A couple EPs later she released her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams in 2021. She has released more singles since the album, the latest being “Softly”. Arlo’s style can best be described as indie-pop, with some R&B and soul influences. Her vocals are light, warm, soothing and her accent peaks through the melody. At just 21, Parks is an accomplished musician, with awards and the critical acclaim to prove it. The poet identifies as bisexual, telling The Line of Best Fit, “I wanted to put [my sexuality] as a facet of myself because it’s not talked about as much for queer people of colour. It’s an important thing for me to show people that it’s okay.”

Check out the music video for her latest single here.

Song recs: Softly, Black Dog, Green Eyes

Since we had such a hard time narrowing down the list (we cannot stress that enough), we just had to include some bonus material. Check out our articles about African-American musicians Sudan Archives and Toro y Moi. Thanks for reading and happy Black Music Appreciation Month!

Written by: Lacie


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