A series & Playlist dedicated to the in-depth exploration of contemporary black music's most significant statements
Elaine Brown | Until We're Free
March 31, 2021
At nine songs, Until We’re Free is a powerful, poetic half-hour bleeding with tales of Black struggles and pushing for a continued fight for equality and equity. When you hear Brown’s voice, it calls to mind the powerful and clear registers of so many modern soulstresses whose music, too, tends towards social justice. Almost 50 years since its release, her voice rings anthemic, her fight continues on, and her timeless album – goldenly so for its musical genius, painfully so for society’s frustrating lack of progress – continues its role, more accessible than ever – as soundtrack and as blueprint in the fight in Black civil liberties, and the cultural strides that always lend company and strength...
Elton Aura + Made.Allayne | Black Stories
Oct 7, 2020
The most insightful, evocative art – the most immersive, introspective poetry – often comes from spaces that one wouldn’t wish on artists whose work they so admire. Yet, in the shadow of pain and in the continued failing of America’s centuries-long struggle for civil liberties, art has endured constant both as a source for the black community, and almost always, sourced from the black community. With Black Stories, Elton Aura and Made.Allayne continue a tradition of stark storytelling from a painful place of reality, recanting the oftentimes buried truths of the world we live in, pushing them to be heard through art and hopefully taken heed of by those listening.
Reaux Marquez | Pass Go
July 21, 2020
Almost a year ago, Reaux released Pass Go, and though his own reasons for dropping such a fiery, revolutionary bop had been steeped in his experiences as a young black man from the South, it’s only continued to gain steam and sharpen as an anthem of widespread relevance with each day since. Accompanied by a set of visuals from emerging Nashville producer and videographer, JosephFiend (Country Cousins), Pass Go is much more than a single.
Kota the Friend | FOTO
June 10, 2020
An hour-long coming-of-age tale, rooted in his experiences and those belonging to the folks he grew up around, Kota’s FOTO was – is – a vivid image of modern blackness in America. Directly and indirectly addressing the racial disparity alongside the beauty that has long shone through an African American struggle for equality, the Brooklyn wordsmith and budding activist delineates the highs and lows of his neighborhood upbringing; confronts the painful realities of his experiences – some candidly derived from race – others systematically tethered to it; attacks the blaring issues that define the music industry; explaining why he will always remain an independent; and how he continues to inform the future – through his own family and through his listeners – of the truth in society’s many broken systems.
Noname | Room 25
June 7, 2020
Truthfully, her entire canon belongs to the same delineation. Everything the Chicago rapper touches – from her 2016 debut, Telefone, to her countless features across the Chicago soundscape and beyond, to Room 25 itself – are driven by an undeniable adherence to discussing the systematic social, politic, gender, and racial strife from which she as a person has emerged. As a black woman, most of her music directly addresses the marginalization of her roots, and subsequently outlines how all marginalized by modern society can overcome, move forward, and ultimately shock the system.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah | Ancestral Recall
March 21, 2019
“We don’t talk about the fact that people have really belittling ideas about deeply rhythmic cultures. We don’t talk about how people believe that those cultures—and on one level, you might describe them as black and brown and tan musical cultures—are not as sophisticated, musically, as cultures that prioritize harmony and melody. The impetus of the sound and the album was, ‘How do I take the things that people look at as a pejorative about my musical culture, and show that those are actually the most sophisticated, most nuanced, most beautiful? And if you see that that’s the case, what does that mean for ideas that people hold about your culture, and about you?’”
The Philharmonik | The Philharmonik
March 18, 2018
We return the The Philharmonik's self-titled debut album. Released in 2018, the stylistically-transcendent Sacramento musician introduced himself then as a powerful pedestal for the underrepresented communities he comes from, and a musically fluid force of funk, hip-hop & soul the black community in particular created whole-heartedly. Years later, the fight and his fight remain the same, and his music - only more refined and directed. So, in searching for music to march to, projects to protest to, and black artists to support the way they have always supported their own communities, look no further.