10 Influential Black Artists To Add To Your Playlist

It's a well known fact that the music universe is one of the most diverse industries out there. And yes, while certain superstars like Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Whitney Houston have all been recognized for their remarkable artistry, there are still an abundance of Black creators that are emerging daily. Black mucisians that have rooted their career in soul, rhythm and blues (also known as R&B), and rap, just like the first musical greats that were introduced back in the early 1900s. If you're interested in enhancing your musical palate (and increasing your Apple Music library), be sure to keep an eye out for these unique Black voices.

  1. 1. Solange

    Younger sister of Beyoncé, Solange, has long been making waves in the industry with her innate talent. Her latest album, When I Get Home, received high praise from fans and critics alike in 2019. It is filled with various discussions about black womanhood and all that encompasses it - love, beauty, and fame. It is a must-listen! Stream When I Get Home on Spotify and Apple Music.

  2. 2. Lucky Daye  

    Lucky Daye has been the topic of some hot conversations lately. This newly discovered artist was featured for Issa Rae's newest movie, The Photograph, for his song "Roll Some Mo." So far, he has earned four Grammy nominations for his album Painted and his success appears to just be getting started. Lucky Daye originally auditioned for American Idol back in 2005 for their fourth season when he was 19. He was eliminated shortly after reaching the top 20, but Lucky's career regained momentum again in 2019 following the release of his newest album when he was 33. Lucky Daye's story is an encouraging one that teaches people to never give up on their dreams, no matter how far out they seem to be. Stream Lucky Daye's Painted on Apple Music and Spotify.

  3. 3. Summer Walker

    Arguably one of the most controversial artists in this new wave of music, Summer Walker is leading the conversation on what mental health looks like for mainstream artists. Summer Walker is an R&B artist who gained mass popularity for her hit song, "Girls Need Love," which has even been remixed by Drizzy Drake himself. The singer has disclosed to her fans that she suffers from social anxiety which caused her to cancel the last nine dates of her First and Last tour. On her Instagram she explained that, "I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad, and it's just a lot." Despite her personal struggles with social anxiety disorder, Summer's debut album Over It was ranked as Billboard's top 50 albums of 2019. Stream Over It by Summer Walker on Apple Music and Spotify.

  4. 4. Beyoncé

    Does she really need an introduction? Beyoncé is a natural staple on this list. This chart-topping queen has been in the spotlight for over two decades now, and first broke onto the scene as a member of the iconic girl group Destiny's Child. Bey is all about feminism, fighting for other women, and feeling like the baddie that you are. For Black History Month, Everything Is Love is the album of focus. Listen to this album in order to understand the themes that she inserted to describe the Black experience. Want a plus? Everything Is Love will make you feel empowered. Stream Everything Is Love on Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

  5. 5. Megan Thee Stallion

    The O.G. Hot Girl definitely deserves a spot on this list. Megan Thee Stallion is another Houston star  (or as she likes to call it "hottie") that is taking the rap game into her hands. Megan emerged back in 2018 with her wildly successful song, "Big Ole Freak," and hasn't stopped since. Megan has branded herself as not just any sex symbol, but the sex symbol with her songs, "Freak Nasty," "Sex Talk," and "Ride or Die" which was featured for the film Queen and Slim. Megan has collaborated with musical icons like Nicki Minaj and even has a photo with Houston's other most famous star, Beyonce. Stream Megan Thee Stallion's most recent album, Fever, on Apple Music and Spotify.

  6. 6. Justine Skye

    Justine Skye is the perfect balance between the girl next door, a part-time supermodel, and that one girl in your dorm that sings all the time. Straight from Brooklyn, NY, this singer merges old school soul with modern R&B and it's literally one of the best things that you could introduce to your ears. Besides the fact that she's best friends with everyone around in Hollywood (including one ex friendship with Kylie Jenner), Justine is one artist that it sure to really take off this year. Stream Bare With Me on Spotify and Apple Music.

  7. 7. Frank Ocean

    Ah, the ellusive and well sought-after artist, Frank Ocean. Although Frank Ocean is no stranger to the R&B genre, he isn't exactly creating music as often anymore. Frank dropped his last project, Blonde, in 2016 almost four years ago and the album before that, Channel Orange, in 2012. Frank is wildly inconsistent with his musical endeavors, but this doesn't take away from the fact that he's insanely talented. Frank Ocean, if you're reading this: come back home, we miss you buddy. Stream Blonde on Spotify and Apple Music.

  8. 8. Ari Lennox

    Ari Lennox amassed a large following after her debut single, "Whipped Cream," got air time on the radio. Recently, Ari Lennox has been acknowledged heavily for her first and only official album, Shea Butter Baby where she sings about lost love, shady men, and even getting her first new apartment with no roommates – could you imagine? Stream this phenomenal album on Spotify and Apple Music.

  9. 9. Doja Cat

    Doja Cat is a fresh-faced artist that no one, including TikTokers, can stop dancing to. With hits like "Say so," "Juicy," and "Rules," its no wonder her fan base is expanding so rapidly. Doja Cat originally went viral when her song, "Mooo!" was shared, liked, and reposted all across Twitter. While she's had some interesting hot takes (including how she doesn't actually eat fruit), she's climbing up the charts and is somebody you don't want to sleep on. Stream Doja Cat's newest album, Hot Pink, on Spotify and Apple Music.

  10. 10. SZA 

    SZA is another artist who doesn't exactly release music as consistently as she should, but we love her anyway. SZA released her debut album Ctrl back in 2017 and hasn't looked back since. Her soulful, edgy, and original sound is paired perfectly with her distinctive look. Since her debut album, SZA has collaborated DJ Khaled, Maroon 5, and Rihanna. Stream Ctrl on Spotify and Apple Music.

This list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface for artists that deserve more appreciation. If you're in the mood to discover, check out the new R&B playlists that live on Spotify and Apple Music's platforms and are usually updated weekly.