As we wrap up Black History Month, it is important to know the importance of celebrating Black artists and/or figures every month. Black History Month doesn’t mean it is the only month to celebrate Black people. Black History Month highlights the strides made by Black people across history, but also calls attention to the importance of celebrating and honoring Black people, and BIPOC overall. With that being said, let’s look at nine exceptional Black artists who cover a variety of musical genres, and who deserve all the hype.
- Brent Faiyaz
First gaining mainstream attention being featured on Goldlink’s Grammy nominated 2016 single “Crew” with Shy Glizzy, Brent Faiyaz has reentered the spotlight with his 2020 single “Dead Man Walking,” and album “Fuck The World,” released in the same year. Faiyaz has a distinct velvety voice, accompanied by dreamy, oft understated beats.
- Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Sheku Kanneh-Mason was the first Black winner of the BBC Young Musician Award, which he achieved in 2016 at age 17 for his performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. Since then, he played for the 2018 Royal Wedding, and released two albums. Most impressive is his performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto. Being the reason he wanted to play cello at age 9, Kanneh-Mason perfectly encaptures the sorrow and passion of the Elgar Concerto. Sheku Kanneh Mason is the future of classical music, and an inspiration to Black classical musicians everywhere.
Noname is a rapper and poet from Chicago who uses her work to explore her identity as a Black female artist. On her 2016 mixtape “Telefone,” Noname explores a range of topics including racial violence and abortion, all the while presenting with a warm, soft tone and impressive cadence.
- Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is considered one of — if not the — greatest rappers of all time. With skillful flow, a voice that stands out, and songwriting filled with prose, purpose, and tact, Lamar impresses on each album he releases. For Kendrick, music is not only a form of expression, but also a form of activism.
An acronym for “No-one Ever Really Dies,” N.E.R.D. is a music group composed of Chad Hugo, Shay Haley, and Pharrell Williams: all three natives of Tidewater Virginia. With undertones of rock, hip-hop, and funk, N.E.R.D.’s music dazzles listeners with a wide range of sounds and textures.
- Tyler, the Creator
Under the music collective Odd Future, Tyler, the Creator entered the music scene in 2007. Since then, he released five albums, with the two most recent releases — “Flower Boy” and “IGOR” — garnering critical acclaim. With each album, Tyler has solidified his role as a modern visionary. Tyler has a trademark deep voice with which he raps and sings over diverse instrumentals, with influences of rock, funk, jazz, and so much more.
Thundercat’s music thrives off of throwback textures of jazz and funk influence. With his music featuring his falsetto voice backed by his expert bass playing, Thundercat has made a name for himself as one of the best current bass players. Thundercat achieved both mainstream attention and a Grammy with his features on Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” in 2015. Since then, He has released three albums which show a rise in expertise with each release.
- Daniel Caesar
R&B artist Daniel Caesar entered the music scene in 2014 with thoughtful songwriting and a rich, smooth voice. Caesar often reflects on romantic relationships in his music, doing so with honesty. Daniel Caesar often uses low tempo beats, rich with drums, bass, and guitar.
Lizzo is a singer, songwriter, rapper, and classically trained flautist who enters each track with an unapologetic sense of self. A notable supporter of the body positivity movement, Lizzo is very open about her experience as a plus size Black woman in the scope of the media. On her album, “Cuz I Love You,” Lizzo’s powerful voice sings about self confidence and coping with breakups, amidst a variety of topics.