Mercedes Brookins
Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor

It’s always nice to broaden your music taste! This Black History Month, you should celebrate by adding more Black artists to your playlist. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite artists, in no particular order, and some of my favorite songs by those artists. Hopefully, you find at least one or two artists whose music you can fall in love with. 


Image Courtesy of Portland Monthly.

Aminé is a rapper out of Portland, Ore., who gained major popularity after his song “Caroline” went viral. A lot of Aminé’s songs are very personable, making for very vulnerable music, and yet they are also very fun and catchy. Recommendations: “DR.WHOEVER,” “Compensating,” “Burden,” “REEL IT IN”

Dominic Fike

Image Courtesy of Amy Harris/Shutterstock.

If you want more music to dance wildly to alone in your room, or vibe to on a late night drive, I highly recommend Dominic Fike’s music. Recommendations: “Acai Bowl,” “Phone Numbers,” “3 Nights,” “Rollerblades” 


Image Courtesy of Ticketmaster.

Smino’s music is the type of music you really should relax and sit down with. Smino is a genius with wordplay, so if you’re looking for a good lyricist who also has very chill music, you should give Smino a listen. Recommendations: “I Deserve,” “Wild Irish Roses,” “Anita”


Image Courtesy of Wonderland Magazine.

If you’re not over your toxic ex, you’ll probably relate to a lot of Giveon’s songs. The overall vibe of Giveon’s music is pretty solemn, but in such a beautiful way. Giveon’s voice has a lot of emotion to it; he has the type of voice you want to hug. Recommendations: “Stuck on You,” “Last Time,” “Vanish,” “Like I Want You”


Image Courtesy of GQ.

If you haven’t listened to 6LACK, you’ve probably heard a few songs he’s featured in, which he always adds an extra je ne sais quoi. 6LACK is one of those artists where you can put basically any of his songs on and just mellow out to. Recommendations: “Pretty Little Fears,” “Long Nights,” “Seasons”


Image Courtesy of TIME.

All of CHIKA’s songs have a cool, confident element to them that make you feel like taking control of your life. She’s one of those rappers who radiates confidence in her music that is overwhelmingly contagious. Recommendations: “FWB,” “SONGS ABOUT YOU,” “ON MY WAY”

Isaiah Rashad

Image Courtesy of NPR.

Isaiah Rashad is another artist whose voice is just really smooth. Isaiah Rashad is a rapper who you can really vibe to because he has such a tranquil sound. Recommendations: “9-3 Freestyle,” “Claymore,” “Dressed Like Rappers” 


Image Courtesy of The Daily Californian.

Iamsu! is another rapper who has a really chill, fun vibe. If you’re just hanging out by yourself or in a group of people and don’t know what music to play, Iamsu! is an artist that a lot of people would enjoy and be really impressed by. Recommendations: “By My Side,” “Pure Love,” “Young Boy”

Social House

Image Courtesy of Atwood Magazine.

This musical duo is really for fans of pop music, but, even though they’re a pop artist, their music is still distinct from most pop songs you hear on the radio. Recommendations: “Haunt You,” “Magic in the Hamptons,” “boyfriend”

Lucky Daye

Image Courtesy of Rolling Stone.

I think Lucky Daye is one of those artists whose songs either make you believe in love or break your heart completely. There really isn’t much of an in-between in Lucky Daye’s music, but that’s something that can really be appreciated. Recommendations: “Love You Too Much,” “Shoulda,” “On Read,” “My Window”


Image Courtesy of VIBE.

THEY. is a great artist if you like the romantic and steamy, sexy side of R&B. THEY. has the type of songs that, after the first listen, you’ll want to play again. Their music is definitely the smooth part of R&B, the kind that makes you want to put on your fanciest clothes. Recommendations: “FWM,” “Play Fight,” “Count Me In,” “Broken”


Image Courtesy of The Guardian.

Nao has a very distinct voice that you will immediately fall in love with. The first time I ever heard Nao, I was so moved by her out-of-this-world voice that I didn’t pay attention to her lyrics at all, but her lyrics are equally as poetic as her voice. Recommendations: “Bad Blood,” “Another Lifetime,” “Wait”


Image Courtesy of NME.

If you like deep thinking, while you’re listening to music, Saba is great because he’s another very personable artist, whose music is heavily influenced by his experiences growing up in Westside Chicago. Recommendations: “2012,” “Westside Bound 3,” “Church/Liquor Store”


Image Courtesy of 1883 Magazine.

UMI has a very sweet sound. A lot of these artists on this list genre-bend, which makes it difficult to put any of them in a box, and UMI is no exception to this. UMI’s music is very calming, and is really good if you’re in the mood to unwind. Recommendations: “Remember Me,” “Down To Earth,” “Butterfly”

Arin Ray

Image Courtesy of Billboard.

Arin Ray is one of those artists who’s really good at making love songs, especially since he has such a sultry voice. Recommendations: “Communication,” “Change,” “Reckless”

Brent Faiyaz

Image Courtesy of The FADER.

A lot of people would describe Brent Faiyaz’s music as toxic, but, I think, more than that, it’s honest. Brent Faiyaz does have songs for a wide range of different experiences, and it seems like he makes music based on what he’s feeling or thinking in the moment. Recommendations: “Insecure,” “Talk 2 U,” “No One Knows,” “Rehab (Winter In Paris)”

Kiana Lede

Image Courtesy of The Grove LA.

Kiana Lede’s career started with her doing covers on YouTube, and I’ve had the pleasure of watching her musical career grow. She’s an R&B artist who has a mixture of vulnerability and confidence in her music aligned with a beautiful voice. Recommendations: “Mad at Me,” “Protection,” “Shame,” “Ur Best Friend”


Image Courtesy of Vulture.

Gallant is another artist with a very distinct voice; Gallant’s voice is very heavy, in that every word in his songs you really hang on to when you’re listening to, and you really feel everything he’s saying. Recommendations: “Expectations,” “Dynamite,” “Crimes,” “Weight in Gold”

Luke Christopher

Image Courtesy of Hannah Snider.

Luke Christopher has a very nostalgic sound to his music. He is a master at engulfing you into a song’s storyline. There’s a very chill component to his take on hip-hop and pop music. Recommendations: “Lost,” “Other Beds,” “Smalltown”


Image Courtesy of SPIN.

This artist is great if you like music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. KAMAUU is a very playful artist, so, if you’re in a goofy mood, or just want to start the day off on a positive note, you might want to put on one of KAMAUU’s tracks. Recommendations: “LaViNDuR,” “Gaims,” “MANGO” 


Image Courtesy of The Guardian.

Syd’s music is very flirty in both a casual and sensual way. There’s a lot of confidence and ease in her voice, yet a softer, very genuine part of it as well. Recommendations: “Right Track,” “Missing Out,” “Dollar Bills” 

Ari Lennox

Image Courtesy of GQ.

Ari Lennox has really amazing feel-good music. She has the type of music that you listen to while sipping wine and taking a nice bubble bath. Her music reminds you of your importance in your own world, and to treat yourself. Recommendations: “New Apartment,” “Shea Butter Baby,” “Up Late”

The Internet

Image Courtesy of NY Times.

The Internet is a band that consists of Syd (mentioned earlier in this list), Matt Martians, Patrick Paige, Christopher Smith, and Steve Lacy. If you like Syd’s music, it’s very likely you’ll like The Internet as well. The band also has music that gives you the vibe of an indie movie about a skater in the ’90s. Recommendations: “Hold on,” “Come Over,” “Special Affair”


Image Courtesy of 360 Magazine.

QUIN has described her own music as “fantasy soul,” and, if you ever listen to QUIN, you’ll immediately see that this rings true. QUIN has the type of music that will really transport you to a remote forest because her voice is so enchanting. Recommendations: “FAV,” “STICKY SITUATION,” “crush”


Image Courtesy of The New Yorker.

Noname is an artist who not only has a distinct voice, but also talks about a lot of important causes in her music. Noname’s specific sound, lyricism, and content all come together for a very enticing mix of music. Recommendations: “Yesterday,” “Reality Check,” “Rainforest”

tobi lou

Image Courtesy of Complex.

While tobi lou’s music is considered hip-hop/rap, his songs have a more playful vibe than most rappers. tobi lou’s music is definitely the kind of music you could play while studying. Recommendations: “2hrs,” “I Was Sad Last Night I’m OK Now,” “OKAY,” “WIDE Open”

Jaz Karis

Image Courtesy of London In Stereo.

Jaz Karis has one of those voices that was really curated for R&B. She’s the kind of artist that even in her break-up songs, there’s a lot of love, and it gives her songs another level of appeal. Recommendations: “Mistake,” “Sunrise,” “Come Around”

Jacob Banks

Image Courtesy of Billboard.

Jacob Banks has a very beautiful raspy voice that, if you have a taste for old school music, you’ll really respect and admire. All of his songs are really compact with emotion; that mixed with his voice really allows the song to simmer and resonate with you. Recommendations: “Unknown (To You),” “Slow Up,” “Part Time Love”

There is a long history of Black artists not getting recognition for their contributions in the music industry, which is why it is crucial to support Black artists all year round. I think some people only associate Black artists with rap/hip-hop, but Black artists have actually influenced most genres of music, and many of them genre-bend, creating new subgenres altogether. Black artists (including all of the ones listed here) are also making all types of music, so there is really no excuse not to listen to Black artists. I really believe you should give most, if not all, of these artists a listen, because all of them deserve for their voices to be heard.

Featured Image Courtesy of the New York Times

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