Black musicians generated iconic innovations in early modern music. Throughout history, black artists have continued to initiate new sounds and forms of music that have been integrated into our lives for years to come. Since we are in the start of a new decade, the sound of any genre of music is bound to evolve. As we reach the halfway point for the year, here are 8 emerging black artists you should be on the lookout for.
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24KGoldn entered USC in the fall of 2018 with the intent on becoming a hedge fund manager. Things quickly changed when his debut single, “Ballin’ Like Shareef” went viral on SoundCloud. He left college to further pursue his rap career. Soon after, he spawned his first charted song, “Valentino”, peaking at 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. His song, “City Of Angels” is has earned traction on both the Alternative music chart and on the Billboard Hot 100 Bubbling Under Chart. A new remix of the song that features English rocker, Yungblud. 24kGoldn shows no signs of slowing down on the way to superstardom. You can stream his music here.
These London based punk rockers describe themselves as, “similar to The Ronettes filtered through ’80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis” (Bandcamp). Lead singer Stephanie Phillips created a collective, DIY Diaspora Punk. This group put on Decolonise Fest, the first music festival in the United Kingdom created by and for artists of color. This festival began in 2017 and has been going strong every year since (with the exception of the 2020 pandemic of course). Their debut album, “Sistahs”, released in 2018, received praise from Rolling Stone Magazine and The Guardian. These up and coming rock stars are definitely ones to watch. You can listen to them here.
Amber Mark presents her pop tracks through both powerful vocals and glamorous music videos. She grew up traveling the world with her late mother, who is the center of Mark’s songs on her debut record, 3:33a.m. In 2019, she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered Album-Non Classical for her production work on Chromeo’s album, Head Over Heels. With her emotional lyrics and powerful performing style, her music is definitely worth the listen. Check her music out here.
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Hailing from London’s hip neighborhood of Camden Town, he discovered a passion for listening to different kinds of music after being sent to boarding school. He first started creating samples of music and uploading them to Soundcloud. Releasing his first EP, “Will You Be My Yellow?” last year, it spawned the recent alternative hit, “Hell N Back”. Music bloggers praise Bakar for his creative blend of indie rock and rap, describing his sound as a progressive shift in British rock. His unique fusion of genres is certainly something to look out for, which you can do here.
This Wisconsin based rocker describes his music as “new wave nostalgia”, offering a new form of indie rock that complements the sounds of mid-2000s rock music. Fresh off of releasing his debut EP last month, he best describes his music as a style of his own thing, not obsessed with getting into trends. Part of his stage name is even inspired by a Spongebob episode. With various indie acts serving as his inspirations, he takes their songs’ emotions and spins them with a new take on modern society. His fast paced music and authentic bangers are certainly worth checking out, which you can do here.
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Born in Cameroon, Vagabon began gaining traction when she uploaded her music to Bandcamp. Her debut album, Infinite Worlds, received accolades from Pitchfork and New York Daily News. The electro pop and indie rock singer’s self titled second record was released last year. Overall, Vagabond’s blended style is content and bright. Stream her latest music here.
Oshun is a spunky, soulful hip hop duo, whose music takes inspiration from afrofuturism. After collaborating together artistically at NYU, their relationship was fueled by art inspired from activism and sisterhood. They released their debut album, bittersweet vol. 1, last year. Their energetic and musically empowering songs are absolutely worth looking into, which you can do here.
This Texas based R&B singer certainly sets a new precedent for the genre as a whole. The opening song on her debut album, “Sunflower”, immediately graviates you into her artistic world. Her debut album consists of collaborations entering into depths of genre blending, incorporating elements of rap and guitar solos. Her eclectic musical style is definitely on the watch. You can explore the evolution of her repertoire here.