By Gracia Hmelar
From 1950s Blues to 2000s R&B, Black artists’ influence in the music world has defined and innovated music genres for decades, but their credit comes omitted at the hands of white gentrification that dismantles Black culture and voice. In today’s age of music streaming platforms accessibility, there’s a plethora of opportunities to discover new artists and music, so why not give credit where credit is due, to the true origins of the music you listen to? In honor of Black History Month, here’s a few Black EDM artists you should give a listen to, this month and any month you’re looking to scream in your car or dance around your kitchen.
Saunder’s song “On & On” is the first song to have ever been released and sold by a house DJ artist in the United States, in 1984. This solidified Saunders as the catalyst of electronic DJ music production in the radio and on the charts. Since then he’s released countless songs and albums, continuing his work as one of the founding members of house music.
Born and raised in Nigeria, DJ Yin’s sound can be characterized as a mix of EDM, low-tempo house music and Nigerian Pop. Her music is a mixture of sounds she created inspired by her childhood growing up in Nigeria, with sounds of world pop and electronic influences. Her EP “Life of Fatima” includes the song “Jealousy” which is my favorite and I highly recommend for late night drives.
Although identified as a Hip Hop/ Rap artist, Australian native Genesis Owusu frequents experimenting with electronic-funk and techno sounds in many of his songs. He combines profound lyrics exploring race and culture with high-tempo songs, with funky undertones. His song “Don’t Need You” is one of his more electronic influenced songs, with a more “jumpy” rhythm.
Frequent collaborator with mega stars Solange, Drake and many others, Sampha’s low-tempo music mixes electronic beats with soulful lyrics and melancholic undertones of longing and hopelessness. Unlike many electronic artist, Sampha utilizes his electronic sound to amplify his lyrics and their deeper meanings. His song “Plastic 100 C, is a great first listen to get a better idea of his sound.
An artist who needs no introduction, FKA twigs has established herself as one of the most prominent artists in both the electronic and music world entirely. Her insane ways of mixing deeply emotional and heart-wrenching lyrics with her unique sound that makes you fall deeper and deeper into her music, grabs the listener in and begs them to dig deeper into her songs. Her song “Mary Magdalene” is a great example of sound and lyrics.