To celebrate Black Music Month 2021, we’ve put together some of the best songs by Black artists that you can easily stream. All of the artists listed have either made their mark on the music scene and continue to do so or are new artists coming on strong. They also run the gamut from singers with roots in R&B to those who have built upon the sounds of Chicago’s pioneering DJ, Frankie Knuckles.
Remember that Black Music Month is about far more than music alone. It’s about history, education, and the vast contributions that Black music has made over the centuries to American culture. So, If you’re ready to listen to iconic sounds with deep roots, read on.
A British singer with an R&B background, Nao burst onto the scene in 2016 with her soul album For All We Know. The album hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s R&B chart and firmly established her as a musical force to be reckoned with. The singer has noted that her latest album, Saturn, explores ideas such as moving into new life cycles.
You can listen to her album For All We Know on Spotify.
Sean Tillery and Changed
Sean Tillery and Changed are all about Black gospel music. Their group has been together since 2004, with Tillery acting as lead singer and songwriter. His signature style developed both in school and in church. His vocals are backed by a fantastic choir bringing worship songs that the faithful can sing and shout to.
You can experience the whole Live Experience on Apple Music:
Masego is a Black musician who’s performed on literally every continent around the world except Antarctica. He’s known as a TrapHouseJazz artist whose music has been streamed more than half a billion times. That’s “Billion-with-a-B.” Not only that, but people have used his hit song Tadow on TikTok over 2 million times! Many will love how his unique background spills over into his art.
Listen to his Masego: Complete Collection on Spotify:
Hailing from the Big Apple, Devonté Hynes is also known as Blood Orange. He’s an artist who brings a style influenced by a wide range of genres, including soul, hip-hop, classical, funk, and jazz. His album Negro Swan explores depression and the anxieties of Black individuals who identify as LGBTQ.
Check out his most recent album on Apple Music:
Honey Dijon is a woman on a mission to make you happy. Her whole musical style is about life and energy. Raised in Chicago, Honey Dijon takes elements of styles reminiscent of Quincy Jones, Green Velvet, The B52s, and more and weaves them into songs that celebrate the contributions that Black, queer, and trans women have made to the music scene.
Check out her album Xtra on Spotify:
Brent Faiyaz is known for his rising star in the R&B genre. Faiyaz sings songs on a wide range of meaningful topics with his silky smooth voice, such as ending gang violence and culture. Definitely his own man, he has previously stated that the sounds and music he puts out are what he wants “regardless of reaction.” That people are wildly crazy about his music is only coincidental.
Listen to his album F*** The World on Spotify:
One of the few Black lead singers of a rock band, Michael Tait used to be one-third of the world-renowned, four-time Grammy-winning hip-hop band DC Talk. His influences include stars like Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, and Kool & the Gang. Since 2009, however, Michael has been the frontman for the Newsboys, originally an Australian Christian rock group.
You can check out Tait’s latest faith-based endeavors with the album Restart: Deluxe Edition on Apple Music:
Legacies of Black music
During June, let’s recall that Black people have woven a rich tapestry out of America’s musical fabric.
In fact, let’s hope that the fabulously talented individuals listed above and their albums will set the stage for conversations about American music and the various genres created or influenced by Black musicians that much of it is founded upon. Whether the music is about life, love, relationships, social issues, politics, or faith, each album listed above can hopefully allow everyone a glimpse into the Black experience.
Black music’s diversity is alive and well with its never-ending, exciting contribution to global culture. We hope you enjoy!