Hi, so first of all, to quote Phoebe Bridgers, I’m a liar who lies. I wanted to get this post out last week but I didn’t. I was dealing with a really bad migraine on and off all last week and couldn’t muster up the strength to post. Also, not gonna lie, I struggled with what angle I wanted to take with this blog post and playlist.
Re: the blog post and playlist I made on Juneteenth last year, this is (chronologically) the second in the series. I posted my Founders of American Music last time. This time I’ll be focusing on modern legends from the 90s to today.
I know a lot of people will have different opinions on who should be on this list, that’s the beauty of being a fan. I want this to be a starting off point here, a discussion on who has made an impact as a modern legend.
I want to discuss a flawed perspective I had for a really long time. When I was a kid, the media I consumed was just starting to diversify. I grew up watching The Proud Family on Disney Channel and wanting to be Raven-Symoné. (She was my first computer background picture lol.) I didn’t know that it was still new for kids’ tv programming to show diverse leads. I had thought that it had always been this way.
Likewise in American history classes, I remember learning that once upon a time racism existed and it got really bad in the 60s. Then Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and the civil rights movement happened and there was no more racism after that. We were living in a post-racism society, how cool!
How wrong was that.
It’s been heartbreaking to learn the millions of ways that racism still exists today. If anything, it’s a lot more discreet these days. The nuances in our language, the reason why so many people of color distrust and are failed by American institutions, the very fact that there’s a movement called Black Lives Matter — it’s a call to be vigilant for the sake of eradicating this sin because it runs so deep.
I’ve found it crucial to be open to correction as a person of color born in America. I will never understand the depths of abuse and fear that exist in the lives of Black people. But I am here to listen, unlearn and relearn, and rejoice with the progress and excellence that Black people create.
So that brings us to this playlist. I’ve included some artists and songs that I absolutely love and just know that have impacted music in my lifetime. A lot of these artists I grew up listening to or learned to love later. Some are soon to be legends in my mind. Heck, even talking about “thinking things were always like this” — I didn’t even realize as a kid that I was living in hip-hop and rap’s breakthrough to the mainstream, I just wondered why it was everywhere.
On that note, I’m still learning to enjoy rap and hip-hop as a genre, but I do recognize, appreciate, and celebrate its profound impact. If you have any rap/hip-hop albums that I should absolutely listen to, please let me know. I’m eager and always open to listen!
Again, I’m sure there’s so many other phenomenal Black artists from the 90s to now that I’ve yet to discover, so if I’ve missed anyone, let me know and I will definitely be adding them to this playlist.