FOR US BY US: A Celebration of Black Artistry

Article, playlist and cover art by: Adele Lukusa
A collage bordered by flowers that includes artists: Jaden Smith, Jorja Smith, Smino, Tyler Cole, Masego, Chloe x Halle, Vagabon, Syd, Sean Leon, Amindi K. Fro$t and St. Beauty.

For Black History Month, I feel that it’s important to embrace black music. Blackness is embedded into different forms of art, and I feel that that’s most obvious in music. So I bring you, this two-part playlist series titled For Us By Us. because in the words of Solange - play these songs and sing them on your terms - because this shit is for us.

FOR US BY US: MIDNIGHT (8tracks) (Spotify)

Black people are nothing if not talented, especially when it comes to music. Black artists can be found in any genre, but dominate R&B and rap - and that’s for a reason. We just naturally excel in genres born from our communities and struggle. And due to their being such a huge number of black rappers and R&B singers, there’s a huge number of black talent that we should make the effort to listen more of. So, in playlist format, here are my suggestions.

Image description: Kelela is dressed in white in front of a grey backdrop for a Fader photoshoot, with the section where her eyes are ripped and to uncover another picture of Kelela, in front of a green backdrop. In the lower right corner, the title “FOR US BY US: MIDNIGHT” is written. 

1.  81 by Sean Leon
2. Body by Syd
3. U-RITE by THEY.
4. Falcon (feat. Raury) by Jaden smith
5. Spice Girl by Aminé
6. Wifeable (feat. Xavier Omar) by Masego
7. Janet by Berhana
8. Anita by Smino
9. LMK by Kelela
10.         On the Up by Tiffany Gouché
11.         Worth It by Dreezy
12.         Cleopatron (Drunk on Me) by Diamond WHite
13.         Caught by St. Beauty
14.         Why iii Love The Moon. by Phony Ppl
15.         Rough Soul (feat. April George) by GoldLink
16.         Damselfly (feat. Tom Misch) by Loyle Carner
17.         Heebiejeebies (feat. Kehlani) by Aminé

FOR US BY US: GOLDEN (8tracks) (Spotify)

In the words of Frank Ocean, “If you're a singer and you're black, you're an R&B artist. Period.” Time and time again, black musicians who don’t rap are automatically put into the R&B category, which can be disappointing for artists and fans alike. So, for this playlist, we’re sharing black artists that don’t fit into black-dominated genres - whether they’re folk or indie pop or anything in between - into a 16-track playlist. Enjoy!

Image description: Moses Sumney stares off into the distance in a picture for a photo for So It Goes Mag, with a smaller but identical version of him sits upside down in the upper right corner. The larger version of Sumney is outlined by various white lines. The tile “FOR US BY US: GOLDEN” lies in the lower right corner.

1.  Pull Up by Nicotine’s Famous Honey
2. Postman by Melissa Laveaux
3. Love at First Fight by Tyler Cole
4. River by Leon Bridges
5. Carry Me Home (feat. Maverick Sabre) by Jorja Smith
6. Plastic (Mid-City Island Version) by Moses Sumney
7. Social Sites by Cosmo Pyke
8. Golden by The Tontons
9. Collected Views from Dinner by Kilo Kish
10.         Vermont II by Vagabon
11.         Oh No!!! (feat. Dev Hynes) by Willow
12.         Red Lights by Chloe x Halle
13.         Wet Jeans (prod. Valleys) by Amindi K. Fro$t
14.         Miyazaki by Gallant
15.         Love Less by R.LUM.R
16.         Best View by bLAck pARty
17.       I Learnt Some Jazz Today by Tessellated