A hallmark of a great musician is someone who can cut through the noise and emerge with a clear vision. Given the state of our world, this pursuit is more valuable than ever. Here are 10 artists who are using their platforms right now to express joy, outrage, and social consciousness.
The Chicago native rapper is known for her intimate, buttery vocal performances layered over chill, melodic beats. Her lyrics often explore black womanhood, governmental oppression, and growing up in Chicago. She’s also an outspoken advocate for Black Lives Matter on social media and will team up with Boots Riley on June 15th for a conversation about “art, politics, and revolution”.
After the Coronavirus outbreak, Tennessee songwriter Amber Mark began a series called “Covered-19,” where she committed to producing new music every two weeks while in self-isolation. One of the resulting songs, “1894,” is an exuberant but critical anthem to what it feels like to be a woman in a nightclub.
Whack made waves with her 2018 album of one-minute songs and accompanying short film, “Whack World,” and has continued to intrigue listeners with her energetic flow on a slew of singles. She recently appeared on Lil Yachty’s “T.D,” along with A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator, claiming her spot as one of the most creative and sought-after rappers on the scene.
An organizer of youth slam poetry festival “Louder than A Bomb,” a published poet, and critically acclaimed recording artist, Jamila Woods is a multi-talented voice for good. Her 2019 song “BALDWIN” was inspired by James Baldwin’s “A Letter to My Nephew,” and the video transforms an abandoned Chicago public school into “Hogwarts, but Black.”
Known for concealing her identity with a balaclava or bandana in all her performances, Leikeli47 is an enigmatic, conscious-but-fun performer. Her 2018 hit “Girl Blunt” is a catchy, colorful, feminist bop that will make any party bounce.
In May, Jean Deaux released “Watch This!” an EP showcasing her versatility as a silky singer, a sharp rapper, and an adept creator of pop hooks. On social media, Deaux preaches paying it forward and is a strong advocate against police violence.
Known for her biting, bouncy delivery, and anime-inspired visuals, Rico Nasty is a beacon of confidence and tenacity. Her music regularly soundtracks HBO’s Insecure and she recently hopped on a remix of 100 gecs’ “Ringtone,” cementing her place as a young, relevant, and adaptable voice.
Amsterdam based up-and-coming soul star RIMON is making her mark on the r&b world with relaxed vocals and warm beats. In April, she released “Out of My Way,” a sexy, dreamy tune with an equally evocative music video.
New York City native Princess Nokia has carved a space for herself as an irreverent, smart lyricist with equal parts humor and skepticism. Her style is fluid and ever-changing, but she’s what remains consistent is a sharp attitude and a commitment to intersectional feminism.
As comedic as she is iconic, Junglepussy is a singular voice in the rap game, with memorable lyrics and cheeky music videos. Her 2019 song “Trader Joe” is an ode to sexual positivity, female empowerment and yes, the cult grocery store chain.