Lisa Kocay’s Top 10 Songs by Black Artists
Celebrate Black History Month by supporting black creatives. Buy their music, stream their songs, share their stories, showcase their talents and more. Dance music was born out of black culture, and this is too often forgotten as the genre has gone white.
Remember the roots of dance music by granting black excellence through various genres of dance music. My top 10 tracks include everything from house to techno, dubstep, African house and more.
Let these songs follow not only your Black History Month, but also your daily life.
“Intimidated (with ELLE)” —Kaytranada
Kaytranada stuns fans with “Intimidated,” featuring singer-songwriter HER Boasting captivating vocals, heart-pounding bass underpinned by soothing production, and sounds meant to encourage applause, the record is turns out to be masterfully produced. Kaytranada won Best Dance/Electronic Album for BOUBA at the first ceremony of the 63rd GRAMMY Awards. Previously, he also won the GRAMMY for Best Dance Recording for “10%” with Kali Uchis.
“Rumor” —Moore Kismet
Moore Kismet impresses music lovers with “Rumors”. The record proves to be texturally varied, with everything from percolating beats to shimmering synths, enchanting vocals and airy production that leads to eerie bass. The 17-year-old producer performed at the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2021, making him the youngest producer to perform at the famous festival.
“We are a” —Carl Cox
“We Are One” begins with a monologue from Carl Cox detailing his desire to play his soulful music influenced by the genres that got him to where he is today. Then the record turns into a beautiful, happy and loud production. Carl Cox is considered an acid house veteran, techno champion and dance music pioneer.
“Voice Messaging” – Green velvet
Taste pioneer Green Velvet, part of the second wave of influential house artists, stuns with “Voicemail.” The 2014 track, created with Patrick Topping, offers catchy vocals, bouncy basslines, voicemail clips of people asking for favors, woozy synths and more, creating what has become an anthemic record. Green Velvet’s career began over 25 years ago and he is the founder of Relief Records. The underground artist is well known for his quirky green mohawk.
“Ready for You (feat. Celeste)” – Black coffee
The godfather of South African house music, Black Coffee, delivers a moving production with “Ready for You”. The haunting track features raw vocals, heavenly production and the artist’s South African house flair. The record is part of Black Coffee’s second 12-track album, Unconsciously.
Rock out to bass-heavy house in HoneyLuv’s “Paradise.” The track features seductive lyrics and sultry production. HoneyLuv is known for her influences on the house, techno and hip hop and RnB scenes.
“We don’t play” — 12th Planet
Headbangers, prepare your neck braces. Tune in for fast rapping, sample sounds from other artists, an awesome showcase of various synths, and what can only be described as gross bass. 12th Planet is the boss of the label SMOG Records. The artist is considered one of the first ambassadors of dubstep in the United States following his co-signings of Skream and Rusko and a report on Diplo’s blow your mind compilation.
“Work (feat. Dave Giles II, Cor. Ece & Mike Dunn)” — Dijon honey
The Chicago-born artist brings the funk with “Work.” The sultry track features jazz, catchy lyrics and powerful lyrics, bouncy production and more, creating a record designed for pure dancefloor elation. The record is taken from the next Honey Dijon black girl magic album.
“We are all moving forward together” — Downtown and Idris Elba
“We All Move Together” features an inspiring and powerful monologue by Idris Elba about the history of dance music and Inner City founder Kevin Saunderson’s contributions to the evolution of the genre as he is considered the one of the ancestors of techno. Indeed, the track is done in true Inner City style as it is meaningful, moving and uplifting. The song comes from the recently released Detroit electronic band’s first album in 30 years, We all move together.
“Queendom” — DJ Minx
DJ Minx’s “Queendom” keeps the funk alive. With productions of African house and flashing synths, it delivers tons of sonic sparkle. The entertainer is a longtime fixture of Detroit’s club scene, and she’s often referred to as the wax first lady. She’s known for doing everything from deep, minimal music to fiery, funky music.