The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

A Black History Month mini-playlist

A Black History Month mini-playlist - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Graphic by Amber Esparza

From the sounds and genres, to the feels and compositions, Black musicians continue to deeply impact and influence the music we know today. With inspirations from your grandparents’ generation to today’s bright stars, we’ve curated some groovy jams to check out in honor of Black History Month. This playlist is a small thank you.

Listen now on Spotify.

“He’s The Great Imposter” – Lightspeed Champion (Blood Orange, Devonte Hynes)

When hearing “He’s The Great Imposter,” listeners can feel as if they’re in a trailer for a ‘70s doomed romance film. Devonte Hynes’ haunting vocals carry this ominous feeling of something bad that’s going to happen throughout the track. Hynes, who also goes by Lightspeed Champion, is a visionary and inspiration for the current generation of music. For 20 years Hynes explored and unlocked different genres in Hynes’ musical repertoire such as punk rock, indie-folk rock, and jazz-inspired R&B.

“Rockstar” – N.E.R.D

“Rockstar” is a track from the ultimate “favorite artists’ favorite artist”: Pharrell Williams and his band N.E.R.D. The band’s album “In Search Of…” is a great example of how rock and rap can be blended to create something new and influential. The track “Rockstar” will make listeners feel like they’re in an early 2000s college party. Pharrell’s smooth flow over the punk rock drums and guitar is the reason they still call Pharrell “Skateboard P.”

“LazyEaterBetsOnHerLikeness” – Liv.e

Neo-soul is in a weird wave of inspiration today’s big R&B artists like SZA, but not many are inspired enough to create full projects dedicated to the sound. Hailee Olivia Williams, known artistically as Liv.e, is the next generation of soul, R&B and jazz music in today’s era. Taking inspiration from Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae, Williams is a step in the right direction for modern neo-soul. This track has a hypnotizing Madlib-esque sample loop in the background surrounded by Williams’ soulful vocals filling up any empty space between the track.

“(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” – Aretha Franklin

As the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Franklin will forever hold a place in everyone’s hearts. Whether you’re a dedicated fan, or know her for her well-known music, there’s no denying how cherished Franklin will forever be. From one of her most popular albums “Lady Soul,” her song “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” is exceptionally one worth listening to. Also one of her original songs, this track is infused with her signature soulful vocals and upbeat sound. You can immediately feel and hear the passion in Franklin’s voice after throwing this song on.

“Red House” – Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is an undeniable important figure in music history. With his legendary electric guitar rhythms and raw talent, Hendrix was a force to be reckoned with. His song “Red House” is a track off of his most popular album “Are You Experienced?” This song thoroughly showcases the insanely skillful way Hendrix plays the electric guitar. You can hear him sprinkling in his magic and soaking it into the instrument. The song itself is truly captivating. The melody of the song is enamoring and the tone in Hendrix’s voice is sophisticated. This is a good song to put on to relax or jam out to at any time.

“Funny How Time Slips Away” – Al Green

Another notable and influential musical artist, Al Green’s music is saturated with a soulful and intimate groove. Because his lyrics hold a lot of sentiment, his songs sound as though they are love letters. The song “Funny How Time Slips Away” from his album “Call Me” has a nostalgic sound to it. The instrumentals transport your mind back to the ‘70s. The song starts off with a simple greeting: “Well, hello there.” As you listen, the tone in Green’s voice is friendly, almost as though he’s catching up with a friend or meeting someone new for the first time. The consistent melody carried throughout the song mixed with Green’s lively and heartfelt singing is soothing and is another great song to listen to if you’re wanting to unwind after a hectic day.

About the Authors

Samuel Rocha
Samuel Rocha is a communications senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Along with volunteering with the Mesquite, Samuel is also a DJ for Enlace Radio and a staff writer for El Espejo Magazine. In his free time, Samuel enjoys thrifting, finding the next best hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and spending time with his family and friends. Samuel hopes to become a full time multimedia journalist for his community here in San Antonio.
Victoria Arredondo
Assistant Editor
Victoria Arredondo is a senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio majoring in English and communications and minoring in psychology. Victoria received her associate degree from Palo Alto College along with her high school diploma in 2018 from Frank L. Madla Early College High School. In her downtime, Victoria enjoys reading, writing poetry and short stories, watching horror movies and spending time with friends. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

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