Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month. I listen to music almost all day everyday. Eight hour shifts at my day job are made much more bearable with one earbud serving background tunes that match whatever vibes are being given by each particular day. However, listening to so much has the unfortunate downside of sometimes becoming routine and feeling drab. In those situations, it can help if I follow a theme.
To honor both Black History Month and International Women’s Day last year, I set my soundtrack and wrote the inaugural volume of “8 Black Female Artists You Should Listen To”. Since that article’s publishing, Little Simz won a Brit award for “Best New Artist” and Sampa The Great’s stand-out single “Final Form” has become a go-to track for commercials needing an upbeat tune with a good rhythm. Here, I’ll give eight more essential artists, a couple you’ve probably heard of and hopefully several you haven’t.
Bree Runway – 2000AND4EVA
The debut album from this East London artist is only nine tracks and clocks in at just below 22 minutes. In that short length, Bree takes the listener through a variety of genres that she expertly mixes and meshes into a creative edginess that stays impactful all the way through. One of the stand out tracks, “ATM” features Missy Elliot, a legend of the game whose influence on the breakout artist is very apparent. Bree has released a new single in recent weeks, so be on the lookout for a new upcoming album release.
DOECHII – Oh The Places You’ll Go
I can’t remember the last time I heard a more effective and honest debut outing from a new artist. DOECHII takes inspiration from the Dr. Suess work of the same name to paint her own coming of age journey that is dark, hopeful, and humorous. “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” is the most fun track where she makes her formal introduction to the listener, pulling back the curtain to expose her awkward adolescence of never quite fitting in; a feeling to which many of us can relate.
Fana Hues – Hues
Hues crafts a bold and deep reflection of a failed relationship that takes the listener through all the stages of heartbreak, rage, and regret. Her anger and self-deprecation are on full display in tracks like “snakes x elephants” and “Death on the Vine”. The closer “Yellow” is an upbeat track where Fana reclaims her spirit and vows to never settle, belting “I finally know what I want!”
H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
Probably the most well-known artist on this list, H.E.R. is an immensely talented multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter. The 4x Grammy winner has been quite prolific for several years now, and her most recent album displays her best work in the powerful track “We Made It”. With her albums being overly long and oftentimes feeling unfocused, that performance at the 2021 BET awards is the H.E.R. that I want to see more of.
Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales
Jazmine’s fourth album is one that aims to own female sexuality, taking it from the common hold of male dominated spaces. The tracks are interspersed with sharp and intimate spoken-word ruminations from friends on their experiences both positive and negative. The album simultaneously portrays sex as a means of female empowerment and achieving status, but also a source of insecurity and shame.
Mariah the Scientist – RY RY WORLD
Mariah’s first album “MASTER” traversed the familiar path of a toxic and failed relationship, but her newest outing “RY RY WORLD” is a much more confident and protective affair. She knows who she is, what she wants, and what she won’t put up with. And she knows that, even with an arrow in her back and through her heart, she can take whatever damage inflicted and she’ll be ok because it’ll never change her.
Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation
Intense, chaotic, and raw, Rico Nasty’s latest album is nothing if not unapologetic. She doesn’t tell you who she is, but screams it from the top of her lungs. She’s mastered aggression and effectively blended it with humor and swagger.
Jean Deaux – Most Wanted
This artist wasn’t originally included in this list, but while listening to one of the other albums during writing, I reached the end and the Spotify algorithm played “Jumpin’” from this album and it immediately caught me off guard. The album is full of hypnotizing melodies and sultry vocals. Every track grooves effortlessly through the moody production.