On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter designated the month of June to honor the musical contributions of African Americans, known as Black Music Month. In 2016, President Barack Obama gave a presidential proclamation and formally named June African-American Music Appreciation Month. President Obama said, "Let us recognize the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up – to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all."
To celebrate, I wanted to share three albums released within the last 12 months which I think everyone should give a listen.
This album is classic A Tribe Called Quest, from the big beats to the excellent rhymes. Even though this was released 18 years after their last album, it fits like a glove in the Tribe's discography. This album doesn't try to imitate the current rap stylings of today, which makes it feel like a breath of fresh air. We Got It From Here... has political and uplifting songs, which will hopfully move you. Sadly, this album was released 8 months after the death of founding member Phife Dawg (he lost a battle with diabetes), and will be the group's last album.
This album is a transition from the traditional rap centric Childish Gambino albums, and is instead focused on pure blues, funk, psychedelic soul, and R&B. The album shows the musical diversity and talent of Childish Gambino, the rap name for actor Donald Glover. Coincidentally, Donald Glover annouced he will be making only one more album under the Childish Gambino moniker. But no need to fear, we will be able to see Donald on the big and small screen soon, as his television show Atlantahas been renewed and he will be playing a young Lando Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars film.
This album feels personal. From the song "Cranes in the Sky" where she describes the ways she tried to distract herself from pain, to "F.U.B.U." and "Don't Touch My Hair", which discuss elements of the black experience. The whole album is worth listening to, even the interludes, which feature her mother, Tina Knowles discussing the "beauty of being black," her father, Matthew Knowles, sharing his experiences with discrimination, to rapper Master P, who discusses his success in the music business.