While answering emails and sipping a huge cup of coffee this morning, I flipped on Pandora. I started to bob my head to the catchy beat that oozed through my phone and I soon realized that I have never acknowledged the artists that truly make a difference in my day-to-day life. I’m talking about those artists who have stood the test of time while giving birth to an eccentric range of sounds. I’m talking about legends.
So, without further ado, keep reading to find out which artists I can depend on to lift my spirits on any and every occasion!
1) Stevie Wonder
Ever since I can remember, my momma has been a die hard fan of Stevie. He was literally all she listened to when I was little and my childhood is clouded by random instances of Part-Time Lover and Ribbon in the Sky jam sessions. Simply a legend in his own right, Stevie Wonder’s irresistible charm and smooth vocals are the things dreams are made of. He’s penned some of our time’s most prolific ballads and he is an inspiration to musicians striving to duplicate just an ounce of his God-given talent.
When I was in grade school, I couldn’t quite comprehend this “love” that Stevie sang of nor could I relate to the eloquent metaphors he listed in some of his most ubiquitous singles; however, as I’ve matured in a young woman, his beautiful narratives are the soundtrack to my life! From As to Higher Ground to —-, Stevie is an OG when it comes to this music thang. Every time his signature melody hits the airwaves, a smile creeps across my face. I mean, I just can’t help it. Thanks, Momma!
2) Earth, Wind and Fire
You can’t speak of nostalgic vibes without mentioning Earth, Wind and Fire. Every Black family reunion is doused in their tunes and every Saturday morning I indulge in my own personal concert while belting out their tracks. Embarrassing, right?
But, anywho, the moral of the story is they’re the shit. This iconic group is another music great I grew up listening to and my momma is also an avid fan. If you haven’t already fallen under their charismatic spell, you should check out of their a few of their dopest singles including September, After the Love Has Gone, Shining Star, Sing a Song, Fantasy and Let’s Groove. But, I should warn you, prepare to fall in love! They’re a quick pick-me-up for any gloomy day.
3) Bruno Mars
Isn’t Bruno Mars just the cutest thing? I found myself falling for him after listening to his first EP Doo Wops and Hooligans back in 2010. The baby-faced pop crooner has transformed the world into his playground with a commendable music evolution and his “start-from-the-bottom” mentality. He is also King when it comes to recording feel-good, breezy rhythms and I believe he his one of the best performers of my generation.
Bruno Mars is one of those artists that exudes a tremendous amount of female appeal. I believe one of his brightest talents (aside from the smooth moves and buttery smooth vocals) lies within his ability to use music as a mode of emotional stimulation. For example, I can hear That’s What I Like day in and day out; yet, no matter how many times I listen, I still leave those 3 and a half minutes feeling like the world’s sexiest woman.
4) Lil Boosie
Okay okay, Lil Boosie is not exactly the smoothest nor his he the artist who is musically-inclined in more than 5 different ways; however, he always makes resort to my inner rachetness. And, I love every moment! His music allows his listeners to forget about the shortcomings of their lives while injecting them with a deep bass lines and his high-pitched vocals. Lil Boosie is literally the walking incarnation of the livest party you’ve ever attended.
Sidenote: Wipe Me Down is the undisputed theme song of my college career. Throw it into a mix of 2009 Prairie View A&M bangers and I’ll forget all my personal inhibitions (including lifetime morals and values) will be tossed to the wind. Just thought you should know. 🙂
5) Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
The jamming of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly is another Black family tradition. Every family function (whether its a barbeque, a funeral, a birthday party or even Christmas) is sure to have Before I Let Go blasting through the speakers.
As aforementioned, now as an adult, I have grown to appreciate this timeless group. They’re laid-back musical aesthetic is full of playful nostalgia, impressive artistry and a distinct sound that cannot be copied. Don’t believe me? Well, take a listen to two of my all-time faves: Southern Girl and Golden Time of Day. I guarantee you’ll be two-stepping and jiving in no time!
6) Chance the Rapper
I recently had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend Chance the Rapper’s Be Encouraged tour and my life was changed for the better! In a little under 2 hours, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett (Chance’s government name) managed to capture my heart with his positivity, his infectious personality and his effortless ability to not take himself too seriously. During his performance, he consistently admitted to “being human” and “messing up”; however, he maintained this spiritually-refreshing coolness that radiated his entire aura. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not only did I smile and grin like a giddy schoolgirl the entire show, but I left Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion feeling inspired.
Chance the Rapper is a gem! It’s hard to find genuine talent in a music industry that’s plagued by the mentality of scraping in the millions and selling records, but Chance proves that, if you keep God first and stick to what you believe in, success will fall into place. FYI: If you haven’t heard this man’s verse in Action Bronson’s breakup anthem Baby Blue, I suggest you head over to YouTube ASAP for a quick listen. It’s just epic on so many levels. And, let’s not forget hi-la-rious!
Honorable Mention: Kanye West (circa 2007)
Yeah, Kanye almost made the list. But, Yeezus and The Life of Pablo messed it up for him. I do consider myself a Kanye fan but, lately, his tunes have been on a more eclectic tip. Though I’ve grown to appreciate his artistic abilities and his knack for introducing the world to a newly-minted signature sound, I have no problem admitting that I’m more of a College Dropout, Late Registration type of gal. I guess you could say “I miss the old Kanye”.
When Yeezy first dropped his hit Through the Wire, I was in high school. Struggling to wrap my mind around the thought of what I wanted to do in the next chapter of my life, this Chicago-bred genius’s lyrical prowess was in constant rotation. Kanye West’s early work was a revelation that played on the ideas of spirituality, love, family, ambition and hard work. This dude was hungry and it illuminated within every track he laced. Soon enough, I hit college and he was still a flagrant favorite on my playlist. No matter what wild stories industry haters may spew, Kanye’s vision and talent is unparalleled. He is the voice of an entire generation. And, for that, I still love him to the moon and back. #YeezySeason
Do you have any artists that always manage to make your day? Whelp, drop them below. I’d love to see what you guys are jamming!
Thanks for reading!