The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

13 Beats: Celebrating Black Artists

13 Beats: Celebrating Black Artists

February is Black History Month, and while we should be uplifting black voices every month of the year, this week will specifically spotlight black artists and their contributions to the music industry. This week’s 13 Beats feature songs to check out by 13 black artists:

1. “TEXAS HOLD ’EM” — Beyoncé (2024)

Beyoncé embraces a country sound on her newest single off of her upcoming album. Lyrics like “It’s a real life-boogie and a real-life hoedown” illustrate the Southern roots that Beyoncé is paying homage to.

2. “Lovely Day” — Bill Withers (1977)

“Just one look at you / And I know it’s gonna be / A lovely day,” Bill Withers croons in this upbeat funk track about a lover making every day a good one. Withers’ deep, warm voice brings every lyric to life.

3. “Go Gina” — SZA (2017)

“Go Gina” is an underrated song off of SZA’s debut studio album “Ctrl.” The song portrays SZA speaking to Gina from the sitcom “Martin” and putting an easygoing spin on her character. SZA’s signature R&B sound shines through on this track as she adds interesting percussive sounds to the production.

4. “People” — Libianca (2022)

“’Cause you see people […] / They don’t really know you,” Libianca sings about not being able to know what someone is really thinking. Lyrically and musically rich, the track embodies the increasingly popular genre of afro-soul.

5. “Fast Car” — Tracy Chapman (1988)

Tracy Chapman’s one-of-a-kind voice shines in this timeless track. “And I had a feeling that I belonged / I had a feeling that I could be someone,” Chapman reveals about the security that her lover gives her even though they are uncertain about future plans.

6. “We Cry Together” — Kendrick Lamar, Taylour Paige (2022)

“We Cry Together” showcases Kendrick Lamar’s musical genius, portraying an ugly dispute between a couple in spoken word. Lyrics like “Stressin’ myself tryna figure why I’m not good enough / Goin’ to church, prayin’ for you, searchin’ for good in us,” embody the emotion that the two artists hold and give the spoken word a melody with the rhymes scattered throughout the track.

7. “Wildfire” — Cautious Clay (2021)

“Your eyes are like weapons / Your lips could teach lessons,” Cautious Clay sings in this ode to the intense feelings that his lover gives him. The track describes the idea that subtle actions can unintentionally ignite emotions.

8. “Self Control” — Frank Ocean (2016)

“Self Control” is one of Frank Ocean’s most emotionally powerful ballads, with the production at the end of the song mirroring the pain that he feels. Lyrics like “I know you got someone comin’” signal Ocean’s acceptance of his ex-lover moving on.

9. “Never Lose Me” — Flo Milli (2023)

Flo Milli’s newest hit emphasizes the importance of knowing your worth in a relationship. “Tell me you don’t never wanna lose me,” repeats Flo Milli, implying that her lover will regret it if they break up with her.

10. “Superstar” — Lauryn Hill (1998)

“Music is supposed to inspire,” Hill sings in this soul and reggae-infused track about not letting fame interfere with artistic quality. Hill’s eight Grammy wins with her band and for her solo work are well-deserved, considering her groundbreaking work in the soul genre.

11. “Praise Jah In the Moonlight” — YG Marley (2023) 

YG Marley channels his grandfather Bob Marley’s famous reggae sound in this track. The song opens with a sample of Bob Marley’s voice to pay homage to the late singer’s immense impact on the musical worlds of reggae and ska.

12. “Walk On By” — Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar (2017)

Thundercat’s unique, multi-Grammy-winning R&B production and sound form this mellow track. Lyrics like “Fragmented memories / Sentences incomplete” tell the story of not wanting a lover to walk away. 

13. “Around Me” — Metro Boomin, Don Toliver (2022)

It seems as if Metro Boomin cannot produce a bad track, and this song off his album “HEROES & VILLAINS” has a smooth, dreamy beat to prove it. The song closes with icon Morgan Freeman aptly reciting a speech about heroes.

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