In honor of Black History Month, this week we decided to include a playlist full of notable African-American musicians throughout history. While this playlist will in no way be a comprehensive history of African-American influence in music, we hope to encapsulate some of the most memorable and influential African-American artists in the past and present day.
- “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” – Muddy Waters
You can’t have a history of influential African-American artists and not include Muddy Waters. Born near Clarksdale, Muddy Waters eventually left the South and became the father of modern Chicago blues. This song is one of his most famous, reaching the top 10 on multiple US music charts.
- “So What” – Miles Davis
- “What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
- “Isn’t She Lovely” – Stevie Wonder
- “Respect” – Aretha Franklin
- “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
- “Purple Rain” – Prince
- “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston
- “Let Her Cry” – Hootie & the Blowfish
While Darius Rucker has gained some fame as a country singer under his real name, he initially came to fame as the lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish. This song was the band’s second single from their first album, “Cracked Rear View.”
- “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child
- “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” – Beyoncé
- “Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj
- “Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys
- “Clique” – Jay-Z, Kanye West and Big Sean
- “Thinkin’ Bout You” – Frank Ocean
Aside from Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean is probably the most successful member of Odd Future. “Thinkin’ Bout You,” the lead single from his first album, “Channel Orange,” was the song that introduced him to most of the mainstream music world, and it is still one of his most memorable songs to date.
- “i” – Kendrick Lamar
- “The Worst Guys” – Childish Gambino (feat. Chance the Rapper)