#BLM, Music, Venue

Lesser-known Black artists you need to listen to

Nicotine of Nicotine’s Famous Honey

Queer afro-latinx artist Brianna Zepeda, professionally known as Nicotine, is part of Nicotine’s Famous Honey, a trio from Texas who create a fusion of R&B, soul, jazz, and hip-hop. 

In 2019, they dropped their debut EP, An Open Letter, an album celebrating both female empowerment and the healing process. Nicotine delivers a powerful slam poem on the intro track, which takes the form of a letter to an ex; the relaxed percussion beat creates a sense of control and maturity upon reflection, emphasised by the last line: “Thank you for the experience. I hope you see me and I hope you hate me”.

“Bantu Knots and Boudain” is a more upbeat song, showcasing Nicotine’s lyricism and flow; it gives us an insight into her day-to-day life, with sound effects mimicking a busy street. My favourite track, “Running”, features a transition halfway through, almost as if two songs had been stitched together. The lyrics pair the unforeseeable outcomes of life with her own struggle of feeling alone.

Although there is no word on new music, Nicotine has been part of the “Sofar Sounds” initiative, performing intimate live shows in secret settings across Texas. To keep up-to-date with her poetry and to join her journey of self-acceptance, follow Nic’s Instagram @nicthecig. 

Dolly Carter

Jenifer Lewis

You may know Jenifer Lewis for her roles on screen such as in Black-ish and The Princess and the Frog, but did you know that Jenifer is also an activist and uses her voice to send messages that speak of change?

Three weeks ago, in response to the murder of George Floyd, Jenifer uploaded a song to her YouTube channel “TheJeniferLewis”, titled “Take your Knee off our Necks”.  She is justifiably angry, she is furious and you can feel it in every note. The most powerful part of the song in my opinion is at minute 1:44 with the lyrics “America, Rosa did sit on that bus. Please don’t let them divide us. ALL HANDS ON DECK ALL HANDS ON DECK ALL HANDS ON DECK GET YOUR KNEE OFF MY NECK!” She shouts these lyrics, bringing attention to history and showing the importance of how everyone needs to band together for change. 

Jenifer also has other uploads which discuss these issues like “Stop Killing Us” and most recently “Poor Leadership”. Previous uploads have also included songs about climate change. 

If you only listen to one piece of music today, I urge you to go to Jenifer Lewis. That anger and that emotion is something you will and should never forget. 

Leia Butler

Daniel Caesar

Many of you may not be familiar with Daniel Caesar, but you definitely should be. His sophomore album Freudian was released back in 2017 and is a fantastic display of his ability as both a songwriter and singer. His music is a close combination of R&B and Soul, and he has collaborated with some big names in the music industry like Kali Uchis, John Mayer, and Pharrell Williams. Alongside Anderson Paak he leads the neo-soul movement with a mellow, chill vibe yet often melancholy lyrics, for instance in his song “Little Rowboat.” 

James Ward

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July 2021
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