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What is Black Music Part Deux: The Music

In the previous post of What is Black Music I discuss the issues of what is exactly black music and why the mainstream media pigeonholes black music as only R&B and Hip Hop. I also mention that in a follow-up post that I will present some artists that you should check out. I am going to highlight five artists to look out for. If you know of any other artists post them here in the comments with links.

The first artist is one of my current favorites, and it get a lot of airplay on my show, ‘The Rhythm Lab’. Her name is Santogold from New York. An amazing and diverse artist who is signed to Lizard King records (same label as The Killers). She has an album coming out soon. She has performed with MIA, and Spank Rock to name a few. Check out this article from The Fader.


Santogold – Shove It feat. Spank Rock

Santogold – Creator

The next artist is actually a group by the name of Jai Alai Savant out of Chicago. The lead is Ralph Darden. He also has a DJ alias by the name of Major Taylor. Check out this blog post about them here.

Jai Alai Savant

Jai Alai Savant – Sugar Free

Jai Alai Savant on Chicago Public Radio

Jai Alai Savant – White on White Crime

The next is artist is Tama-kali. They were in the documentary AfroPunk directed by James Spooner.

From her Myspace:

A native Brooklynite, Tamar-kali started to cut her teeth on the NYC rock scene with infamous soulcore psychos Funkface circa 1993. Shortly thereafter, the all-boy post hardcore outfit Song of Seven was in danger of disbanding when original front man Israel left to record and perform with the legendary Bad Brains. Tamar-kali was enlisted to add another dimension to Song of Sevens sound. As the bands front woman, Tamar-kali established herself as a dominant force with a resonant voice. Eventually, her strength as a woman in a male dominated genre led to creative conflict and compelled her toward her own expression as a writer and vocalist. She took the occasional break from developing original material to lend her voice in support of such artists as Fishbone and Outkast. The start of 2005 found Tamar-kali heading up her own production company, releasing The Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Soul EP on her upstart record label, and manning 3 solo projectsthe haunting Psychochamber Ensemble, the uncompromising Pseudoacoustic Siren Songs and the original 5-piece electric configuration.


Tamar-Kali – Boot

The next artist is a duo out of New York and their name is Kudu.


‘Co-mingling the spirits of Missing Persons, Chaka Kahn, the White Stripes, and Tony Williams- Kudu makes music you want to hear over and over again.’—-Amaechi Uzoigwe (Pres. Definitive Jux Records)

Kudu connects the rawness and the realness that has bubbled up from the underground and makes way to a wider more varied representation of today’s youthful audience. Nomadic as they are, Kudu has no base but the U.S., but can be found mostly in NY, Atlanta, or L.A. Kudu is the brand new dynamic duo of Deantoni Parks and Sylvia G. who bring you a step further from electro by combining the essence of old school New Wave, song form, and modern beats and breaks. A real DYI group who write and produce everything they put out…even their own remixes. Kudu’s sound can be summed up as Urban new Wave or simply, Nu-Pop. Aside from the fresh musical ingredients – without one sour spot concerning image, talent, concept, lyric, or songwriting, – it’s about that energy, the excitement of being apart of something familiar but altogether new. Kudu appeals across the board beyond race, class,nationality, and age. Kudu has packed out all black Atlanta audiences to all white audiences in Boston. Just watch out when they are heard overseas! The formula for Kudu seems to be to take what’s hot, push it forward, and retain all the dark, beautiful, artistic simplicity.

Kudu – Black Betty

Kudu – Bar Star (video)

The final artist I am going to highlight is J*Davey (The self-proclaimed Black Eurythmics). I had a chance to open up for them a few months back in Minneapolis.


With a diverse array of influences, eclectic twosome J*Davey — female vocalist Jack Davey (b. Brianna Cartwright) and producer Brook D’Leau — deliberately evade the narrow categories of what urban music should sound like, not to mention that they defy normal conventions of pop music. Drawing equally from neo-soul, new wave, funk, and hip-hop, their melting pot of electronic soul and dance have made music-goers try to classify them somewhere between neo-soulstress Erykah Badu and new wave punks Talking Heads. D’Leau and Davey established the duo in the summer after their high-school graduation in 1999. Born and raised in L.A., D’Leau, whose taste for new wave and funk greatly characterizes the group’s music, learned to produce tinkering with his father’s studio equipment during high school. Davey moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of St. Louis, MO, when she was eight. She had her fair share of industry woes with a failed stint in a girl group, but when she met D’Leau, the two had a chemistry that they couldn’t ignore. For several years, the self-proclaimed “black Eurythmics” worked the live circuit around the country, steadily building their reputation and a unique following. They made some substantial strides on the recording side of things, scoring music for television shows CSI: New York and Entourage.

They were supposed drop a new album this year on Warner records, but Warner shelved the project. They probably couldn’t figure how to market a black artist that didn’t fit the stereotype. Good job Warner records. This is why you are losing money and profits.

J*Davey – Division of Joy

J*Davey – Mr. Mister (video)


Filed under: culture, Music

3 Responses

  1. jonjon says:

    Santogold is the motherfuckin’ truth.

  2. […] originally from Philadelphia. Her name is Santogold. We mention her a few months back in my post on “What is Black Music: Part Deux”. I have know about her for a little over a year. She is now getting a lot of press as of late. She […]

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