Vulnerability is the theme for this year, with black women especially. Everywhere I turn I’m seeing more sister circles, more honest tweets, more proclamations of self-love and togetherness. I’m HERE for it, so here. Luckily, music has matched our mood, and we’ve gotten some of the best work from our favorite artists (and new faves) this year, giving me hope for this next go round of gems and beyond. Get into this Black Girl Magick with my top five albums for the ultimate experience.
If you haven’t heard of NAO by now, please do better with your life. This woman is a gem, and there’s no way around it. Mixing 90’s r&b, 70’s funk and modern alternative chill wave, NAO is in a class all her own. Talk about sensuality. This is the album you play after the shower, when you’re lathering up and you need to love on yourself. Pop it in, press play, get your life, and repeat.
Standout tracks: Bad Blood, Fool to Love, Blue Wine, Feels Like.
We cannot deny that Rihanna is the ultimate carefree black girl at this point. ANTI is probably her most honest piece of work to date and it makes me excited a bit about the musical direction that she’s headed in. Throughout the album, she showed us range and gave us lyrics we just can’t completely get out of our heads. I gotta do things my own way darling, why you can’t ever let me grow? starts off an album full of the inner workings of a person who’s grown to experiment with not only her sound and fashion, but with love and life in general.
Standout tracks: Love on The Brain, Same Ole Mistakes, Higher, James Joint.
Kari Faux proved that she was more than just the girl who makes you bounce like Spaulding on her debut album. Lost En Los Angeles is a vulnerable, coming-of-age tale of a fish out of water as she chronicles her feelings of flying the coop to chase her dreams. The simplicity of her bars paired with floaty beats makes for one relatable album, on heavy repeat.
Standout tracks: Fantasy, Nothing 2 Lose, Law of Attraction
This is going to sound super biased (and I really don’t care): Noname can do no wrong. Many of us have been waiting for her debut since we heard her on Chance The Rapper’s “Lost,” and with some folks having waited for longer, she certainly did not disappoint. (not that we expected her to–Noname can do no wrong.) Pairing hard hitting realities with lullaby beats and a melodic flow, she reminds you of your home girl taking you around her city in the summer time.
Standout tracks: Bye Baby, Diddy Bop, Forever, Shadow Man
If you’re familiar with the album Surf from Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, you’re familiar with the gorgeously raspy voice of Jamila Woods. As Chicago’s indie scene’s leading lady, she stepped on out on her own to bring us the magical album that is HEAVN. Think if Nina Simone wrote songs with Badu how great that would be. Yes, it’s that good.
Standout tracks: LSD, Holy, Blk Girl Soldier, Bubbly.
Honorable Mentions that will still get you hype:
- BOSCO & Speakerfoxxx – Girls In The Yard
- Beyoncé – LEMONADE (This only didn’t make the list because I mean, we already know this is THE album.)
- Alice Smith – She
- PJ – Rare
For playlists on SoundCloud with more Black Girl Magick, try these:
- Inlivincolor – Herbal Tea
- Saint Heron – Jams of the Month
- Zakkiyah Najeebah’s Playlists
- Black Girl Magick Playlists
I definitely hope that these will help bring some good vibes into your life and help you to channel your own magic. Stay light, loves!