Black tri-state natives to add to your playlist: your February Press-Playlist

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor

Around 50 years ago, Black History Month gained nationwide and political acceptance, becoming an annual occurrence. Every February, we observe and celebrate Black artistry, businesses and achievements, among others.

New York City is known as a “melting pot”; a culturally diverse city with people from different backgrounds on every block. This is no exception when it comes to music, as artists make music that’s true to their identity. Even though this month is significant, it is also necessary to note that we should be celebrating Black accomplishments every month. In this month’s Press-Playlist, we wanted to showcase some–out of many– Black musicians from the New York City area to listen to year-round.

Asoh Black! (feat. Swell) – “Summer Playlists”

Asoh Black!, a rapper from Brooklyn and a performer in 2022’s Rolling Loud in NYC, has been gaining traction after the release of their album “Black Ocean: Season One.” By putting “Summer Playlists” featuring Swell in this month’s lineup, we are bringing you to the beginning of Asoh’s discography, as this single came out approximately six years ago. Even though we’re still in the midst of winter, you can still enjoy this warm weather anthem as we approach the season.

Sydney Renae – “Did You Mean It”

Born and raised in New York, Sydney Renae is another artist to keep an eye on as her career progresses. With two albums, Renae isn’t new to the scene, but her sound is a fresh take on R&B and Soul. Her song “Did You Mean It” has a catchy rhythm, but the lyrics are raw and vulnerable as she recounts a negative experience with a former relationship. Her unique sound on this track is reminiscent of recent popularized takes on R&B, making her ahead of the game with this release from a few years ago. More recently, she released her newest single “Leave U Alone” in 2022.

Leon Thomas – “Love Jones”

While you may know him from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” or Nick Jr.’s “The Backyardigans,” Leon Thomas has been pursuing his solo career in R&B. He has released a few projects, and with his new album “Electric Dusk” being released in late 2023, there is plenty to look forward to with Thomas’ music. “Love Jones” is a single from this upcoming album, featuring Ty Dolla $ign. This track shows that Thomas is not only creating a new sound for his music but also discovering his own style and growing into a new era of musicianship.

Coi Leray – “Players”

You might recognize this song recently as it emerges alongside TikTok trends, but Coi Leray has been in the music scene for a while now, working with artists like H.E.R. and Nicki Minaj. “Players” has a contagious beat and memorable lyricism, making it an instant hit. There’s no wondering why the internet gravitated to this song–it is impossible to sit still while listening to “Players.” This Hackensack, New Jersey native is the reason why this list is inclusive of the tri-state area, and there is no surprise as to why.

DreamDoll – “Team Dream”

DreamDoll is another name on this list that’s no stranger to Billboard’s charts. This Bronx-raised reality TV sensation has released three albums so far, a series focusing on “Life In Plastic.” She’s worked with multiple artists as well, including French Montana. “Team Dream,” from her first album, showcases her witty writing and stylistic choices. This song sets up the rest of her catalog, as her persona brings character and personality to each track. It is evident that DreamDoll has fun with her music, making this an entertaining addition to the playlist.

PinkPantheress (feat. Ice Spice) – “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2”

Ice Spice has been well-received in the music industry coming into 2023, entering the Billboard Hot 100 alongside artist PinkPantheress. The Bronx native has quickly made a name for herself through word-of-mouth, but also through her infectious style. Her singles and EPs are having fans beg for a full-length album, which is bound to appear soon. It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard “Boys a liar Pt. 2” yet, but if you’re one of those people, consider adding this Ice Spice feature to your list of artists that will be on repeat.

duendita – “One of One”

From Queens, the band duendita is a heartfelt, immersive project led by Afro-Latinx artist Candace Camacho. Their Puerto Rican heritage shines through music, providing commentary on colonization and the impact of religion in a Pitchfork interview with Vrinda Jagota. duendita’s passion can be heard in “One of One,” their earliest single. When Jagota asked about duendita’s view on whether they are a creator, they responded, “Not as a god, but I am a creator of something. But I am also a creation, and that’s my favorite part; it’s not all on me,” somehow summarizing the emotion of their discography in two sentences.

Samara Joy – “Can’t Get Out of This Mood”

This year’s Best New Artist Grammy winner is none other than the Bronx’s Samara Joy. “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” the first track on Joy’s second album, displays her stunningly rich voice with an accompaniment that reminds listeners of classic jazz. Joy knows her strengths, allowing her voice to be front and center throughout the song. Even though this song transports the listener to another time period, it still feels modern enough to be well-liked by many. If jazz is dead, Joy is definitely doing a fantastic job of reviving it.