This article first appeared on KCPR.org. Mustang Media Group is a student-run organization that includes Mustang News and KCPR. They collaborate to cover news, arts, and culture for Cal Poly and the greater San Luis Obispo community.
Last year the Black Lives Matter Movement became much more prominent. With it the efforts to support Black-owned businesses and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) creators and artists has grown.
Music would not be where it is today without BIPOC artists, such as Prince who gave us classics like “When Doves Cry” or “Purple Rain;” N.W.A using their music to speak up against systemic racism with “F*ck Tha Police;” or Selena Quintanilla becoming an international pop-star and paving the way for Latinx representation in music and fashion.
Here is a list of BIPOC artists you should be listening to if you aren’t already:
This Colombian-American, eccentrically dressed artist has made headlines with her strong voice and recently released Spanish album “Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios).”
Listen to her if you like: SZA or Raveena
Walker’s songs are all very easy and enjoyable to listen to. Her voice and the beats backing her are often very suave and relaxing.
Listen to her if you like: Ella Mai, H.E.R., 6LACK or SZA
Vetta Borne is a Melbourne based artist I recently discovered that doesn’t have that large of a following yet.
The songs are very different in energy but share a similar dominant bass line that really puts a nice and somewhat artistic touch on both.
Listen to her if you like: Vera Blue or Dua Lipa
Paak has an incredibly distinct voice and a unique stylistic approach to his music. This summer he released a powerful song and music video about the Black Lives Matter Movement called “Lockdown” that is definitely worth a listen.
Listen to if you like: Vince Staples or BJ the Chicago Kid
This young artist makes pretty energetic and uplifting music. His voice is light which allows the listener to really hear what he is saying and singing above it all.
Listen to them if you like: Wallows, Clairo or Dominic Fike
This Japanese-American artist is someone I just recently started listening to after one of her songs, “Me and My Husband,” became a popular sound on Tik Tok.
Listen to her if you like: Phoebe Bridgers or Snail Mail
Lacy began his music career with the band The Internet and is another BIPOC artist who’s talent should not be overlooked. He was also featured on two songs off of Vampire Weekend’s last album “Father of the Bride.”
Listen to him if you like: Smino, Solange, or Anderson .Paak
Apollo has put out three albums within the last three years. His music ranges in style, tempo and even language, since some of his songs are sung in Spanish.
Listen to him if you like: Still Woozy, Mac Miller, Khalid
Bakar is best known for his song “Hell n Back” off of his 2019 record “Will You Be My Yellow.”
Listen to him if you like: Cosmo Pyke, Still Woozy, Yellow Days, or Gus Dapperton
She is a Filipina-British artist that has a sort of grunge style and makes guitar-heaving, energetic music. Last year, her song “Coffee” was sampled in the song “death bed” by Powfu and went viral on Tik Tok.
Listen to her if you like: Clairo, Beach Bunny or Soccer Mommy
Beach Goons are a band from San Diego that incorporate a lot of Spanish and Mexican slang into their songs.
Listen to them if you like: The Frights, Surf Curse or Hot Flash Heat Wave
Maia, or mxmtoon, got her start on Vine and Youtube until she moved to Tik Tok where she gained a large following and where many of her songs, like “Prom Dress,” have gone viral.
Listen to her if you like: Chloe Moriondo, Concan Gray or dodie
About three years ago I discovered Malvín when I was learning how to play the ukulele. His voice and all of his music is very soothing and warm.
Listen to him if you like: Ingrid Michaelson or Twenty One Pilots