Supporting charitable causes has been an integral part of Bandcamp’s ethos.
Throughout the global coronavirus pandemic, the platform, which helps independent and signed acts to sell music and merchandise, have waived their share of revenue on 20 March, 1 May and 5 June to help support artists and smaller labels. Today, in support of the wider Black Lives Matter movement and to mark Juneteenth, Bandcamp are donating 100% of their share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
In support of this initiative, we’ve put together a list of 15 essential releases from Black artists across the world available on Bandcamp. Everything from soul to alté, hip-hop to new jazz inside.
B4 I BreakdownOjerime
On her fourth project, Ojerime continues to bend the parameters of R&B, her light and hypnotic vocals still intact. B4 I Breakdown is hazy, paying homage to the Brandy’s and Aaliyah’s of the past while still feeling current and distinct in its own right. The London-based singer is vulnerable, dabbling in jazz and soul along the way.
Sugar Like SaltLouis VI
Despite being released in 2018, Sugar Like Salt still feels crisp. Over 14 tracks of experimental jazz laced production, Louis VI sings and raps about everything from survival to self-love. Sugar Like Salt feels like a taste of escapism, cushioned in piano and saxophone-led instrumentals. Above all, Louis is authentically himself, delivering impressive flows throughout.
Cadence, flow and penmanship; Decatur, Georgia based rapper Grip is a hip-hop lovers dream. On Halo, Grip is back in his bag as he puts it, not allowing Covid-19 to stop his creative efforts. Across the five-track set, the MC dazzles and charms. However, he delves deeper towards the end of the project, where you’ll find introspective acknowledgements of Grip’s family demons. A multi-layered and personal release.
Pieces of a ManMick Jenkins
At a time when male rappers need to love the women in hip-hop and rap more, Mick Jenkins’ sophomore album Pieces of a Man provides the perfect antidote. Taking listeners through the flaws that exist in men, the Chicago-based lyricist lays bare his desire to heal. Also featuring the legendary Ghostface Killa and adopting aspects of Gil Scott Heron’s album of the same name, Pieces of a Man is a vow to do better and be better.
Rapper, spoken word artist and book club-founder, Noname is an influential Black woman. On her second project Room 25, she adopts minimalist funk and hip-hop inspired productions to convey her liberated universe to the masses. Throughout the project, Noname grooves to the beat of her drum, documenting her continued awakening, committed to spreading knowledge through her singular approach to the mic.
No More NormalSwindle
Arguably one of the best UK releases of 2019, Swindle’s No More Normal didn’t get the spotlight it deserved. Cinematic, bold and unhinged, Swindle uses his voice to preach motivational messages centred around unity. Amongst this are legends such as D Double E and Ghetts juxtaposed with rising talent including Knucks and Kojey Radical. No More Normal is effortlessly true to London, from its slang to siren references.
All My Heroes Are CornballsJPEGMAFIA
From its title alone, JPEGMAFIA boldly challenges contemporary celebrity culture on All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Embracing experimentalism, trap, rock and punk, the Baltimore based lyricist faces himself, acknowledging his imperfections as an artist. JPEGMAFIA puts his career on the line, committing to transparency first and foremost. An alluring release.
Dusting herself off, Seattle based singer Parisalexia is ready to tell her story on 2 Real. She embraces her skin-tone on album-cut Chocolate, calling for her “brothers and sisters” to do exactly the same. Elsewhere the Gen-Z singer unpacks day-to-day scenarios, documenting her growth as a person as she does so. Reminiscent of Ciara and Justine Skye, 2 Real is a cohesive introduction to the rising singer.
Kwaku Asante is a neo-soul dream. Inspired by the likes of D’Angelo, the north-west London singer adds his own dimension to the genre on his honeycomb EP. Asante’s hollow, smoky vocals narrate his experiences with romance and heartbreak. The project as a whole feels vintage but manages to maintain a contemporary flair throughout.
Released just last week, Azekel Unreleased builds on the singer’s already rock-solid back catalogue. The four-track EP is minimalist in its construction, Azekel’s piercing vocals leading most of the way. As a whole, the project feels loose, with the singer often questioning himself and others, divulging his feelings on life and various dynamics in relationships.
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Emmavie’s gritty vocals are often reminiscent of Macy Gray. The London singer sounds mature on her 2019 album Honeymoon and the smoky environment created by the record’s instrumentals is the perfect setting for a mysterious portrayal of a love that’s addictive and never-ending. A zestful and enchanting release.
Enjoy Your LifeLady Donli
Lady Donli is Nigeria’s leading lady. Poised for huge success, she forms part of the now-bubbling alté scene. On her debut album Enjoy Your Life, Donli grooves across experimental highlife, jazz and Afro-fusion, pushing progressive soundscapes to the forefront of her artistic expression. The songstress preaches positivity throughout, joined by artists from across the globe such as BenjiFlow and VanJess.
Choker’s 2018 debut project Peak is a largely instrumental release. Over 37-minutes Choker challenges conventional genres such as pop and R&B twisting them into a contorted reality – it works perfectly. Elsewhere, hints of techno glide across tracks like Moksha as Choker sings about growing pains and puppy-love. Sonically, Choker is reminiscent of Odd Future, confidently carrying their influence over to Gen Z.
DAWN aka Dawn Richard sounds seamless across her latest album new breed, released in 2019. The thumping, 10-track set merges R&B, the bounce of hip-hop and hints of Afrobeat, Richard’s voice gliding confidently across all disciplines. On new breed, Richard affirms herself and her identity. A powerful project filled with self-assurance and diasporic ties.
Looking for more releases? Head to blackbandcamp.info to find a crowd-sourced list of thousands of Black artists releasing on Bandcamp.