Black History Month: Listen to all five mixes here
It’s Black History Month. Here at Crack Magazine, we’ve been commemorating the occasion with a series of mixes curated by Black artists, featuring Black artists.
Five DJs and musicians contributed to the crackaud.io series, which homed in on genres historically seen – and treated – as white, despite having Black origins.
The takeover launched with an invigorating, punk-driven contribution from Ho99o9. A Space for Sound delivered the second mix – a soothing ambient special – before Baltimore’s :3LON took to the controls for a dreamy pop special. The series was rounded off with a drone-led offering from Oui Ennui and an indie entry from Ravyn Lenae. Listen to the mixes, and learn more about the artists, below.
The best way to describe Jersey natives Ho99o9 is energy. The band, comprised of theOGM and Yeti Bones, have always straddled the ear-splitting space between hardcore and hip-hop – the two converging genres that formed their musical backbone. Their chaotic live shows are natural extensions of these influences. From the soul-crushing metal beatdowns to their powerful rhymes about the injustices of modern life, Ho99o9 are unrelenting in their convictions.
Featuring tracks from hardcore innovators like Bad Brains, Zulu and Soul Glo, this mix is an invigorating reminder that punk is, and has always been, Black music.
by A Space for Sound
Rena Anakwe is a Brooklyn-based artist, performer and healer. Her A Space for Sound project resides at the intersection of her various endeavours. Listeners are encouraged – supported, even – to find peace and respite through her sonic experiments, which bring together ambient sounds and healing frequencies.
Anakwe asks that we get into our imaginations while delving into the mix, which includes tranquil tracks from the likes of L’Rain, Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Dyani. So sit back, close your eyes, and let your minder wander.
Baltimore-based singer, songwriter and producer :3LON, aka Elon Battle, has a glorious voice. It’s smooth, emotionally-charged and entirely compelling.
They’ve put it to good use of late, be it on amapiano-infused collaborations with Hyperdub affiliate Scratcha DVA or more recent solo offerings such as Quantum Leaping – the first release on their very own imprint, PLUR.net. Here though, they hop-skip away from clubbier climes in order to present this hour-long mix of lustrous pop supplied by Black chart-toppers and indie favourites alike. (Think Janet and Brandy, along with Dawn Richard, Solange and KeiyaA.)
by Oui Ennui
Of late, Chicago multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonn Wallen, aka Oui Ennui, has been focusing his attention on on a series of “anti-albums”. According to Wallen, they’re not designed to be listened to in the conventional sense per se, “instead they are an ‘aural environment’ in which to think about life; set design for the play in your mind”.
As such, his 90-minute mix of experimental and drone music presents a similar opportunity for reflection and quiet contemplation – or a subtle soundtrack to your Main Character antics. Expect works by the likes of Space Afrika, Actress and KMRU, plus Oui Ennui himself, who describes the mix as a: “milk bath for your ears – a Black milk bath”.
by Ravyn Lenae
Chicago-born singer Ravyn Lenae sings in such a way where it feels like she’s communicating solely with you. Her voice is soft but commanding, while her lyrics ruminate on matters of the heart. It makes for raw and candid material that’s supplemented by her R&B, pop and soul sensibilities. Skin Tight, her new track with Steve Lacy, serves as a fine example of her style.
Here, she takes a trip down indie memory lane. Much like Lenae’s own work, this mix refuses to be constrained by any one sound or approach. Instead, it’s a grab-bag of tunes – some new and others entirely nostalgic – from DIY stars and indie crossover artists such as Blood Orange, NAO, Flying Lotus, Tirzah and Little Dragon.