Monday, February 19, 2024

As Black History Month is beginning, we at Scope decided to gather a list of our members’ favorite albums from Black artists. These albums represent a wide range of styles and time periods that celebrate the incredible work that has been done for the music scene by Black artists. Here are some highlights, as provided by a variety of amazing Scopers. 

Age of Pleasure by Janelle Monae 

A tropical immersion of self-success that makes you wonder if you want a 'Lipstick Lover’”. - Brigid O’Hara 

Mama’s Gun by Erykah Badu 

“Erykah Badu delivered the perfect R&B-Neo Soul album in 1999. This record is a bold and emotional collection of songs that reject beauty standards, police brutality, racism, and prejudice all while encouraging strength and resilience”. - Anna Lockhart 

Sign O’ The Times by Prince  

“This goes so hard. Its impact is insane and we still feel it to this day because Pharrell and Timbaland all took pages from this album. It shaped a ton of everything we listen to to this day”. - Dylan Cherry 

The Optimist by Ryan Porter 

“I think this album has a really cool story, it was recorded in 2008 and 2009 in Kamasi Washington’s parents’ garage, and released in 2018. He titled the album “The Optimist” due to the optimism he was feeling about America electing its first black president. This album is recorded with West Coast Get Down, the jazz group that became famous recording with Kendrick Lamar. I think it’s a great album for people looking to listen to current jazz, or people looking into jazz for the first time”. - Elliot Baughman 

Negro Swan by Blood Orange 

“A black-queer-driven album. Interwoven with spoken word that preaches self-love and acceptance. Funky rhythms with over-the-top falsettos, the album is inspiring, angelic, lush, and contains some of my personal favorites from Devonté”. -Eli Copeland 

Gemini (Octave remastered series) by Erroll Garner 

“This is basically a best hits album, and it has a Beatles song. It is perfect and makes you feel like you had a coffee when you didn’t”. - Eamon Reed 

E by Ecco2k 

“Ecco went in on this, it dropped in 2019 and it’s clear that elements of it inspire music that we hear today. Ecco has really pushed the boundaries of art and this album is a prime example of that”. - Dylan Cherry 

For Broken Ears by Tems 

“The various sounds (from vocals to production) throughout the album, like those in “Free Mind”, one of the album's most-known tracks blend together perfectly to create a unique vibe. Throughout the album, Tems speaks about her struggles as a woman of color as well as the difficulties of life, while still maintaining an upbeat, soulful sound. This album creates a breath of fresh air while also reaching deep into one's emotions”. - Laisha Medina 

Græ by Moses Sumney 

“Saddest thing I've ever heard and I love it”. - Logan Kha 

Good Kid, Maad City by Kendrick Lamar 

“First actual rap album I had listened to thoroughly when I first started listening to music, some of the best beats and songs I have ever heard and I still listen to today. There are different vibes and themes to the samples, overall it's one of my favorite albums of all time”. - Ethan Long 

Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar 

“This is my favorite album by Kendrick because of its range of instruments, vocals, lyrics, and rhythms. It is so stylistically unique; no other album compares. This album also conveys feelings of grief and healing, reflecting on Kendrick's lived experiences and how they have impacted him”. - Claire Benson 

What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye 

“Masterful production and lyrics. A classic!” - Natalie Buelow 

Hood Hottest Princes (Deluxe) by Sexyy Red 

“She literally has such crazy energy on the songs. The line “My name Sexyy Red and I ain’t no singin’ ass bitch” from Sexyy sums it up for me. She’s not trying to be this pop person, she’s being herself. She is so confident in herself in a way that makes me feel so good. This album goes off any time you just want to have fun and hype yourself up”. - Dylan Cherry 

Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives 

“Sudan Archives is a talent like no other. Her ability to combine classical instruments like the violin into a synth eclectic sound is perfected on this album. Her lyricism also pushes the songs forward, making the whole listening experience feel like you’re on a cloud zooming through space as vibrant images and stories pass by!” - Zoe Zmolek 

Fountain Baby by Amaarae 

"Amaarae perfectly blends R&B, Afrobeats, and electronica for this standout album. Her sound is both nostalgic and ahead of its time. Each track is a distinct and bold statement, cementing Amaarae as a trailblazer in her own right." - Ida-Marie Bonkafo-Efofa

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill 

“This is immaculate, from top to bottom one of the few albums that has like no skips. Her voice is amazing, her instrumentals are amazing. The music is amazing”. - Dylan Cherry 

“It was the first album I fully sat down and listened to one of best albums of all time”. - Kyra LaGrange 

IGOR by Tyler the Creator 

“When I was in high school, I remember hearing ARE WE STILL FRIENDS, and I couldn’t get enough and started listening to the rest of the album and was hooked. It felt like the beginning of my more individualized music taste and influenced a lot of my music taste now and is still my favorite album to this day!” - Cat Dooley 

Voodoo by D’Angelo 

“Quite literally the best R&B album I have ever heard in my life, one of the most amazing voices in music. D’Angelo really knows how to craft a song into an experience and nowhere is it more apparent than in Voodoo. It’s so good”. - Dylan Cherry 

Tina Snow by Megan Thee Stallion 

“This album is such a classic throwback; every single song is a hit and “Tina Snow” really has no skips. Megan is an icon and she has truly changed the female rap artists’ genre”. - Olivia Heller 

Aperture by Hannah Jadagu 

“This album is insanely beautiful, she really crafts an atmosphere that I don’t hear from a lot of newer artists, almost Lorde Esque in some songs. It’s extremely emotionally charged and has been a very wonderful album to listen to”. - Dylan Cherry 

Lemonade by Beyonce 

Durrr." - Kyra LaGrange