Tomorrow, 19th June, is Juneteenth, an annual celebration of the day in 1865 when the enslaved peoples of Texas were freed by an enforced federal order, completing the work of the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier and effectively making slavery in the United States of America abolished. To mark the occasion, online music store Bandcamp will, for the 24-hour span (in Pacific Time), be donating their share of all sales made on the service to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, an organisation dedicated to fighting for and protecting the rights of racial minorities across America. As per usual with Bandcamp, the rest of the sale share will be going directly to the artists themselves. For those who can afford to, here is just a small curated selection of black artists with music and merch available on Bandcamp to purchase if you wish to partake in the event and help those who, especially in these uncertain COVID times, need it.
If you are a black artist with music on Bandcamp and would like to be highlighted, drop a link to your work in the comments or on the Soundsphere socials. We’ll give you a boost on our socials throughout Juneteenth and then include you in our Bandcamp Friday roundup on 2nd July ahead of their next big revenue-share-waiving day.
Canadian-born London-based DJ and deep house artist. Her debut full-length, 2019’s Significant Changes, is a cool throwback to the glory days of early Chicago house and its intersection with late-period disco whilst carrying a strong environmentalist undercurrent. In particular, her collaborations with vocalist Alexa Dash, both on the aforementioned Changes and the standout 2018 single “Diva Bitch,” feel beamed in on a time-warp from the late 80s, balancing euphoric emotion with carefree fun.
Originally getting his start as one of the many bassists who have played with iconic punk band Suicidal Tendencies, Thundercat has become one of the most acclaimed and influential musicians in the realms of jazz, funk and hip hop since going solo in 2011. A key creative influence on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark To Pimp a Butterfly, his own work explores black anxiety, self-belief, addiction, grief and so much more in the format of quickfire impeccably crafted jams disarmingly capable of alternate wit and feels.
Experimental pop and soul artist originally from Miami. Their latest album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, was dropped back in April and it kicks a hell of a lot of arse. Blending together the sleaze of glam rock, the thick grooves of psychedelia, the propulsive drive and occasional buzzsaw guitar work of krautrock, and dripping with heat lyrically, it’s Yves’ most immediate and accessible work yet – earlier records could be a touch wilfully obtuse – but no less repeatable.
Chicago spoken word artist, producer and rapper whose 2018 debut album Room 25 was the best rap album of that year hands down. Both that and her 2016 mixtape Telefone are on the service under pay what you want pricing, but you should absolutely kick in at least the regular full cost of an album, they are more than worth it. Gorgeous thought-provoking conscious rap over symphonic jazz beats. Recently, she’s stepped away from music to start a book club aimed at elevating POC voices, educating those who partake, supporting local black-owned book shops, and sending highlighted books to prisons which you should also check out.
Multi-racial music project from Atlanta fronted by Franklin James Fisher. Their music pulls together various disparate strands of post-punk, gospel, soul, industrial, rock and occasionally jazz to create a unique cacophonous concoction of fiercely urgent revolutionary music. They just put out their strong third album this past January, There is No Year, but the 2017 sophomore record, The Underside of Power, is an especially potent and arresting encapsulation of their experimental sound and socially conscious anti-capitalist lyricism.
London rapper with a decade’s worth of material under her belt already at the age of just 26. Finally broke through into more mainstream attention last year with the incredible Mercury Prize nominated GREY Area – which isn’t available to purchase on her Bandcamp, along with her new drop 6 EP, alas – but she’s been quietly killing the game for long before that. All of her stuff is worth checking out, but daunted newbies should focus on her other two official albums, 2015’s A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons and the more adventurous 2017 follow-up Stillness in Wonderland (plus its assorted loosies collected in the deluxe edition).
Electronic artist from Gary, Indiana. Started off as a prominent footwork artist, albeit one who gained attention due to how their songs deconstructed and warped traditional footwork sounds as demonstrated with 2015’s Dark Energy, but moved into much more experimental and confrontational territory with her acclaimed sophomore record Black Origami. Currently working on her third album proper, she’s also scored a ballet, 2018’s AutoBIOgraphy, and all three releases are worth seeking out and putting the time into to fully understand. They’re difficult, but immensely rewarding once they do click.
American singer-songwriter operating mainly in the realm of good old-fashioned blues rock. His self-titled debut is solid, and received a boost thanks to single “Violent Shiver” getting prominent placement on Rock Band 4, but it’s his sophomore album, 2017’s brilliant Witness, where things really click into place. Booker’s songwriting becoming more racially conscious and personal, doing a better job at weaving together traditionalist sounds and techniques of the blues rock revival with the current social moment in a manner that brings the best of both worlds.
British DJ and innovator/originator of the acid house and jungle scenes. If you’re into the British club scenes and have ever lost a weekend to dancing your arse off in a club to these kinds of rumbling bass-heavy house beats, you owe it all to this man and his under-heralded heyday in the late 80s and early 90s. Although he still regularly tours live, he hasn’t put out studio work in quite some time, but when you see just how much of that work is on his Bandcamp page, that’s probably a blessing. Makes it easier for a newbie to dive in.
Experimental artist, primarily in hip hop but has recently taken to blending styles and hopping genres to such a degree that it can be hard to pin down what his sound really is. Broke through in 2018 off the back of his second studio album, Veteran, which saw him let loose in terms of off-kilter sampling, pummelling noise-driven soundscapes, and enthralling vocal deliveries. Very much a product of Internet culture and a joy to listen to. His recent YouTube vlog series HTBAR is also highly entertaining, by the by.
Zambian poet and singer-songwriter working in the hip hop sphere. Her debut full-length The Return, following on from a series of buzz-building mixtapes, is a sprawling examination of the black self and her status in the music industry as a black woman, especially the Australian music industry where she currently resides. Befitting an album fixated on trying to get in touch with her African ancestry, Sampa rides beats that owe just as much South African group jams as they do classic dusty hip hop and spotlights multiple guest artists with African roots such as Whosane and Krown.