Fresh Tracks of the Month – June 2020 – Influential Black Musicians

It’s been a chaotic spring and summer, with global protests calling for justice for George Floyd, and adjacent Black Lives Matter marches. No Matter your opinion on the politics of it, we are all people that deserve love and life. As a music school, we owe part of ourselves to musicians who came before us. In America, many of the most influential musicians in our history have been Black People of Color.

With this month’s edition of Fresh Tracks, we’ll shout out some of our favorite Black Musicians that got us to where we are today. It’s undeniable, Black musicians shaped the way modern music sounds. There’s no way we could include ALL of the Black musicians we love, so we tried to showcase a few from each decade of the 1900s. Listen below.

Louis Armstrong – Heebie Jeebies

Louis Armstrong is known for his legendary trumpeting skills, but he was a man of many talents. One of our favorites of his is the song Heebies Jeebies. He plays as great as ever, but his scatting on the song is often considering proto-rap. He wasn’t the first to scat on record but his influence helped popularize it. From there it was just a few decades before the rhythmic singing style of scatting would be reintroduced as rap.

 

 

Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and countless others helped establish American Jazz music and develop it from where Louis and his contemporaries left it.

Billie Holiday – I Can’t Get Started

Billie Holiday was instrumental in the development of pop singing from her era. She took notice of her peers’ jazz playing and pushed her singing in that direction. She has so many beautiful records we just included the best of below.

 

 

Billie was one of the first female and black pop musicians with the level of broad success she experienced.

Herbie Hancock – Chameleon

Herbie Hancock emerged from playing with Miles Davis’ band with his own formidable solo career. Herbie has been involved in developing so many genres that his influence can be seen everywhere.. His work in jazz, funk, and electro paved the way for modern-day electronic music.

 

 

We wouldn’t have many of the funky sub-genres that we have today without Herbie’s influence.

Stevie Wonder – Superstition

Stevie Wonder’s contribution to pop music, soul, r&b, funk and rock n’ roll are unparalleled. He’s one of the highest-selling musicians of all time. Born blind, he was a child prodigy and put out his first hit record at age 13. His songs are funky, emotional, energetic, and calm. He’s done it all.

 

 

So many of his songs were hits, and so many of them centered on the bassline. That focus lent its strength to his influence on funk especially.

Rick James – Give It To Me Baby

Discovering Rick James was like discovering funk music for the first time all over again. He has attitude and talent pouring out of every syllable he sings. He is funk incarnate. The outfits, the basslines, the silky smooth vocals.

 

 

Parliament Funkadelic – Give Up the Funk

Everyone knows this song. It’s such a global hit that it’s undoubtedly played at EVERY single type of celebration. Weddings, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, you name it and this song has been played at and danced to. This song is quintessential Parliament Funk (or P-funk). Slamming bassline, rhythm in the pocket, and call and response type singing.

Sly & the Family Stone had made funk Psychedelic but George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic introduced cosmic elements and established the P-Funk sound. Other bands like the  Ohio PlayersEarth, Wind & Fire, and Kool & the Gang then helped bring funk into the pop world.

 

 

P-funk is one of the defining styles that segued into West Coast hip-hop. The wonky, synthesizer laden beats were perfect for innovators like Dr. Dre to sample and present with a fresh take.

DJ Kool Herc – Let Me Clear My Throat

DJ Kool Herc is the godfather of hip-hop. His turntablism techniques introduced breakbeat, breakdance, and allowed for rapping to flourish. Without him, hip-hop simply wouldn’t exist. His song Let Me Clear My Throat is a perfect example of his influence. Looped breaks, along with his crowd engaging MC’ing, would be a mere glimpse of what hip-hop and rap have become today.

 

 

While Herc was rocking the turntables, other masters were pushing the scene forward like Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa.

Dr. Dre – Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang

Dr. Dre was already making waves with his music with N.W.A. and when he went solo his talents continued to influence the direction of an era of hip-hop. His debut album The Chronic nearly broke the music scene.

 

 

He helped develop Snoop Dogg and the West Coast hip-hop scene. Without Dre’s genius for sampling funk and jazz records, and arranging them in interesting ways, the last 30-40 years of hip-hop would sound drastically different. Public Enemy, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G. were big players in the gangsta rap music of the 90’s and made their priceless imprints on music history as well.

Frankie Knuckles – Let Your Love Go

Frankie Knuckles is hailed as the creator of house music. His exploration into rhythms the evolved out of the disco scene of the late ’80s would transform the world. Electronic music had been developing for 40 years at that point, but it never found a commercial home until House music. Today, electronic music has the largest followings it has ever had. It’s not just a fad.

 

 

As house music developed out of the Detroit and Chicago scenes the world would make its own impressions on it, but nothing as distinctive.

Cajmere/Green Velvet – Bigger than Prince

Along with Carl Craig and Derrick May, Cajmere is another pioneer of the Detroit techno/house music scene. The early 90’s saw more experimentation with synthesizers from hip-hop, and house music was doing the same. Cajmere eventually created the Green Velvet moniker and kept humor alive in the music.

 

 

Funky sounds and weird, silly records are now the norm in the house music scene, always reminding listeners to enjoy themselves.

Beyonce – Lemonade

Beyonce is one of the greatest artists of our time. Very few people have ever known fame like hers. Anything she does is an event, and everything she does is gold. One of our favorites was her album Lemonade that really set her own personality on the forefront. It has been her most critically acclaimed album to date and with good reason. The emotions and context of her marital issues set with the backdrop of racial tensions couldn’t have been more relevant.

 

 

She has shown no indication of slowing down, and her music has actually improved further into her career which can not be said about comparably famous artists.

Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Kendrick Lamar

We threw these musicians together because they collaborate together so frequently, but they are also part of the Los Angeles beat scene and hip-hop explosion of the last decade. Flying Lotus’ experimental and mind-bending electronic jazz brings musical evolution full circle. His techniques are part of his essence (he’s a grand-nephew of John Coltrane) and though esoteric for some, his work has been as broad as Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and his own side project rapping as Captain Murphy.

 

 

Thundercat has worked extensively with Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, and other Southern California rappers like Anderson Paak. The influence on Paak and many other Stones Throw records artists has been extensive. The SoCal sound is recognizable and always evolving.

There are so many other musicians that have put their touch on where music is today. There are too many for us to cover. But we’ll continue to try. If you’re interested in learning the techniques of many of these musicians, and diving into the history again then check our upcoming event on Black Music History this Sunday June 28th.

 

 

Recommended Modules

0 responses on "Fresh Tracks of the Month - June 2020 - Influential Black Musicians"

Leave a Message

top

© 2020 Beat Lab Academy

X
X
About The Lab
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1g5UXZtUG5TOHEwP3JlbD0wJmNvbnRyb2xzPTAmc2hvd2luZm89MCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4=
Signup for Free Workshops and Ableton Goodies
Enter name and email below and we'll get you lit
Foundation of Music Theory
  • Rhythm Theory
  • Using Semitones and Intervals
  • Diatonic composition
  • Harmonizing and building chords
  • Styling
Learn the language of music to help you make the music you want to make, To communicate with other musicians and reveal the magic behind your favorie songs.
----------------------
Progremming Beats
  • How Drum Racks work
  • Choosing the right samples
  • How to use Syncopation
  • Layering Techniques
  • Drum Processing methods
Sequence drums in any style using Ableton Live's Drum Racks. Learn tricks and techniques to take your beats to the next level.
----------------------
Ableton Live 101
  • Why Ableton Live?
  • Session vs. Arrangement
  • Recording & Editing Audio
  • Live's Warp Engine
  • Using & customizing MIDI controllers
Experience the leading software today for modern music production.
Demystify the world of Ableton Live to make any style of music.
----------------------
Thank you! We'll contact you shortly with more info and discounts.
Sampling
  • History of Sampling
  • Hardware Samplers
  • Simpler vs. Sampler
  • Sampling your own instruments
  • Slicing Samples
Explore the endless world of sampling.
Add organic texture or make it into an instrument
Everything is possible with sampling
----------------------
Using MIDI Controllers
  • Which Controller Should I Get?
  • Setting Up
  • Expression Controls
  • Advance MIDI Utilities
  • Playing Live Beats
Choose the right MIDI controller for your production/live needs.
Use MIDI remote scritps to enahce your workflow
Learn tricks and tips to customize your controller
----------------------
Recording & Warping
  • Choosing the right mic
  • Setting up recording session
  • Working with other musicians
  • Time Stretching
  • Live's editing tools
Learn how to setup and record mics and instruments in Ableton Live.
Master the warp engine for syncronizing audio and sound design
----------------------
Class Jams
  • Play in a band with your computer
  • Try out different instruments and MIDI controllers
  • Improvise on any given scale
  • Develop your ear for melodies, harmonies & Basslines
Play live with your classmates in the first modern ClassJam environment.
Develop collaboration skills, performance focus and improvisation techniques.
----------------------
Structure & Styling
  • Active Listening
  • Pre-Determined Arrangement Techniques
  • BPM Ranges
  • Song Segments and how to use them
  • Finishing a full song
Get your own sound from analyzing and deconstrucing modern song structures.
Learn different musical genres to help you achive your own unique sound.
----------------------
YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD
Please provide your name and email
  We hate spam as much as you. You will only get valuble content delievered.
Get Notified About Future Events
Music Theory 202
  • Parallel Harmony
  • Relative Scales
  • Pentatonic & Blues Scales
  • Jazz in Modern Music
  • Voicing Techniques
  • Borrowed Chords
Progress your composition skills by learning advanced music theory methods.
You will get a deeper understanding of how to produce strong harmonies, melodies and arrangements.
----------------------
Ableton Live 202
  • The Launchbox
  • Modulation Vs. Automation
  • Session View Production Techniques
  • Advance Audio & MIDI Editing
  • Clip Envelopes
Learn advance Ableton techniques to take your production to the next level.
Everything is possible with Ableton Live let your imagination be your guide.
----------------------
Styling
  • Analyzing Electronic vs. Acoustic music
  • Odd Time Signatures
  • Arrangment Styling
  • Sound Selection
  • Deconstructing Methods.
Learn the key characteristic of all popular music styles.
You have a specific style in mind you want to produce? We'll show you all the secrets.
----------------------
Synthesis
  • Analog vs. Digital
  • Synth Signal Path
  • Oscillators, Filters, Envelopes and LFOs
  • Advance Modulators
  • Reverse Engineering
Take the sounds in your head and create them in the computer using synthesizers.
Demystify the vast world of virtual synths.
----------------------
Sound Design
  • Advanced Time Stretching
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Fractal Soundscapes
  • Experiments in Sound
  • Field Recordings
  • The Art of Layering
Develop creative thinking by using multiple techniques to create unique and complex sounds.
Become a sonic master.
----------------------
Collaboration
  • Ableton Link
  • Class Production Sessions
  • Project Managment
  • Real vs. Virtual instruments
  • Live Performance Routines
  • Rewiring
Collaborate with class mates with in-class synchronization.
Develope the skills needed to productevlly work with other musicians.
----------------------
Remixing
  • Choosing The Right Song to Remix
  • Flipping a Sample
  • Remixer Tools
  • Stems and Multi-Tracks
  • Preparing your Original Production for Remixing
Learn the art of remixing from top remixers in the industry.
Take your favorite songs and filp them with your own style.
----------------------
Live Performance
  • DJing in Ableton Live
  • Preparing your Songs for Live Performance
  • Playing with a Band
  • Live Looping
  • DIY Controllers
Use the computer as a live musical performance tool.
DJ or play your own orgianls in any way you can imagine.
----------------------
Max for Live
  • Max for Live Essentials
  • Modifying Exciting Devices
  • Creating your own Devices
  • Ableton as a Modular Environment
  • Live's API
  • VJing using Jitter
Explore the infinite potenital of Cycling 74's and Ableton's Max for Live.
Control Live in ways that weren't possible before.
Anything is possible with Max for Live
----------------------
Mastering
  • Win the Loudness Wars
  • Mastering Song vs. Album
  • Prepering Your Music for Distribution
  • Understanding the importance of Dynamic Range
Master your songs to sound as good as possible on as many playback systems as possible.
Learn the secrets on how to make your songs loud and punchy.
----------------------
Finger Drumming
  • Choosing the Right Controller
  • Sound Design for Live Performance
  • Building Custom Racks
  • Using DIY Controllers
  • Planning your Controller's Configuration
Humanize your production or impress your audience on stage.
Build your own sound packs and develope your live performace skill with finger drumming.
----------------------
Live Looping
  • Hardware Looping
  • Using Live's Looper
  • Live Looping in the Session View
  • Automatic Loop Recording using MIDI Scripts
  • Setup and Routing
Master the art of live looping with virtual instruments, conventional instruments and mics.
Come up with quick musical ideas, build your songs live on stage.
----------------------
Online Presence
  • Social Media
  • How to Reach Out to Labels
  • Booking Shows
  • Getting Signed
  • Getting more Followers
  • Making a Music Video
Develop your artist brand and get your music heard by the right people.
Book shows, tours and festivals.
Find the right label and make music your career.
----------------------
Entertainment Law
  • Clearing Samples
  • Commercial vs. Indie Distribution
  • Getting your music on TV and Film
  • Working with a Manager
  • Copyright your Music
  • Performance Rights
Understand the legallty behind the music industry.
Get the most out of your shows and releases. Maximize income streams.
Distribute your music the right way.
----------------------
Production Sessions
  • Class Jams
  • Live Routines Assignments
  • Additive Composition
  • Produce other Classmates
  • Online Collaboration Methods
  • Musical Chairs
Collaborate in class.
Get private mentorship sessions from Beat Lab's instructors
Learn how to add part of yourself creatively to an exciting song.
----------------------
Mixing
  • Understanding How Sound Work
  • Gain Staging
  • Controlling the Stereo Field
  • Using Compressor & EQs
  • Using Time Based Effects
  • Bussing and Pre-Mastering
Master the art of sound mixing.
Make your music sound more clear, punchy and loud.
Learn the techniques and tools to help you take your music to the next level.
----------------------
NEW CLASSES START NEXT WEEK!
Mondays-Wednesdays: 4/25/16
Tuesdays-Thursdays: 4/26/16
Now Offering Day Classes
Our certification program is now available during the day. 6 months of intensive, comprehensive music production classes. Fill your email below and we'll send you ALL the details. Dates, scheduling, pricing & payment plans available.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
GET FREE CHEAT SHEETS, TUTORIALS AND MUSIC TECH NEWS!
We got the exclusives
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
THANK YOU!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
FREE SERUM SOUND DESIGN COURSE WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
Sing up for the 6 months certification program and get Serum - Wavetable Synthesis class for free.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Your Free Download
we hate spam
CONTEST - Accusonus x Beat Lab Giveaway
Win Free Plugins!
Your Free Download
we hate spam
*optional
Interested in a free class? Enter your number below to join
Application for 2020 Winter Semester are now open.
Fill Your Email Below or more details
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
THANK YOU!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam