CELEBRATING BLACK MUSIC MONTH!

BLACK MUSIC MONTH

CELEBRATED BY

HANCOCK WHITNEY | McDONALD’S | FIERY CRAB | THE LAW OFFICE VENESE M. MORGAN

THE HISTORY OF BLACK MUSIC MONTH!

Black Music Month, also known as African American Music Appreciation Month, is an annual observance in the United States that celebrates the rich history and contributions of African Americans to the country’s musical landscape. It highlights the diverse genres and cultural impact of black music throughout history.

The origins of Black Music Month can be traced back to the 1970s. In 1979, songwriter and producer Kenny Gamble, along with Ed Wright and Dyana Williams, established “Black Music Month” as an initiative to promote and recognize black music. They organized various events and programs to showcase the achievements of African American artists and their influence on American music.

On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter hosted the first White House reception to honor the contributions of African American music artists. The event was a significant milestone and helped bring attention to the importance of black music in American culture.

In subsequent years, Black Music Month gained more recognition and support. The Black Music Association (BMA) played a vital role in promoting the observance and advocating for the recognition of black musicians. The BMA launched campaigns and collaborated with various stakeholders to raise awareness about the cultural and economic impact of black music.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a presidential proclamation designating June as African American Music Appreciation Month. The proclamation highlighted the achievements of African American musicians, composers, singers, and producers and called upon all Americans to appreciate and celebrate their contributions.

Since then, every U.S. president has issued a proclamation to recognize and honor African American Music Appreciation Month. The observance has evolved to include concerts, festivals, educational programs, and other initiatives that showcase the diversity and significance of black music in American society.

Black Music Month serves as a platform to educate, inspire, and celebrate the achievements of African American artists. It highlights the profound influence of black music on various genres, including jazz, blues, gospel, R&B, hip-hop, rock and roll, and many others. The observance also provides an opportunity to address issues of racial inequality within the music industry and to promote greater diversity and inclusivity.

Overall, Black Music Month has become a significant cultural celebration that acknowledges the invaluable contributions of African American musicians, songwriters, and performers, while also raising awareness about the importance of black music in shaping American musical heritage.


– FEATURED ARTISTS –


BOOSIE BADAZZ

Louisiana rapper Boosie Badazz, formerly known as Lil’ Boosie, has taken his raw and uncut style from underground circles to mainstream success over the course of a long and winding career. After starting out as a teenager in the ’90s as part of a collective called Concentration Camp, he was taken under the wing of Pimp C as a solo artist, and first charted in 2000 with Youngest of da Camp. From 2006 through 2017, he put together five consecutive charting projects distributed by major labels, starting with Bad Azz and continuing with titles such as the Top Ten Billboard 200 hits Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz and Touch Down 2 Cause Hell. During this period, he scored a handful of hit singles that included “Wipe Me Down,” which went Top Ten R&B/hip-hop and Top 40 pop. Boosie has since earned his first gold RIAA certifications as a headliner for 2019’s “Nasty, Nasty” (featuring Latto) and 2021’s “Period” (joined by DaBaby), and has added to his large catalog with full-length projects such as 2022’s Heartfelt, 2023’s Lines for Valentines, and 2024’s soul- and blues-themed Boosie Blues.

Originally known as Lil’ Boosie, Boosie Badazz’s tough Southern style comes from growing up in one of Baton Rouge’s more notorious neighborhoods. Not having his father in his life was another challenge, but things began moving in a positive direction when Boosie immersed himself in basketball and eventually music. Still in his teens, he turned to rapping and eventually hooked up with C-Loc. An appearance on C-Loc’s 2000 It’s a Gamble became Boosie’s debut. He soon released the full-length CD Youngest of da Camp on his own. His big breakthrough began when he joined Pimp C’s Trill Entertainment camp. He was paired with fellow Trill artist Webbie for the 2003 release Ghetto Stories and again for 2004’s Gangsta Musik, which featured the first appearance of Webbie’s future hit “Give Me That.” Trill then worked a deal with the Warner Bros.-associated Asylum, and both Webbie and Boosie were now on a major label.

Webbie released his album in 2005, and Boosie’s release, titled Bad Azz, arrived the next year with features from Yung Joc, Pimp C, and Webbie. The Bad Azz DVD soon followed, featuring interview footage in which Boosie explained the drug-related death of his father and revealed his own battle with diabetes. Late in the year, the Streetz Is Mine mixtape appeared in cooperation with DJ Drama. His slick album Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz landed in 2009 along with the single “Better Believe It.” The next year, Boosie followed up with Incarcerated, which was issued while he served time for drug possession.

After his 2014 release from prison, Boosie changed his name to Boosie Badazz and was featured on several tracks, including ones by Jeezy (“Beez Like”) and T.I. (“Jet Fuel”). He also issued Life After Deathrow, a mixtape, as a free digital download. The proper album Touchdown 2 Cause Hell followed in 2015 on Atlantic. It featured the single “Like a Man” along with guest appearances from Chris Brown, Rich Homie Quan, T.I., and Rick Ross. In 2016 he dropped the crime-themed street release Thug Talk along with Penitentiary Chances, a collaborative album with the then-incarcerated C-Murder, who recorded his verses from behind bars. A slew of mixtapes arrived that same year, including In My Feelings (Goin’ Thru It), Out My Feelings (In My Past), and Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. Studio full-length BooPac arrived in 2017, alongside the Hurricane Chris collaboration My Favorite Mixtape and its quick follow-up, 2018’s My Favorite Mixtape 2. Boosie also tried his hand at being a romancing soul man on the silky Boosie Blues Cafe, which was followed by another seasonal tape, Savage Holidays, which featured appearances by YFN Lucci and Rich Homie Quan.

The prolific emcee continued in 2019 with multiple mixtapes. A streak of releases began in March of the year with Badazz 3.5, followed shortly afterward by Talk Dat Shit (highlighted by the gold-certified Latto collaboration “Nasty, Nasty”), Goat Talk, and the Zaytoven collaboration Bad Azz Zay. In February of 2020, another collaborative mixtape appeared, this time with Dallas rapper MO3. The project, appropriately titled Badazz MO3, quickly found its way into the Billboard charts, and was soon trailed by Goat Talk 2 and In House. Goat Talk 3, issued in 2021, produced another gold single for Boosie with “Period.” The full-lengths Heartfelt and Lines and Valentines arrived over the course of 2022 and 2023. After the Jit the Beast collaboration In House 2: Boosie and the Beast, Boosie returned to themes of romance and heartache with Boosie Blues, released in April 2024.

by David Jeffries on AllMusic.com


KEVIN GATES

Gruff but lyrical MC Kevin Gates applies the reflective style of rappers like Drake to gangsta rap. The Louisiana-based MC spent five-plus years on the mixtape circuit before climbing into the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 with his 2013 release Stranger Than Fiction. He narrowly missed the top of the chart in 2016, landing at number two with his proper debut album, the platinum-certified Islah. From 2016 to 2018, he routinely hit the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 with volumes in his mixtape series Murder for Hire, By Any Means, and Luca Brasi, and reached number four with his sophomore full-length, 2019’s I’m Him. Gates was back on the Billboard 200 that same year with his Only the Generals Gon Understand EP. In 2022, he delivered his third studio LP, Khaza, which again took him into the upper reaches of the charts, where it debuted at the number eight position. After another mixtape, Gates returned in 2024 with his even-keeled fourth album, The Ceremony.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Kevin Jerome Gilyard made his mixtape debut in 2007 with Pick of da Litter. Mixtapes with titles like All In and I Don’t Know What to Call It, Vol. 1 appeared over the next few years. After he issued the popular The Luca Brasi Story mixtape — one of the first releases on Bread Winners’ Association, a label he co-founded with wife and booking manager Dreka Gates — things changed quickly. It led to appearances on high-profile mixtapes from Pusha T and Gudda Gudda, and Gates subsequently signed a contract with major-label Atlantic. Stranger Than Fiction, the first of several releases to bear the logos of Bread Winners’ Association and Atlantic, was released that same year. It featured guest spots from Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, and Starlito, and debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Plies, 2 Chainz, and Doe B helped deliver Gates’ 2014 mixtape By Any Means. The next year saw the single “Kno One” preview Islah. His proper debut album, it was issued in January 2016 and debuted at number two, and only five months later was followed with an EP-length mixtape, Murder for Hire II. Islah was certified platinum in August. The single “What If,” whose main hook referenced Joan Osborne’s 1995 hit “What If God Was One of Us,” appeared in March 2017. The track appeared on By Any Means 2, which was released in September while Gates was serving a prison sentence. After his release in early 2018, he issued the EP Chained to the City and the single “How We Livin’.” Luca Brasi 3 became Gates’ third Top Five full-length project upon its September arrival.

In 2019, several singles including “Therapy Sh*t 4,” “Big Gangsta,” and “Yukatan” led up to the May release of the Only the Generals Gon Understand EP. The set made the Billboard charts and sated fans until his second studio album, I’m Him, arrived in September. The record featured Gates with no guest artists and debuted at number four on the Billboard Top 200. Wasting little time, he returned in 2020 with the singles “Dreka,” “Always Be Gangsta Freestyle,” and “Still Hold Up.” In 2021, he issued the sequel mixtape Only the Generals, Pt. 2, which he recorded in Puerto Rico.

Gates kicked off 2022 with the Juicy J-assisted “Thinking with My Dick,” a song that had been recorded in 2013 but was experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to being shared virally on TikTok. In June, Gates began releasing YouTube exclusive videos in advance of his third studio LP, Khaza. These tracks included a remix of Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin” titled “Super General (Freestyle)” and “Metro,” and were issued in conjunction with proper singles from the album. Released in June 2022, the set included “Thinking with My Dick,” and Juicy J’s cameo was the only official feature from another artist on the album, though uncredited additional vocals from Gucci Mane were used elsewhere. Khaza debuted at number eight on the Billboard charts. An EP titled FYP was released later in the year. 2023 brought the mixtape The Luca Brasi Story (A Decade of Brasi) (which included appearances by Master P, Curren$y, and Percy Keith) and the singles “Breakfast” and “God Slippers.” The Ceremony, Gates’ fourth proper album, appeared in early 2024, with tough tracks such as “Yonce Freestyle” and the unassisted “I Don’t Apologize” among the highlights.

by David Jeffries on AllMusic.com


NBA YOUNG BOY

YoungBoy Never Broke Again is a highly prolific rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who has attracted a loyal following for his uncompromising street narratives. He debuted as one of 2015/2016’s rising talents, but that trajectory was altered slightly after a six-month prison sentence. Following his release in 2017, he became a regular fixture on the Billboard charts, frequently issuing mixtapes, EPs, and singles. His debut album, Until Death Call My Name, reached the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 when it appeared in 2018, and his 2019 mixtape AI YoungBoy 2 topped the chart. He remained in the upper reaches of the chart in 2020 with multiple mixtapes before hitting number one with his sophomore album, Top. He closed his whirlwind year with yet another mixtape and a collaboration with Rich the Kid, Nobody Safe. YoungBoy returned to the top of the Billboard 200 with 2021’s Sincerely, Kentrell and reached number two with 2022’s The Last Slimeto. He continued releasing mixtapes like 3800 Degrees and the DJ Drama-hosted Ma’ I Got a Family in quick succession. I Rest My Case, the first album issued through the rapper’s deal with Motown, appeared in early 2023, and was quickly followed by other releases such as Decided 2.

Originally known as NBA YoungBoy, the rapper was born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden in Baton Rouge in 1999. Inspired by local artist Lil Phat, the young Gaulden started rapping and recording. His debut mixtape, Life Before Fame, arrived in 2015 and was quickly followed by a trilogy of releases titled Mind of a Menace. Shining a spotlight on his gritty and violent upbringing, YoungBoy displayed a talent for wordy bars, combining the spirits of contemporaries like 21 Savage and Boosie Badazz. In 2016, he released the 38 Baby mixtape, which featured fellow Baton Rouge rappers like Badazz and Kevin Gates. Before I Go Reloaded, a collection of previously released tracks, was issued at the end of the year, as the future of his burgeoning career remained uncertain. In 2017, after he was released from prison, he issued AI YoungBoy, his Atlantic debut, which featured the single “Untouchable.” The effort debuted in the Top 25 of the Billboard 200. Months later, YoungBoy issued Fed Baby’s, a collaborative mixtape with Moneybagg Yo. He quickly followed Fed Baby’s with Ain’t Too Long, a short mixtape that debuted as a streaming video playlist before landing on the Billboard 200.

YoungBoy’s first official full-length, the platinum-certified Until Death Call My Name, was released in April 2018, and soon charted in the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 album chart. The set included guest appearances from Future, Lil Baby, and Birdman, as well as the Top 40-charting single “Outside Today.” Less than a month after the album was released, a mixtape titled Master the Day of Judgement appeared. A trilogy of EPs — 4Respect, 4Freedom, and 4Loyalty — arrived the following August and September. All three were then combined with an additional EP’s worth of material as 4Respect 4Freedom 4Loyalty 4WhatImportant. The restlessly prolific artist released two more mixtapes, Decided and Realer, before the end of the year. In October 2019, he issued the mixtape AI YoungBoy 2, which debuted at number one. Still Flexin, Still Steppin appeared in February 2020, and reached number two on the chart. He continued his winning streak a few months later with yet another mixtape, 38 Baby 2, which topped the charts upon release. In addition to a guest spot from DaBaby, the set also featured YoungBoy’s mother, Sherhonda Gaulden, holding her own on “Bout My Business.”

In September 2020, he released his third project of the year and second studio album, Top. The 21-song record featured guest spots from Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne and debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard chart. Closing out the year, he went on a blitz of releases, starting with the crew compilation Never Broke Again, Vol. 1 and extending his chart streak with the Top Ten mixtape Until I Return and a collaboration with Rich the Kid, Nobody Safe. Several charting singles, including “White Teeth” and “On My Side,” led up to the release of Sincerely, Kentrell, the rapper’s third studio LP. The album appeared in September 2021 and became YoungBoy’s fourth release to top the Billboard 200. He rounded out the year with From the Bayou, a Cash Money-issued mixtape with label co-founder Birdman, which reached the Top 20.

YoungBoy’s first release of 2022, a mixtape titled Colors, hit number two. Better Than You, a collaborative mixtape with DaBaby, reached the Top Ten. The 30-song full-length The Last Slimeto arrived in August and just barely missed the top spot. Though it had been announced as his final release for Atlantic, his Realer 2 mixtape, and subsequent releases, were distributed by the company. 3800 Degrees appeared in early October, followed two weeks later by Ma’ I Got a Family, which was hosted by DJ Drama and included features by Nicki Minaj and Yeat. 3860 (with Quando Rondo) appeared in November, and the compilation Lost Files arrived just before Christmas.

YoungBoy’s first release in 2023 was the full-length I Rest My Case, which appeared as part of his artist deal with Motown. The Top Ten-charting album was followed by Don’t Try This at Home, an 85-minute set including guest appearances by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, the Kid LAROI, and Mariah the Scientist. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. The mixtape Richest Opp followed and reached number four, becoming the rapper’s 15th Top Ten album. Decided 2, a sequel to his 2018 mixtape, appeared in November 2023 and reached number 17.

by David Jeffries on AllMusic.com


FREDO BANG

Rising from the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rapper Fredo Bang specializes in pugnacious yet melodic trap-based anthems that revolve around sex, violence, and struggle. Debuting in the early 2010s with his Top Boy Gorilla crew, he set himself apart with his lascivious viral single “Oouuh,” which arrived the same year he was released from an extended prison sentence. His time in jail informed much of his material for the rest of the decade, especially on his solo mixtape debut, 2 Face Bang. In 2020, he made the jump to the majors, signing with Def Jam for his set Most Hated. Over the next few years, he kept busy with a pair of mixtapes including 2021’s Murder Made Me and its Lil Durk-assisted hit “Top” as well as 2022’s Two-Face Bang 2. His vulnerable, serious second album, Yes, I’m Sad, appeared in 2024.

Born Fredrick T. Givens II, he was fond of music from a young age, playing in his middle and high school bands. Although he signed up in order to get closer to a girl he liked, he found himself interested in the clarinet and French horn, performing both in concert and in marching bands. Passing on a scholarship for college in Texas, he stayed in Baton Rouge and became increasingly involved in street life, leading to his first lock-up in 2014. Meanwhile, alongside his crew Top Boy Gorilla, he began rapping and recording. Some early work was collected on 2015’s Lost Files. From the outset, his steady bars and melodic hooks set him apart, cultivating an image that was both hardened by street life and also fully committed to bedroom activities.

In early 2016, he returned to prison. While behind bars, his lifelong friend Gee Money passed away, which devastated him. Upon his release in 2018, the combination of the death and his years locked up inspired a slew of tracks. He released his debut mixtape, 2 Face Bang, that October. The set featured his hit “Oouuh” and “Father,” an introspective and emotional peek into Givens’ psyche. That reflective attitude was combined with his melodic delivery, injecting a depth to his aggressive street anthems on subsequent 2019 releases Big Ape and Pain Made Me Numb. As his guest features increased — he recruited Tee Grizzley, Moneybagg Yo, YNW Melly, Kevin Gates, and more — he also caught the attention of Def Jam. After signing with the label, he issued 2020’s Most Hated, which marked the rapper’s first appearance on the Billboard 200. Months later, he hit the charts again with his fourth mixtape, In the Name of Gee, which featured another appearance by Gates, as well as Mulatto and Seven7Hardaway. 2021 saw Givens team up with Chicago rapper Polo G on the single “Bless His Soul” from the Murder Made Me mixtape.

In early 2022, he delivered the solo tracks “Throw It Back” and “4’s Up,” along with the DJ Chose collaboration “She Luv Me.” In April of that year, mixtape Two-Face Bang 2 arrived, with guest features from Roddy Ricch, Sleepy Hallow, and others. The mixtape debuted in the Billboard Top 200 charts. Another mixtape, UNLV, appeared later in the year. The EP Ape Talk and a bevy of non-album singles appeared in 2023. In 2024, Bang released Yes, I’m Sad, a somber full-length featuring appearances by Rick Ross, Rob49, NLE Choppa, and others.

by David Jeffries on AllMusic.com