Contributions to the Black Lives Matter movement don’t have to stop with protests, petitions and donations. One other simple and easy contribution you can do to support the black community is to stream music produced by local black artists.
The Red & Black has compiled a list of black artists based in Athens to check out.
Seline Haze, also known as Karica Smith, is a poet-turned-musician who creates music to motivate, empathize and inspire the world through her lyrical storytelling about mental health, according to her website.
Her recently released 6-track EP, entitled “Haze,” showcases her life struggles of being a black woman, having ongoing depression and anxiety, dealing with heartbreak and more, according to the album’s description on Bandcamp.
Wes Johnson, musically known as WesdaRuler, is a hip-hop and rap artist who creates laid-back beats for the Athens hip-hop community.
In a September 2019 article for Flagpole, Johnson said that a lot of his music, specifically his 2019 album “Ocean Drive,” is shaped by his personal struggles with mental health. Several of his tracks took years to release, as it took Johnson a long time to feel comfortable sharing songs related to such a personal subject matter
WesdaRuler has two full-length albums available for streaming. His 2017 album, “4da99,” contains seven tracks while his latest release from 2019 entitled “Ocean Drive” has 11 tracks including popular tunes such as “Stay at Home,” and “Life Life.” Johnson took to his Instagram on June 6 to share a sneak peak of his upcoming project entitled “Dance Bii.”
Jeffrey Blakely is a hip-hop artist who is known by the Athens music scene as Kxng Blanco. He grew up in Athens and began to release original music after graduating from Clarke Central High School at the age of 18, according to a 2018 article by Athens Banner-Herald.
Throughout his career, Kxng Blanco has received many accolades within the Athens music community such as Athens Hip Hop Awards 2018 Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Kxng Blanco has three full-length albums available for listening including his latest album released in December 2019 entitled “LvrBoy,” his successful sophomore album “Skee Yee!” and his 2018 debut album “Crown.”
Squalle was born and raised in Athens and has been sharing his music with the local community since 2014. As an artist, Squalle aims to showcase a “unique rap style” which brings a new and fresh experience with every performance., according to his Spotify artist description.
In addition to making music, Squalle is also the founder of Black Liaison, an organization that focuses on community service, education, and creating expressive outlets for Athens youth, according to his Spotify artist description.
Squalle’s latest album, “Squalle Shottem II,” was released in December 2019 and is available for streaming along with some of his other albums including “Iconic Soul” and “Alpha Lyrae.”
Gimme Hendrix is an award-winning, Athens-based tribute band which performs music inspired by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As a band, Gimme Hendrix aspires to recreate the sound of Jimi Hendrix’s original blend of blues, soul, R&B, jazz, rock and many other genres of music, according to the band’s website.
Gimme Hendrix has an upcoming show scheduled for August 8, 2020 at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta. Tickets are available to purchase on Eventbrite for $10 per person.
Where to listen: Gimmehendrix.com
District 2 Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker, known musically as Lingua Franca, debuted in the Athens music scene in 2017 after studying linguistics as a graduate student at the University of Georgia, according to a 2017 article by Flagpole.
Her self-titled EP was released in February 2017 and was critically acclaimed for its lyrical incorporation of sociopolitical awareness in the Athens community, according to a 2018 article by Flagpole.
In addition to her music, Parker recently released a podcast, entitled “Waiting on Reparations,” in which she is joined by rapper and record producer Dope Knife to discuss the connection between hip-hop and politics.
Where to listen: Bandcamp
DK, also known as Dedric Knowles, spent three years studying accounting at Georgia State University before returning to his hometown of Athens. Upon his return, Knowles decided to finally prioritize and pursue his true passion for music, according to a 2018 article by Flagpole.
DK released an 13-track EP entitled “Before I Forget” in March 2020, which he describes as a “piece of the journey to self love” in the album’s description on Audiomack.