Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 16, 2013
This week we recognize Juneteenth, the annual holiday that celebrates the emancipation of slaves living in Texas almost three years after the end of the civil war, with a playlist recognizing notable black Texas artists. Putting together this playlist was truly a joy, an opportunity to explore the diverse array of exceptional black talent that has emerged from our state. The list mixes superstars like Houston’s Beyoncé, Dallas’ Erykah Badu and our own skyrocketing hometown hero Gary Clark Jr. with ‘True Heroes of Texas Music’ like vintage r&b artist Barbara Lynn, jazz greats King Curtis and Kenny Dorham and local blues stalwarts Ms. Lavelle White and the Texas Eastside Kings.
We tip through Houston rap music where pioneers like Geto Boys, DJ Screw and UGK built a third coast rap sound so distinctive and pervasive that these days young NYC rappers cop their style. We get holy with recently repatriated Austin/Dallas underground hip-hop titan Bavu Blakes, funky gospel specialists The Relatives from Dallas and Austin’s own Bells of Joy.
We dig into new school jazz with Black Red Black, jazztronica with DJ Chicken George, DJ Sun and Waco’s Hydroponic Sound System and genre-defying insanity with local multi-instrumentalist D-Madness.
Beyond that, there’s great new school ATX hip-hop from Kydd, Zeale, Phranchize and KJ Hines, hits from Devin the Dude and Chamillionaire and one of my favorite new female rappers the wicked word-slinger Lyric Michelle from Houston. All that and much more. Sit back and enjoy.
» This Week’s Playlist: Juneteenth spotlight - notable black Texas artists
Austin Juneteenth celebrations began last weekend with a parade and party at Rosewood Park. See photos from the parade here. Celebrations continue this week and into next weekend.