Celebrate Black History Month in the UK with artist-curated playlists
October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom and SoundCloud is celebrating in a special way. Over the next three weeks, we’re recognizing artists of African and Caribbean descent who have achieved — and continue to push for — Black excellence in the UK music community.
And what better way to honor these influential musicians than through playlists? That’s why we’ve enlisted some of our favorite Black British SoundCloud creators and tastemakers — artists like Cuppy, Kamal and Arlo Parks to name a few — to curate exclusive playlists for us, featuring the Black artists they love who continue to leave a huge impact on music culture.
If you live in the UK, you’ll automatically see these playlists show up on your homepage starting today, with more rolling out on Monday, 12th October and Monday, 19th October. For everyone else, we’ll be updating this post with new embedded playlists as they drop.
Che Lingo was born in South West London during the rise of UK rap and grime, which are strong influences in his work. He has performed at festivals like Latitude, The Ends, Glastonbury and Boomtown and was named “One To Watch” by the Guardian in March 2020.
“Being Black is beautiful, being Black is bold, being Black is me. And that’s what I love about what I do, the opportunity to creatively express myself through my job, my music, and my surroundings,” says Cuppy. (For more on Cuppy, read her First on SoundCloud feature here.)
Semtex is a DJ, producer, interview and mentor who has performed on-stage with the Wu-Tang Clan, Rick Ross, Nas, Migos, Travis Scott, Skepta, Dizzee Rascal and the cast of Black Panther. His book “Hip Hop Raised Me” was released in 2016.
“To me, Black History Month in the UK is so important because it’s a celebration of Black joy and Black talent and seeks to uplift those voices and celebrate the breadth of Black music,” says Arlo Parks.
“Here’s a collection of music I connect with — some old and some new — created by Black artists,” says Kamal.
“The music in this playlist represents my love for the music I grew up with and my musical journey,” says Alicai Harley. “It’s a few of my favourite dancehall acts infused with some of the most iconic UK legends all mixed up in one. It’s a bit like myself and [my EP] Yard Gyal inna Britain.”
“I moved from Lagos to London with my mum at age 11 and spent my formative years there, so in many ways, Black British has culture shaped and influenced my life. These songs reflect my fondest memories of growing up in the UK and are also some of the tracks I jam to today,” says Tiwa Savage.
OFB is a drill group comprised of members Headie One and RV (although there are many members in the overall collective). OFB, a.k.a. Original Farm Boys, have released numerous mixtapes including 2019’s Frontstreet, which was heralded by Dazed Digital as “one of the best British debuts of the decade.”
Sherelle is a London-based DJ who came up in the independent basement club scene. She has since been named 2019’s BreakThrough DJ Of The Year by Mixmag and DJ Mag, one of Resident Advisor’s 2019 Breaking Through artists and is part of Crack’s Class Of 2019.
“[This is the] best of the UK’s Black, brave and beautiful old skool vs. nu skool,” says Tia Carys.
“For me, this is a playlist full of joy, childhood nostalgia and current classics. Everything is dripping with identity and rhythm. This is what I love and it’s where I come from. I’m so proud to be a part of this country’s vast Black musical heritage and to show you what I love.”
Lava La Rue is a 22-year-old hip-hop artist who fuses soulful boom-bap with spoken word. Her songs address topics of queerness, identity and politics, and she’s part of the collective NiNE8.
TSHA is a London-based producer who has been name-checked in publications like NME, Billboard, DJ Mag and others. Releases include the EPs Flowers and Moonlight.
Yizzy is a grime MC living in the UK. He has released several EPs including This Is Life, S.O.S. and Welcome To Grime Street. He was named runner-up in Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2017.