Fact of life/non-controversial statement alert: music is universal. It’s basically math you can dance to, so enjoying music is something all humans of all colors, and we’re assuming aliens in the outer cosmos [analyzing our satellite transmissions from the last century like YIKES] appreciate as well. As America continues to grapple with racial injustice, we thought we’d shine our Get Some Magazine spotlight on some of the amazing contributions of black artists in modern-day rock music. Black rock ’n’ rollers have been pivotal to the success of the genre since…well since Chuck Berry invented the damn thing. Thanks to innovators like Jimi Hendrix, and Prince, rock music has evolved into a whole different beast than when “Johnny B. Goode” first rattled speakers in 1958. Of course now, as then, black musicians have been at the forefront of that evolution. So here’s a quick crash course!
From the ashes of Letlive and The Chariot comes Inglewood CA’s unstoppable new champions of social justice, FEVER 333. Like a 21st century RATM, FEVER 333 is a band with a message [or is it a message with a band?]; and they will…be….heard.
Animals As Leaders
Hendrix famously set his guitar ablaze at Woodstock 69’. A fitting gesture given his pyrotechnic guitar playing. Animals As Leaders ringleader Tosin Abasi takes guitar virtuosity to unparalleled new heights. If his guitar ever bursts into flames, it’s because of Abasi’s blazing, nigh incomprehensible skills.
Alabama Shakes was one of the biggest and most acclaimed bands of the past decade. Despite their massive success, Frontwoman Brittany Howard had to put her prized band on hold to release her stunning solo record and continue exploring her role as the voice of a generation.
Death was one of the first punk bands to rock the scene in the 1970s but, as their hit 2012 documentary, A Band Called Death explains, they went on ice for close to 30 years until being reborn in the new millennium. So Death serves as both black punk pioneers and modern-day rock champions.
Blurring the line between hip hop, hardcore, industrial, goth, and straight-up anarchy; Ho99o9 is easily one of the most incendiary bands on the planet right now. Catch them annihilating DIY venues or holding their own alongside rock and hip hop royalty on mainstages near you, Ho99o9 is a phenomenal live act that needs to be seen before they can be fully understood.
Trash Talk are modern-day punk legends. Since the mid-’00s, the band has riveted fans of hardcore, metal, and hip hop worlds alike. They’ve aligned themselves with Deathwish INC, Tyler The Creator’s Odd Future label; and because they’re DIY for life, eventually started their own Trash Talk Collective. Business anecdotes aside, there’s a reason why this band has been the talk of the town for the past decade; it’s because they rule.
Combining indie rock and post-punk with the worlds of gospel and soul; Algiers is a remarkably fresh Atlanta rock band that sounds like everything you’d want a true rock ‘n’ roll experience to encompass.
Easily one of the heaviest bands in the hardcore realm, Jesus Piece’s Aaron Heard possesses one of the loudest voices; amongst a sea of loud angry voices. Watching Heard annihilate concert stages with his incredible energy is truly a sight to behold.
Everyone knows that Ice-T was a rap pioneer. The man put the ‘gangsta’ in gangsta rap. However, not everyone seems to remember that he started a black heavy metal band called Body Count back in 1990. Ice-T along with his partner in [sonic] crime, Ernie C., has ramped Body Count back into high gear since 2014, and the metal world, is a better place for it.
Zeal & Ardor
Black metal, despite the name, is one of the whitest genres of music in existence. It literally started off as a Scandinavian export. The genre is now being transformed by acts like Zeal & Ardor, who incorporate African spirituals into the frenzied noise of old fashioned black metal. The result is all kinds of amazing.
That’s a quick ten! Let’s not forget about:
Gary Clark Jr.
TV On The Radio
the recently deceased but never forgotten, Charles Bradley
Howard Jones era Killswitch Engage
Fire From The Gods
the youngsters in Unlocking The Truth
and a few smaller acts you might have forgotten about like:
Rage Against The Machine
Slash from some band called Guns N’ Roses