Artists Who Define Afrofuturism In Music: Sun Ra, Flying Lotus, Janelle Monae, Shabaka Hutchings & More
Sun Ra and his Sun Ra Archestra perform in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1978

Photo: Leni Sinclair/Getty Images


Artists Who Define Afrofuturism In Music: Sun Ra, Flying Lotus, Janelle Monae, Shabaka Hutchings & More

Afrofuturism — the "intersection of imagination, technology, the future and liberation" centered on the African diaspora — includes a history of classics and contemporary visionaries. Explore some of the musicians behind this ever-evolving genre.

GRAMMYs/Oct 18, 2022 - 01:46 pm

Web3, cryptocurrency, NFTs — these were all imaginative ideas that appeared in lyrics from OutKast and Shabazz Palaces way before they became trending topics. Ideas that stem from an innate love that Black culture has with science fiction and world-building. If you YouTube Goodie Mobb’s "Cell Therapy," you’ll watch them highlight concerns about the technology that has now become your Face ID on your mobile device.

All of these concepts originates from Afrofuturism, a belief coined by critic Mark Dery in 1994’s
Black to the Future, and combines elements of astral jazz, Black American sci-fi, and psychedelic hip-hop into an imaginative, alternative vision of tomorrow. Rooted in exploring the otherworldliness that exists in Black artistry, Afrofuturism is directly responsible for Black Panther’s global success, and how artists like FKA twigs and THEESatisfaction were able to breakthrough in a crowded soundscape.

Culturally, Afrofuturism, as argued by author Ytasha L. Womack, is a "cultural and artistic practice that goes back to ancient African griot traditions and Egyptian astronomy," even describing it as" the intersection between Black culture, technology, liberation, and the imagination, with some mysticism thrown in, too." As Afrofuturism has become more visible and championed in pop culture, Afrofuturistic music offers a hopeful vision to a community whose existence has long been marginalized and ignored by mainstream gatekeepers.

This list champions the artists and creatives who have defined and iterated on Afrofuturism, inviting exploration of this rich sonic universe.

Sun Ra

Sun Ra is and will forever be a legend. Influenced by his Afrocentric spiritualism, Ra’s music is imbued with a powerful energy that levitated listeners to new galaxies, taking them on sonic voyages, while exploring themes that related (and released them from) to the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Ra’s imagination was unparalleled and his music, which dominated spaces from the mid-1950s until his death, made him a svengali of symbolism, imagery, and sound. With his Arkestra, Ra blended ancient Egyptian mythology, the aspirations of the Black community, and multidimensional expression that continues to have significant impact. And even with his spirit transitioned onto another plane, The Sun Ra Arkestra remains active, performing under the leadership of veteran Ra sideman Marshall Allen.

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu, a Queen Mother who defies description, ushered in a higher level of consciousness in R&B. Unapologetically Black and an effortless communicator, Badu spoke to the needs of Black women and the community as a whole.

Badu’s visual aesthetic — innovative music videos, remixed hip-hop fashion, and shaman-esque live performances — balanced our real-life, near-dystopian reality with the hope that the Black woman is not only the Alpha-and-Omega but the key to saving our world. 

As Baduizm came into being in 1997, just as Mark Dery’s theories were taking shape, the two symbiotic pairings would open the door for new languages and practices. Through her music and presence, Badu pushed R&B forward in a freer and more eccentric way.

Shabaka Hutchings

The much-acclaimed jazz musician and bandleader, Shabaka Hutchings, says a lot in his music and if listening closely enough then you’re welcomed to already be in the know.

Hutchings, alongside his bands Sons of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming, not only adopts Sun Ra and Afrofuturism into his work but are also genuine fans of the genre. From reading N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy to using messages that are squarely from a Black POV, Hutchings is a masterful innovator whose sharp social critique asks the necessary questions that could create a better future.

Betty Davis

In the vast realm of Blackness, which typifies Afrofuturism, there was an irreverent goddess and funk pioneer who averted simplistic viewpoints in favor of commingling contrasts, paradoxes and presumed oppositions. Betty Davis was her name and her broad, theatrical form of visual and musical storytelling has been adapted by the likes of the aforementioned Erykah Badu and new genre stars like Durand Bernarr.

With songs rooted in describing the Black working-class women’s experiences in street culture, she never bit her tongue. The cover of her 1974 album, They Say I’m Different, exemplifies this greatly, as she was photographed in a space-age outfit, and forever demonstrated how magically surreal she truly was.

George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic

There have been many who have embraced the funk, but none — other than its architect James Brown — have used it to totally rewrite the rules of music history. George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic directly addressed stigmas and taboos attached to race, gender, class and sexuality, incorporating  theatrics that impressed young artists like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar.

More than any other funk collective at the time, the group experimented with Afrofuturism. Their Mothership mirrored Sun Ra’s own plan for Black people to escape a racist planet, departing for a utopia that existed elsewhere in space. With funkier-than-a-mug characters like Dr. Funkenstein and Star Child, as well as avant garde players like Bootsy Collins — Clinton’s Afrofuturist funk reflected a "backward and forward" vision that is still being clamored for.

Janelle Monáe

A multifaceted phenomenon and serious force on the stage and screen, Janelle Monáe has gone from a recluse singer-songwriter under the Bad Boy label to a trailblazer for inclusionary rights in the LGBTQ+ community and an ASCAP Vanguard recipient.

Monáe has used Afrofuturism on concept albums like
Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) to her first full-length studio album, The ArchAndroid to Dirty Computer. By elaborating on funk’s theatrical nature and using the love of artificial intelligence, non-human lifeforms, and other worlds as a form of storytelling, Monáe differentiates herself among other Afrofuturists as a"free-ass-motherf—ker" and griot worth keeping on repeat.

Flying Lotus

Afrofuturism is a label that usually gets slapped on Flying Lotus, the Los Angeles, California native, but not one that normally sticks. The man born Steven Ellison was always known as being left-of-center, but in 2008, he delved into sci-fi as a way of processing grief around his mother’s terminal illness.

On "Galaxy in Janaki," an impressionistic space opera, he employed sounds recorded from the monitors and respirators that kept his mother alive. That effort grew into celebrated works like Cosmogramma, Until the Quiet Comes, and 2015’s GRAMMY-nominated ode to limbo, You’re Dead. A mad scientist who is as inventive as his lineage — his great aunt and uncle are Alice and John Coltrane — FlyLo proves to be deft at crafting emotion without using many words at all.\

Grace Jones

For years, Grace Jones has been more than a supermodel, more than a diva, and more than what any person can handle. The subversive Jamaican-born multihyphenate has always been ahead, forcing many to reframe how Black women were defined. Not overtly feminine or masculine, Jones' appearance and performance played with being non-binary at a time when only David Bowie was engaging with futurity with such ease.

The now 74-year-old artist still uses disruptions in her work. With her tenth album, 2008’s Hurricane, she delved into sonic landscapes with Tricky) with much more success than more of her "alternative" contemporaries, making her live experience one never to miss.


Those two dope boyz in a Cadillac have always been futuristic and plain ole’ funky. Before André 3000 and Big Boi became immortal legends, OutKast was the strangely cool outlier in the East Coast-West Coast-dominated rap landscape. Along with the Dungeon Family, Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, and a host of other legendary producers — the Mighty O changed how the culture regarded southern hip-hop. They definitely had something to say, and their messages are still being felt.

Billed as ATLiens, the duo channeled the imagination of George Clinton, the force of Rakim and KRS-One, and the effortless cool that led to audio revolutions all beneath the Mason-Dixon line. With themes such as knowledge of self, revolution, and dream-walking — OutKast might not have been the Afrofuturists that the culture expected, but surely were the ones hip-hop needed.

Shabazz Palaces

Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire are Shabazz Palaces, an atmospheric, bassed-out duo that comes from rap music’s id. Less interested in being formulaic, Shabazz Palaces is more about enrichment, offering solutions to one’s problems, embracing Afrofuturism, and emphasizing being socially conscious.

From their style of dress to their visual aesthetic, Ishmael, a former member of
Digable Planets, may come off as plain weird to those who are only into  the scam-raps and crypto-flexing found in today’s chart-topping songs. But this duo is progressive AF, laying down enough jewels for the next generation of hip-hop stars to stand out.

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5 Takeaways From Janelle Monáe’s New Album, 'The Age of Pleasure'
Janelle Monáe

Photo: Mason Rose 


5 Takeaways From Janelle Monáe’s New Album, 'The Age of Pleasure'

On her first album in five years, Janelle Monáe trades a sci-fi world for a lush sense of escape. Out June 9, 'The Age of Pleasure' offers a utopia of sensual and sonic exploration.

GRAMMYs/Jun 9, 2023 - 05:41 pm

Since her 2010 debut album, The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monáe’s work has been grounded in intricacy. 

Whether Monáe is building sci-fi worlds, continuing the Afrofuturism narrative of her Cindi Mayweather character or analyzing the concept of American identity on 2019’s Dirty Computer — which scored a nomination for Album Of The Year at the 2019 GRAMMYs — she tasks listeners with digesting various storylines and concepts. 

Now, Monáe is shaking off all expectations with her fourth studio album, The Age of Pleasure. Released on June 9, the 14-track album takes a more streamlined approach, creating an escape in just over 30 minutes. The artist appears lighter, even more self-assured and quite frankly (as seen with her near-nude promo campaign) ready to get wild.

The Age of Pleasure is Monáe's first album in five years and trades in her previous warnings of AI-driven dystopian futures for a lush paradise, replete with a reggae swing. With warm melodies and lyrics meant for the bedroom (or wherever one enjoys pleasure), the album creates a utopia where all are welcome.

"I think being an artist gets lonely," Monáe told Rolling Stone in May. "Most people don’t understand what’s going on in my brain. Community has been so helpful to me; it’s beautiful that I have a title called The Age of Pleasure because it actually re-centers me. It’s not about an album anymore. I’ve changed my whole f—ing lifestyle." 

​​Throughout its journey of self-exploration, here are five takeaways from Janelle Monáe’s new album, The Age of Pleasure.

Janelle Embraces Sexuality Across The Spectrum

In 2018, Monáe shared that she was pansexual and came out as nonbinary last year (using the pronouns "free-ass motherf—er, they/them, her/she"). Her journey of discovering more about her queer identity (which was alluded to in previous albums, most notably Dirty Computer’s woman empowerment anthem "Pynk") envelopes The Age of Pleasure

"Lipstick Lover" is a hazy, reggae-tinged ode to the queer woman gaze ("I just wanna feel a little tongue, we don't have a long time," Monáe urges), while "The Rush" mimics an orgasm complete with a breathy spoken word by actress Nia Long and a naughty verse from Ghanaian American singer Amaarae. And then there’s "Water Slide," which floods the speakers with barely-concealed innuendos. 

The idea of "guilty pleasure" is completely stripped of guilt. Here, there isn’t shame or taboo surrounding sexual acts or what one identifies as.

She Showcases The Beauty Of The Diaspora

While creating this album, Monáe got inspired through parties hosted on her Wondaland West property in Los Angeles. People from all backgrounds were welcomed, and the album celebrates the joining of the communities. Monáe called upon artists across the diaspora — Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica and the Dirty South — to be part of her utopia. 

Fela Kuti’s son Seun and his band Egypt 80 open the album on "Float," queer icon Grace Jones seduces the ear with the French-speaking "Ooh La La" interlude, Jamaican dancehall legend Sister Nancy provides reggae authenticity "The French 75." The end result shows there is power in creative numbers, as well as sonic commonality across the African diaspora.

Self-Confidence Is At An All-Time High

The artist is completely free lately, from displaying her breasts on red carpets to dancing on bar tops at afterparties. She adores every curve of her body, and that confidence radiates on The Age of Pleasure. It’s best displayed on "Phenomenal," where Monáe and rapper Doechii trade cocky lines atop a deliciously wacky beat that fuses South African amapiano with New York City ballroom culture. "I'm lookin' at a thousand versions of myself and we're all fine as f—," Monáe muses more than once.

She doesn’t want you to forget just how good she looks and wants everyone to feel that same way about themselves. The "I'm young and I'm Black and I'm wild" line on "Haute" is better digested as an affirmation in front of the mirror.

Pleasure Is Meant For Fun In The Sun

Pleasure is best enjoyed in the sweltering heat, so it only makes sense the artist released this album at the brink of summertime. Her "Lipstick Lover" music video is a hedonistic dream, with queer women and femmes enjoying each other’s company (and body parts) at a sweaty, West Coast pool party. 

Album highlight "Only Have Eyes 42" winks at polyamory and its dreamy flip on the Flamingos’ 1959 doo-wop classic is best served with a Red Stripe beer and sand beneath one’s feet. Whether you’re enjoying the lapping waves on a Caribbean island or soaking up the rays in your backyard, The Age of Pleasure is the fuel for your own fiesta.

She Hasn’t Lost The Funk

As the late Prince’s mentee, Janelle Monáe is a master at funk. While she boasts "No I’m not the same" on the album opener, parts of Monáe’s previous sound excitedly peek through.

Her discography is stuffed with dancefloor jams, and The Age of Pleasure keeps the party going with a seamless fusion of rap, R&B and funk. Still, its exploration of new sounds like reggae, dancehall, amapiano and Afrobeats is a thrill. 

From the triumphant horns on "Float" to the electric groove of "Champagne S—", the album is begging for a live rendition. It just so happens that Monáe is embarking on a North American tour. It kicks off on Aug. 30 in Seattle and will keep the good vibes going until Oct. 18 in Inglewood, California.

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15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Janelle Monáe, King Krule, Killer Mike & More
(Clockwise) Kim Petras, Juan Wauters, Amaarae, Janelle Monáe, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Maisie Peters, King Krule, Killer Mike

Photos:  Alberto Tamargo; Xavi Torrent/WireImage; Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for REVOLVE; Rachpoot Bauer-Griffin/GC Image; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images; Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns; Jim Bennett/WireImage; Jim Bennett/Getty Images


15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: Janelle Monáe, King Krule, Killer Mike & More

From highly-anticipated debuts to long-awaited returns, check out 15 albums dropping this June from Kim Petras, Amaarae, Foo Fighters and many more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 2, 2023 - 01:39 pm

June is an important moment in the year, as it brings us Pride Month, Black Music Month and Juneteenth. It also marks the official start of summer, where rising temperatures invite late afternoons enjoying good music — whether it’s outdoors at one of the season’s many festivals or in the comfort of your own home.

As for the good music, this month brings us plenty of new releases by queer artists, like Kim Petras' long-awaited debut, Feed The Beast, and the Aces’ I’ve Loved You For So Long. Black musicians have much on offer in June as well, including Janelle Monáe (who is also queer) The Age of Pleasure, house music DJ and producer Jayda G’s Guy, and Ghana-born singer Amaarae’s Fountain Baby. Last but not least, June also marks the return of both Foo Fighters and Lucinda Williams after life-altering events, and the ultimate release of Bob Dylan’s 2021 concert film soundtrack, Shadow Kingdom.

To inspire you further with their bold artistry and moving stories, compiled a guide to the 15 must-hear albums dropping June 2023. 

Foo Fighters - But Here We Are

Release date: June 2

In dark times, humans often turn to art. Even if they have no answers for what the future holds, the transmuting power of expression reminds us that, sometimes, existing is enough. But Here We Are, Foo Fighters’ 11th studio album, does just that.

After "a year of staggering losses, personal introspection and bittersweet remembrances," as they state in their website  — referring to the sudden loss of longtime drummer, Taylor Hawkins,  and of frontman Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia — they find both grievance and strength in what has been called "the first chapter of the band’s new life."

In support of this change, Foo Fighters have announced over 25 performances across the U.S. and Europe in the upcoming months. But Here We Are drops on June 2, and features ten new tracks, including promotional singles "Rescued," "Under You," "Show Me How," and "The Teacher."

Juan Wauters - Wandering Rebel

Release date: June 2

For most of his life, the Uruguay-born, New York-raised singer Juan Wauters was a rover — never for too long in one place. But as he sings on the upcoming titular track of his new album, Wandering Rebel, "During COVID I discovered/ that I like stability."

In a statement, Wauters reflected about moving back to his home country because of the pandemic, and the personal changes that came with it: "New York was the place I always came back to, but I never really had a 'home.' My parents left Uruguay, their home, when I was young. Now, [in Montevideo], I have a place to come home to, and people that are waiting for me."

The 12 songs on Wandering Rebel are defined as "candid reflections on subjects like career, romantic commitment, mental health, and the personal toll of touring," some of which can be seen through singles "Milanesa al Pan (ft. Zoe Gotusso)" and "Modus Operandi (ft. Frankie Cosmos)." As to not lose sight of his itinerant roots, Wauters will embark on a lengthy U.S. tour starting this month.

Bob Dylan - Shadow Kingdom

Release date: June 2

When the COVID-19 pandemic stalled Bob Dylan’s illustrious Never Ending Tour, he decided to baffle the world with something entirely different.

First released in 2021 as a concert film directed by Alma Har'el, Shadow Kingdom sees Dylan perform 14 tracks from the first half of his career in an acoustic, intimate atmosphere. In the setlist, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" from 1965’s Bringing It All Back Home marks the earliest composition to be featured, while "What Was It You Wanted" from 1989's Oh Mercy is the latest.

With little-to-no prior information, the film originally premiered on livestream platform Veeps, and swiftly disappeared 48 hours after. On June 2, an official soundtrack release will revive the experience for all those who missed it.

Rancid - Tomorrow Never Comes

Release date: June 2

Breaking a six-year absence of new music, California’s boisterous Rancid are back. Tomorrow Never Comes, the band’s tenth album, proves that the verve from one of punk rock’s biggest acts in the mid-1990s is still alive.

Produced by longtime collaborator and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, the record holds 15 tracks, but runs just short of 29 minutes — Rancid’s briefest album yet. But judging by singles "Tomorrow Never Comes," "Don't Make Me Do It," and "Devil in Disguise," quick-paced or not, the quality remains the same.

Right after the release, Rancid will kick off an European tour for the rest of the month, before hitting Canada and a few cities in the U.S. starting September.

The Aces - I’ve Loved You For So Long

Release date: June 2

Pride month celebrations have just gotten the perfect soundtrack: I’ve Loved You For So Long, the Aces’ third studio album, comes out on June 2. 

Preceded by the title track and singles "Girls Make Me Wanna Die," "Always Get This Way," and "Solo," the album marks the Utah quartet’s first release since 2020’s LP Under My Influence. According to a press release, I’ve Loved You For So Long is "rife with songs that celebrate their queer identities, juxtaposed by tracks that reflect on their early relationships with Mormonism."

The 11-track collection is also described as "a nostalgic look back at the formative experiences that shaped who they are as a band today, like pages straight from their diaries that will leave their listeners feeling seen and critics wanting more."

Janelle Monáe - The Age of Pleasure

Release date: June 9

Marking her return to music five years after 2018’s Dirty Computer, the chameleonic singer and actor Janelle Monáe ushers in The Age of Pleasure. Her fourth studio album features 14 tracks, including collaborations from Grace Jones, Amaarae, Seun Kuti, and others.

During an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Monáe said all the songs "were written from such an honest space," with the goal of being "so specific to this Pan-African crowd who are my friends. I want it to be a love letter to the diaspora."

If its two delightful singles "Float" and "Lipstick Lover" are any indication, it looks like Monáe has nailed her target — while also providing us a much-needed new era for the summer.

Amaarae - Fountain Baby

Release date: June 9

"Coming back after so long, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on what I wanted my message to be. Last time it was about confidence, this time it’s about love and faith," said Ghanaian-American singer Amaarae in a statement about her single, "Reckless & Sweet."

The mystifying track gives a taste of her upcoming sophomore album, Fountain Baby, set to release on June 9. Following her acclaimed 2020 debut The Angel You Don’t Know, the album also features last month’s cheeky "Co-Star," and points to an expansion of the singer’s avant-garde Afro-pop sound, as well as a celebration of Black women all over the world.

Jayda G - Guy

Release date: June 9

Canadian producer and DJ Jayda G was only 10 years old when she lost her father, William Richard Guy. However, his memories shaped her life in significant ways, and now she is ready to share them with the world through her upcoming studio album, Guy.

Through a press release, Jayda said that she wanted the album to be "a blend of storytelling, about the African American experience, death, grief, and understanding." The singer also added that "it’s about my dad and his story, and naturally in part my story, too, but it’s also about so many people who wanted more for themselves and went on a search to find that. This album is just so much for people who have been oppressed and who have not had easy lives."

The first single of the project, "Circle Back Around," features archival footage of Jayda and her father — an endearing portrait that ultimately delivers an uplifting message. As she explains further in the press release: "I think it’s just a testament that it’s never too late to look at yourself and try to understand why you are the way you are, and strive to be better. Understanding the Black man’s experience, Black people’s experience in terms of America, and rising above what society tells you you’re supposed to be."

King Krule - Space Heavy

Release date: June 9

British singer King Krule was inspired by "the space between" his London and Liverpool commutes — both places he considers home — to craft Space Heavy, his fourth studio album.

Written throughout 2020 to 2022, the record was produced by Dilip Harris, and recorded alongside bandmates Ignacio Salvadores, George Bass, James Wilson, and Jack Towell. In April, the hazy "Seaforth" was released as the album’s first single.

King Krule, whose real name is Archy Marshall, will soon embark on a summer tour spanning North America, Europe, and the UK. The first stop is in Minneapolis on July 21.

Killer Mike - Michael

Release date: June 16

It’s been more than a decade since Killer Mike released a solo album (2012’s R.A.P. Music), but June brings forward new, exciting material from the Atlanta rapper and member of Run the Jewels. Upcoming LP Michael is said to be his "most autobiographical" work so far, and features 14 tracks that depict "an origin story," according to a statement.

2022 singles "RUN" and "Talkin Dat S—!" are also included in the album, as well as this year’s "Don’t Let The Devil" and "Motherless" — whose two music videos form a short film paying homage to Mike’s late mother, Mama Niecy. The rapper is also set to perform a 19-stop tour in the U.S. this summer.

Home Is Where - the whaler

Release date: June 16

Florida emo band Home Is Where built a reputation for delivering catharsis through their gloomy lyrics and angry melodies. Their upcoming sophomore LP, the whaler, takes that up a notch: It was defined as a project about "getting used to things getting worse" in a press release.

Produced by Jack Shirley and containing 10 interconnected songs, the whaler "paints a bleak picture of a world in an endless state of collapse — of ruined utopias and desperate people faking normalcy — [but] there’s a humanity-affirming undercurrent throughout that screams to break free."

Ahead of the release, the band shared the lead single "yes! yes! a thousand times yes!," and is currently gearing up for a U.S. tour through the East Coast and Midwest in July and the West Coast in September.

Kim Petras - Feed the Beast

Release date: June 23

The much-awaited debut LP of German singer Kim Petras, Feed the Beast, finally has a birth date: June 23. After struggling with the leaking and eventual scrapping of would-have-been album Problématique, Petras compiled 15 tracks for this new effort — including last year’s mega hit "Unholy" featuring Sam Smith, which earned them both a GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

In an interview with Vice, the singer said Feed the Beast marks "a transition from being an independent artist to being at a major label now. Spearheaded by singles "If Jesus Was a Rockstar," "Brrr," and lead single "Alone" featuring Nicki Minaj, Petras will celebrate the release with a performance at NBC’s TODAY Citi Concert Series, as well as live sets at Governor’s Ball in NYC and Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas.

Lunice - OPEN

Release date: June 23

Described as a project that "focuses on the natural human ability and behavior of intuition, instinct, openness, flexibility, and adaptation," and also as "a bizarre ride through the Montreal underground," OPEN is the sophomore album by Canadian producer and TNGHT member, Lunice.

Following up his 2017 acclaimed solo debut, CCCLX, the new record aims to be even more dynamic, with every track conceived to be performed live. Featuring collaborations with Cali Cartier, Zach Zoya, Yuki Dreams Again, DAGR and GRAMMY-winning producer DRTWRK, OPEN drops on June 23.

"No Commas," the pulsating first single off the project, sets the mood to the upcoming folly. "This track is the result of multiple natural occurrences where the melody, drums, and vocal performance coincidentally fit with each other in the moment of creation without any prior motive behind it," Lunice said in a statement. "I find these instinctual moments of creativity beautiful and inspiring."

Maisie Peters - The Good Witch

Release date: June 23

British singer/songwriter Maisie Peters calls herself The Good Witch — the "keeper of the keys and the holder of the cards" to her own universe, soon on display through her upcoming second album.

Written last year while she was on tour, Peters explains that its 15 tracks represent a time when she was "searching for balance between career highs and personal lows," a quality that can be seen through "Body Better," the album’s acutely honest lead single. 

"This is my heart and soul, my blood on the page, the collection of stories that I’ve managed to capture in the past year," said Peters. "A true chronicle of my life in recent history, it is my own twisted version of a breakup album and it all draws upon the same couple of months’ worth of experiences and inspirations." 

The singer is also set to tour 27 cities in the U.S. and Canada from August to October.

Lucinda Williams - Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart

Release date: June 30

Lucinda Williams is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean getting duller. The Americana legend just celebrated her 70th birthday in January — and the last three years of her life have been some of the most tumultuous yet.

In 2020, her Nashville home was damaged by a tornado. Then, came the COVID-19 pandemic. And lastly, a stroke that affected her ability to play the guitar, therefore changing the way she writes songs. But Williams didn’t let any of that stop her — Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart, her 15th studio album, comes out on June 30, and shows that she’s only getting better.

The project already has three singles out: "New York Comeback," "Stolen Moments," and "Where the Song Will Find Me," and counts on backing vocals from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Angel Olsen.

Listen To's LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 Playlist Featuring Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Frank Ocean, Omar Apollo & More

Listen To's LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 Playlist Featuring Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Frank Ocean, Omar Apollo & More
(L-R, clockwise): Hayley Kiyoko, Ricky Martin, Brandi Carlile, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Orville Peck, Omar Apollo

Photo: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images, Gustavo Garcia Villa


Listen To's LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 Playlist Featuring Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Frank Ocean, Omar Apollo & More

Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 with a 50-song playlist that spans genres and generations, honoring trailblazing artists and allies including George Michael, Miley Cyrus, Orville Peck, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande and many more.

GRAMMYs/Jun 1, 2023 - 04:21 pm

In the past year, artists in the LGBTQIA+ community have continued to create change and make history — specifically, GRAMMY history. Last November, Liniker became the first trans artist to win a Latin GRAMMY Award when she took home Best MPB Album for Indigo Borboleta Anil; three months later, Sam Smith and Kim Petras became the first nonbinary and trans artists, respectively, to win the GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their sinful collab "Unholy."

Just those two feats alone prove that the LGBTQIA+ community is making more and more of an impact every year. So this Pride Month, celebrates those strides with a playlist of hits and timeless classics that are driving conversations around equality and fairness for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Below, take a listen to 50 songs by artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — including "Unholy" and Liniker's "Baby 95" — on Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora.

GRAMMY Rewind: Erykah Badu Thanks Stevie Wonder & George Clinton For Influencing 'Baduizm' In 1998
Erykah Badu at the 1998 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Erykah Badu Thanks Stevie Wonder & George Clinton For Influencing 'Baduizm' In 1998

After 'Baduizm' won Best R&B Album at the 1998 GRAMMYs, Erykah Badu dedicated her golden gramophone to two of her idols — as well as the rising musicians who often go unheard.

GRAMMYs/May 5, 2023 - 05:00 pm

The world first fell in love with Erykah Badu in 1997, when she released her debut studio album, Baduizm. Helmed by hits "On & On," "Next Lifetime" and "Appletree," Badu skyrocketed to stardom as Baduizm made its way to the top of the charts — and helped her snag four GRAMMY nominations at the 1998 GRAMMYs, including Best New Artist.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we revisit one of Badu's two wins from that night, when Baduizm won Best R&B Album. (Badu also won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "On & On.")

"Woo!" Badu cheered at the start of her acceptance speech. "I represent the artists who are often unheard, and this is for us."

Badu went on to praise her "dream team" at her record label, Kedar Entertainment, her family, and the people who assisted in the making of Baduizm — including the two artists who influenced the album, George Clinton and Stevie Wonder.

Before heading off the stage, she closed out her speech by acknowledging two more special people in her life: God and her fans. "I would like to thank the creator for giving me this gift. I thank my fans. Peace!" Badu said.

Press play on the video above to watch Erykah Badu's entire Best R&B Album acceptance speech at the 1998 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to for more episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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