This year, Billboard celebrates Black History Month with different playlists dedicated to “Black Love”. We’ve handpicked artists, producers, and songwriters to highlight the songs that best embody the love theme and explain why these records give them that butterfly feel every time. Be on the lookout every Tuesday and Thursday for new playlists from some of your favorite musical names.
Singer-songwriter-producer Leven Kali lending his talents to a host of R&B and hip-hop stars for years. He earned writing and producing credits on Drake’s Billboard 200 mixtape more life, Jazmine Sullivan’s new deluxe version of her Grammy-nominated EP Tales of Heaux and KYLE’s latest album It’s not so bad. He also appeared on Playboi Carti’s critically acclaimed self-titled tape, Maeta’s debut EP habits and the Topaz Jones album Don’t tell your mama.
But when it comes to his solo material, the Dutch-born, California-born artist continues to dive deeper into G-funk basslines that are perfect for cruising down the SoCal coast, mixed in with his neo-soul melodies. sincere and irresistible charisma. . After releasing his 2020 album HIGH TIDEKali is ready to take fans back on a ride with his new single “EEK,” out Friday, February 18, from his upcoming project — and meet them on the road, as he and Col3trane will be supporting KYLE on tour starting next month.
“Black History Month is cool. But we always start with slavery. Black children would grow up with much more confidence and pride having a connection to the traditions, music and spirituality of Africa before slavery,” Kali said. Billboard. “There is royalty and wisdom in our blood. All other minorities have a homeland to connect to, but we have lost the connection between African Americans and Africa. Uncool.”
“I also like the idea of Black Futures Month,” he adds, which Ye has been promoting recently.
His Black History Month playlist mixes the reassuringly reassuring melodies of India.Arie and D’Angelo, with the dazed and amused bars of Future, and The Neptunes’ take on a Sade classic. “These are some of my favorite love songs. Good love, bad love, self love, family love, God’s love. It’s all love. The music is love,” he says.
Below, Kali dives into each track on her playlist in her own words:
1. D’Angelo, “Okay”
Reassure yourself in love. The bass line on this song gets me every time too.
2. Stevie Wonder, “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)”
It still pisses me off to think he was 21 when he did that. It’s a masterpiece, so deep, and the transition from part one to part two is crazy. My mom used to play that a lot in the car.
3. Sade, “By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)”
The feeling in his voice – and the turnaround of The Neptune – is magnificent.
4. India.Arie, “Video”
Song of self-love.
5. Michael Jackson, “Butterflies”
It always felt so dope to me that Michael wanted to come up on a track like this, always evolving his sound.
6. Future, “Rich $ex”
A lot of songs today are about drama and toxicity in love, but on this track he’s about making love, about passion — classic.
7. Mint Condition, “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)”
Lead singer Stokely sings with all his heart and the band goes wild all the time. I like this. Tons of energy, but everything is perfectly arranged.
8. Ye (Kanye West), “Family Business”
Even if they have drama, you must have love for your family.
9. Mrs. Lauryn Hill, “Tell Him”
Everything about this song: Her voice. Words. The harmonies sound like a waterfall.
10. Marvin Gaye, “Is That Enough”
Sounds so good you don’t realize he’s talking about divorce. “Why do I have to pay attorney fees? What a bar.
11. Leon Ware, “Learning to Love You”
I love finding out who worked on my favorite music and connecting those dots. Leon has produced extensively with Marvin Gaye. You’ll hear him right away, his solo music is awesome.
12. Otis Redding, “Try Some Tenderness”
The way this song builds and opens reminds me of how love grows between people. The music shows you how connected R&B and gospel have always been.
Check out Kali’s “Black Love” playlist below.