Pride month is in full swing, and WBRU is here to celebrate with some of 2019’s most prideful tracks.
The beginning of June means the inception of summer and Pride month. The year 2019 has brought additional visibility to queer artists, and music as a form of protest and representation has been especially important. But continued harm to the LGBTQ+ community in the form of homophobic politicians and hate crimes cannot go unnoticed. To inspire hope and perseverance, here are some summer songs by queer artists to add to your Pride playlist.
First on the list is “Headcase” ft. Hayley Kiyoko by Kailee Morgue. One might say Morgue and Kiyoko were destined to work together. Morgue contacted Kiyoko — the famed “Lesbian Jesus” — via Instagram DM. Morgue is very open about having wanted another openly queer woman on the track, and clearly Kiyoko was the perfect fit. The two pair together beautifully for the song’s angsty, manic pixie dream girl energy. Released in March of this year, the upbeat swing to this song is ideal for summer days and Pride parades.
“EARFQUAKE” by Tyler the Creator is arguably one of the most popular songs on his album IGOR, and for good reason. The song is as vibrant as the colorful suits and blonde wig that Tyler sports in the music video. Tyler has made extreme evolutionary strides since his album Flower Boy just two years ago, and this song encapsulates that development. The lyrical simplicity is underscored by rolling medley of powerful instrumentals and vocal skill that leaves you hypnotized before the song reaches it sudden end.
Lizzo graced pop music this year by releasing Cuz I Love You in April, and “Tempo,” which features Missy Elliot, is a must-listen-to track. Featuring a bumping bass line and self-exalting lyrics, this song perfectly encapsulates Lizzo’s sultry, fun style. Not to mention, Lizzo has consistently used her platform to uplift other marginalized identities, tweeting “black trans women need to be protected & prioritized. We ain’t free till we ALL free…I don’t take my allyship lightly.” This track — and the rest of the album — are essential Pride jams.
Next is Steve Lacy’s “N Side.” This song, which appears on Lacy’s most recent album, Apollo XXI, is perfect for a drive down the highway with the windows rolled down. The smooth jazz tones provide a seductive backdrop throughout the four-minute song, allowing the listener to focus on the lyrics. These are poignant, as Lacy reveals his vulnerability in a spoken interlude: “Uh, hey baby/um I know I keep asking this/I’d just really like to know if/You feel the same way about me as I feel about you.” The nervous approach to navigating feelings is a sentiment many people, of all sexualities, can relate to.
Like “N Side,” “Baby Boy” and “Mississippi” by Kevin Abstract (self-proclaimed power bottom) also navigate the inception of a new relationship — albeit a little more bluntly. Abstract has long been open about his sexuality. “Mississippi,” off his most recent album, ARIZONA BABY, in many ways feels like 3 and a half minutes of finding the right way to ask a boy out. Abstract finally decides on a clear and concise “Do you wanna be my boyfriend?” In all his music, Abstract continually normalizes queerness and queer affection without focusing only on coming out or social acceptance. Instead he focuses on feelings, in “Baby Boy” singing about the universal infatuation one can have for a crush or a partner. “But when I close my eyes/I think about you every time.”
Not much needs to be said about the Chicago rapper KC Ortiz’s most recent single, “Dream Warrior,” other than that it goes hard. Her lyrics highlight her incredible wit. She cites Missy Elliot as one of her biggest inspirations and the correlation is obvious. The song came out only eight days after her album, “Dollar Drinks,” which can get anyone hype.
Finally, be sure to check out “THE BEAT” by Providence local N.I.N.I.E 3:30. She released the song on SoundCloud about three months ago. In the studio and out, she engages the community, saying that making music is her way of giving back and making a difference. Her ability to engage Rhode Island is clear, as she made an appearance last weekend at PVD Fest and had everyone in the audience dancing along. Her next tracks are sure to be just as much of a hit.