Drop Some Funk on Me: Funk and the Gap Band

Drop Some Funk on Me: Funk and The Gap Band Origins The term funk has a special meaning to African-Americans. It is not only a musical genre; funk encompasses an entire attitude and philosophy unique to the African-American experience. Funk was first used to describe the jazz subgenre of hard bop. It was not until […]

LL Cool J: A Hip-Hop Pioneer

LL Cool J Origin LL Cool J was one of the first solo hip-hop stars. Born James Todd Smith, the rapper started rhyming at the young age of 9. He was inspired by hip-hop acts such as The Treacherous Three and The Sugarhill Gang. LL Cool J signed to Def Jam Records in 1984 as […]

Musical Theater: The Wiz

Background Information The Wiz originally opened on Broadway in 1975. This all-black production was widely successful with its initial seven Tony wins. The cast included large names of the time, including Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Mabel King as Evillene, Dee Dee Bridgewater as Glinda, Ted Ross as the Lion, and Tasha Thomas as Aunt Em. […]

Chill Out with Cool Jazz

Origins of Cool Jazz As a genre, jazz originated in New Orleans as traditional jazz. New Orleans was a breeding ground for jazz because of its aquatic access, extensive cultural heritage, and celebratory freedoms. The marching band celebrations of Congo Square were transformed into traditional jazz through Charles Bolden’s artistic ingenuity. Throughout the 20th century, […]

Timeless: African-American Ingenuity in Classical Preservation

Origin Unlike the previously mentioned genres of African-American music, classical music was not birthed by Black people. Dating back to as early as 500 during the Medieval Times, classical music is known as one of the oldest music genres. Classical music has existed through many Western eras, such as Renaissance (1400-1600), Baroque (1600-1750), Classical (1730-1820), […]

Michael Eric Dyson Interview: The Ugly Truth

Michael Eric Dyson: Breakfast Club Interview (February 2017) Michael Eric Dyson makes very intriguing points in his Breakfast Club Interview. He integrated how prominent racial factors are in popular culture and African-American. Some people like to say how “racism is dead,” but Dyson examines how racial antagonism is instrumental in the reduction of Black success […]

David Baker: Jazz and Classical Extraordinaire

David Baker (December 21, 1931-March 26, 2016) Authors: Amirah Anderson and Khailah Bell   Biography David Baker was a jazz and classical composer and musician. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Baker received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music education from Indiana University. Early on, he had aspirations of performing in a symphony orchestra, but racial […]

The Here and Now of Blues Music

Blues Origins The secular art of the blues originated in the Mississippi Delta as a sister to sacred spirituals. For this reason, early forms of blues music were noted as the Delta Blues. The genre blossomed throughout the black communities in the Southern United States. Blues debuted as a successor to the harmonic structure of […]

The Captivation with Syncopation: An Introduction to Ragtime

Origins “Ragging” was first established with an adornment of rhythmic patterns, originating in cities of the midwest. It first emerged near the end of the 19th century and further gained popularity up until 1920. The genre materialized from the folk blues and marches. Many of the first ragtime artists were illiterate, so the music was […]

Four’s a Party: An Introduction to Jubilee Quartets

  Origins Jubilee quartets emerged near the end of the 19th century and further gained popularity in the start of the 20th century. This genre was instrumental in the augmentation of African-American music. Quartets offered an extension to sacred and secular musical traditions of the era. “Quartet” has often been deemed as a group of four […]

Negro Spirituals and Folk Music

Negro Spiritual and Folk Origins When Africans were enslaved and brought to the New World, not all of their African identity was stripped away. These people were able to bring the intangible aspects of their spirit, one of which was their spirituality and cultural rhythms. These elements blended into what is deemed “the Negro Spiritual” […]

Music Timeline 1918-1928: Khailah Bell

1918-1928 Song Name Artist Year Comments All of No Man’s Land James Reese Europe and Noble Sissle 1919 This song stood out to me because it actually contains vocals. Many of the songs I hear from this era is purely instrumental. The vocals add to the pristine musicality of the instruments. I’m Just Wild About […]

Introductory Post- Khailah Bell

My name is Khailah Bell, a graduating senior Psychology major on the pre-med track from Atlanta, GA. My favorite music genres are 90s and 00s Hip-Hop and R&B.