Following the release of Beyoncé’s latest single “BREAK MY SOUL,” and Drake’s surprise Honestly, Nevermind album, conversations arose on social media about how these two have “breathed so much life back into [a] genre that had zero Black presence” — which is categorically false.
House and electronic dance music got its early beginnings in underground Chicago and New York club culture through pioneering producers and DJs such as Frankie Knuckles and Larry Lavan. From there, it spread nationally and internationally as many others including Skrillex, Diplo and Kaskade adapted the sound to global success.
Not forgetting instant-classics like Crystal Water’s “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and Queen Latifah’s criminally slept-on house-rap classic, “Come Into My House,” Black artists have already sent the genre into the mainstream from the ‘90s to here in the present with Channel Tres, Austin Millz, and Kaytranada leading the way.
Now, as house and dance music have morphed into other subgenres within itself, BET.com wants to open your mind even further to the genre by listing some other house-influenced projects that you can also be added to your latest playlists.
Vince Staples — Big Fish Theory
Following the release of Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind album, the rapper turned podcaster Joe Budden spoke with Vince Staples about his thoughts recently. Staples said, “Yeah, I did that in 2017, ni***s was on me. That Big Fish Theory, ni***s was mad at that, ‘What’s up with this ni**a?!’”
Probably the most sonically radical entry from the Long Beach MC’s catalog, Big Fish Theory found various influences including house music. There isn’t a better example of that than the Ray J and Kilo Kish-assisted “Love Can Be.”
Azealia Banks — 1991 EP b/w Broke With Expensive Taste
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the problematic singer/rapper who burst on the scene with abrasive jam “212.” However, those who listened to Azealia Banks’s debut EP 1991 and debut album Broke With Expensive Taste understand exactly why her music seemed so forward nearly a decade ago. Besides singing and rapping expertly on tracks like “1991” or “Idle Delilah,” the house beats also influenced her visual aesthetic as well.
Rochelle Jordan — Play With The Changes
Toronto singer Rochelle Jordan released Play With The Changes through TOKiMONSTA’s Young Art label and even collaborated with KLSH, Jimmy Edgar, and Machinedrum (also known for his work with Azealia Banks).
Though the album features Jordan providing some great R&B, tracks like “Dancing Elephants” and “Already” are most definitely suitable for anyone’s house playlist.
Muzi — Interblaktic
South African artist and producer Muzi is known for his take on house called Kwaito which emerged out of Johannesburg during the early ‘90s. Last year’s Interblaktic serves as a shining example of the subgenre.
Between the Kaytranada-assisted “I Know It,” “The Traveller” and album highlight “Zupiter,” Zulu Skywalker himself provides grooves that are out of this world and worth unlimited replays.
Kaytranada — 99.9%
Haitian-Canadian producer and DJ Kaytranada spent his days crafting the masterful 99.9% when he wasn’t lending beats to modern rap greats including Freddie Gibbs and Mobb Deep.
The end result is one of the best dance albums of the 2010s bar none. Though there are more alternative takes on hip hop and R&B, the dance numbers from “Lite Spots” to the Shay Lia-guested “LEAVE ME ALONE” deliver plenty of house quakes.
Black Coffee — Pieces of Me
Black Coffee has a few production spots on Drake’s latest album including “Currents” and “Overdrive,” and it’s easy to understand why. The South African DJ and producer have been creating international dance tracks for more than a decade.
However, he got the ears of tastemakers stateside following the release of 2015’s Pieces of Me. Eventually, Black Coffee would make history at the 2022 Grammys, winning Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for his sixth studio album, Subconsciously.
Dawn Richards — Second Line
From her time under the tutelage of Diddy through Danity Kane and Dirty Money to reigning as the current underground dance queen, Dawn Richards has reinvented herself plenty of times.
Beyond working with contemporary house producers like Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum, she’s proven herself adept as a producer as well. This includes her most recent project Second Line, which has earned over a million streams on Spotify alone.
Ural Garrett is a Los Angeles-based entertainment and tech writer documenting the intersections of pop and digital culture. Follow him at @UralG on Twitter.