B.A.D. Staff Highlights of 2021

The team behind Black Artist Database reflect on some of their favourite tracks, albums, articles, mixes, performances and more of the past year.


Mix – rRoxymore for Crack Magazine

I was fortunate enough to have attended this event in November 2019 at Fabric. It was a Hessle Audio curation and on a Sunday (so you know it was real headsy). Hermione better known as rRoxymore entered the booth, and just took us on a two hour journey of high energy, rhythm and percussion. When I saw Crack Magazine upload the live recording in spring this year, as their 400th mix in their series, I honestly had it on repeat non stop for days – and still do – being teleported right back to room 1 at Fabric.

Book/Performance – Assembling a Black Counter Culture by Deforrest Brown Jr

A few months ago, Deforrest invited me down to his live performance and talk, which was based on the findings of his recently released book “Assembling a Black Counter Culture”, and I was mind blown. Deforrest provided a profound exploration of not only the wider historical context of African Americans, but of his own personal ancestral lineage and took us on a journey with performance and sound.

Album – Aquamarine by Ehua

Aquamarine gave us percussion and deep ancestral rhythms and sounds. Celine AKA Ehua, the mastermind behind the masterpiece, delivered one the best albums of the year for me.


LP – S-Mile by Phil Evans

I’ve loved this album since it arrived in the post. Bouncy basslines, swinging percussion, and playful melodies coming together to provide musical sunshine, whatever the weather. A much needed dose of fun in electronic music, and in this year.

Mix – B.A.D.mix 002 by Benk0

Probably shouldn’t be picking our own mix series, but this entry from South London’s Benk0 always bangs. Made me think differently about how certain sounds fit together. Tough to pick one from the group, everyone brought their A game!


Film – Amen Break, LV Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 film by Virgil Abloh

Amen Break was my personal favourite piece of art made this year across any medium or format. ICYMI, it was the short film released in June this year to present the late Virgil Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2022 Louis Vuitton Men’s Collection.

The film was directed by Mahfuz Sultan working with a creative team showcasing Black creativity and imagination from Josh Johnson’s choreography to Ib Kamara’s styling. Kandis Williams was also credited for dramaturgy and as part of the screenplay team. The stunning visual story, narrated by Kai-Isaiah Jamal, is presented by a cast including Issa Perica, Lupe Fiasco and Saul Williams. Unknown T makes a runway appearance. The soundtrack handled by Virgil and his frequent musical director, Benji B, features music from Goldie, Nguzunguzu, GZA and Shabaka Hutchings. 

Rather than leading with my take on it, I wanted to highlight the kind of broad minded collaboration that was a hallmark of Virgil’s work. The film is a beautiful celebration of Black culture on a global stage that serves as a manifesto for cultural and artistic cross-pollination written in samples, breakbeats and garments. It felt like a lightly coded ode to various subcultures including hip hop and club culture. 

We talk a lot about decolonizing spaces, and whilst there is still much work to do, Amen Break is a very special example of doing exactly that, with true depth and finesse. Like so much of Virgil’s work, it inspired me and I’m sure it’ll inspire a lot of other creatives, both Black and otherwise. It should also be a powerful demonstration to traditional European and U.S brands of what can be done when you provide the space and resources for us to share our stories too. 

Joseph [KMRU]

LP – Space 1.8 by Nala Sinephro & Honest Labour by Space Africa

Both of this records are stand outs for me this year! Space Afrika dives deeper into various mosaics and styles in this album, every track a world on it own. Nala Sinephro with Space 1.8, both the title album and favourite 17’ minute track drifting through jazz and ambient.

Article – KMRU: spaces

Well, I think this interview portrait I did with Ableton for Loop explores different perspectives of field recording, spaces and place and its view from a Black artist.


Mix – Bleep – Aho Ssan

Still one of the most forward thinking artists at the moment, with everything Désiré creates either mixes, tracks or shows always leaving a deep sonic reflection. 


Single – Break It Off by PinkPantheress

I first found PinkPantheress when she dropped her song ‘Break It Off’ on TikTok. It quickly became a popular sound and like many others, I instantly become obsessed with her softly sweet vocals and the drum ‘n’ bass/jungle influence in her music. She is giving full nostalgic early 2000s in her sound and steeze which I’m living for right now. I love seeing young Black artists break through a rigid industry in slightly unconventional ways and sharing their authentic talent directly with a community that becomes their fans. Can’t wait to see her IRL when she makes her Australian debut (if miss rona leaves us alone).


Article – Tygapaw – Unapologetically Queer, Black, and Limitless for I Care if You Listen

Around this time last year, I had a chat with Tygapaw for Crack Magazine following the release of their incredible album Get Free. Our conversation heavily centred around the concepts behind the album, queer and Black identity and Tygapaw’s words really resonated with me and truly left me feeling inspired.

I love following their work and their interview with Jasmine Ivanna Espy for I Care If You Listen is another great insight into their journey. In it, they discuss how Tygapaw came to be where they are and the struggles associated with getting there. I like how Tygapaw always keeps it real and I’m continuously inspired by their body of work and story.

Mix – Tygapaw’s Pride 2021 Mix for Apple Music

Another hot tip is the mix they did for Apple Music during Pride. A killer techno mix featuring all Black Trans, Queer, and GNC artists, Tygapaw described it best: “This work is what is necessary to dismantle the kind of gatekeeping that blocks artists like myself and others in our community out of lucrative opportunities to help fund our art and build our community. This mix is about Black Trans, Queer, GNC empowerment.”

Check it out.


Single – Marry U Twice by Charisma

I love this song because it really highlights one of the issues that has peaked during COVID and it’s the issue of domestic violence and emotional abuse among intimate partners. It heightened during these times and a lot have been left hurt and wounded, however, I see the song as a message of hope for settling into something much healthier after healing has been done.