Several artists, including Bun B, Lupe Fiasco, 6LACK and Brittney Spencer, have recorded songs honoring Juneteenth for Apple Music.
Artists from across genres composed new tracks, while others recorded covers for the second annual “Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs” playlist, which will launch Friday on the streaming platform. The playlist comes out more than a week before the annual holiday — also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day — which commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom on June 19.
“Music is the tie that binds our black experience together in the United States and around the world,” said Ebro Darden, global head of hip-hop and R&B at Apple Music. “Being able to create covers and original music with artists from all musical genres is the perfect way to continue to celebrate the black experience and continue our collective work for true freedom.”
The 16-song playlist also includes reggae-dancehall singer Kranium, gospel singer Koryn Hawthorne and Latin rapper-singer Eladio Carrion.
Fiasco said he wanted to take a different approach in creating the original song “Galveston” for the playlist.
“I try to create things that establish emotion and purpose so people not only can feel it, but they can actually do something with it,” the Grammy-winning rapper said. “The usefulness of music is limited, but it all boils down to education and instruction. ‘Galveston’ is about taking Juneteenth, which is normally a celebration of a very specific set of events – black freedom from slavery – and approaching it from a different angle.”
Bun B performs the original track “This is What We Do (June 19)” with Jack Freeman, and Spencer premiered his own song “More Than Perfect.” 6LACK covers the classic “Umi Says” by Mos Def, Hawthorne takes “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful, Kranium does “Revolution” by Dennis Brown, SEB performs “Paranoia” by Chance the Rapper and Alex Isley covers “We Are One », a song by Maze with Frankie Beverly.
“I’m a daughter, I’m a mother, I’m a friend,” said Isley, daughter of Ernie Isley of soul band The Isley Brothers. “So just practice gratitude. I think that’s a big part of Juneteenth: the gratitude and the celebration of who we are and the pride in that and the beauty and the richness of our culture and our power.
Other artists on the playlist include Cautious Clay, Damien Sneed, Denzel Curry, Elena Pinderhughes, Jlin, Moliy and WSTRN.