We Out Here: The New Summer Playlist for 2021

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After the pandemic prison of 2020, it may be too soon for the summer of 2021 to be an all-out party, but some signs of normalcy seem to be back in effect. And with that, here’s the summer “WE BACK OUTSIDE” playlist that represents all the joy, love, and Blackness we crave right now.

  1. Doja Cat & SZA – “Kiss Me More”
  2. Megan Thee Stallion & Lil Durk – “Movie”
  3. Saweetie & Doja Cat – “Best Friend”

Megan and Durk make the whole world feel like Atlanta, while Saweetie and Dojo Cat have created a genuine, top-down, driver’s-seat-leaning-into-the-back-seat, Black car-ride anthem.

  1. Anderson.Paak & Bruno Mars – “Leave the Door Open”
  2. Drake – “What’s Next”
  3. Digital Underground – “Kiss You Back”

“Kiss You Back” was—and will always be—one of the many timeless, celebrated contributions of the legendary Shock G whose musical genius was more than just his comical invention of the Humpty Dance.

  1. SIR – “Mood”
  2. Janet Jackson – “That’s the Way Loves Goes”
  3. Victoria Monet – “Moment”

Janet’s classic record followed by Victoria Moment is an entire vibe and a sensual combination that feels like being at the cookout and not being able to tell who’s the mama and who’s the grown daughter.

  1. Earth, Wind & Fire – “Can’t Hide Love”
  2. Cardi B – “Up”
  3. Saweetie – “Back to the Streets”

Yes, any Earth, Wind & Fire track is sure to create an instant two-step with you, your parents, cousins, aunt, and that overdressed uncle who always has a story about way back in the day.

  1. Lil Baby – “On Me”
  2. 2Pac – “I Get Around”
  3. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil Wayne – “Love U Better”

Lil Baby provides the confidence to do outdoor activities as the world opens back up, and “I Get Around” (produced by Shock G) just keeps getting better with time—like all things in Black life.

For the African cookout, let’s warm up our hearts to the Amapiano base from South Africa to set the mood. Now proceed with caution because there is something about that base drop that snatches the soul. It also just so happens that Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa are dropping the top Amapiano songs so…

  1.  “Hello” – Kabza De Small Ft DJ Maphorisa
  2.  “Woza” — Mr JazziQ, Boohle, Kabza De Small & Lady Du
  3.  “Akulakeki” — Samthing Soweto, Sha Sha, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small
  4.  “Windek” — Cabo Snoop

“Windek” is a special bonus from Mozambique’s Kuduro because this song had the entire continent jumping in 2011!

After heating things up with the southern bass, let us season it with some East African spice. The beauty of the East African sound is that it’s a blend of Arabian, reggaetón, Congolese, and Dancehall genres combine with local sounds. (P.S. This is my region, so I have to represent!)

  1.  “Shamra Shamra” — Joefes, Mejja, Mbuzi Gang 
  2.  “Cheche” – Zuchu ft Diamond Platnumz
  3.  “Kiboko” – Masauti
  4.  “Suzanna” — Sauti Sol
  5.  “Pull Up” — Eddy Kenzo

Afrobeats eeeh! Afrobeats aaah! Contrary to popular belief, not all African pop music is Afrobeats. Afrobeats is specific to Nigeria but has spread across the continent and the world. To the untrained ear the Ghanaian and Nigerian tunes may sound alike, but they differ with Ghana’s sound called Highlife!

  1.  “Ojuelegba” – Wizkid (This is a classic!)
  2.  “Skelewu” – Davido (This is another classic!)
  3.  “Dumebi” — Rema
  4.  “Gbona” — Burna Boy
  5.  “No Fugazy” – Sarkodie
  6.  “Crazy” — Shatta Wale

Can’t forget French West and Central Africa! First of all, let us talk about Ndombolo from Congo. With songs that can be anywhere from three to 15 minutes, Ndombolo is the continental version of soul and funk music with greats such as Koffi Olomide and Fally Ipupa dominating the charts. Not to mention the high energy and fast rhythms of Coupé-décalé from Côte d’Ivoire!

  1.  “Loi” – Koffi Olomide (This song had all the aunties and uncles turnt at parties)
  2.  “Coupe´ Bibamba” — Awilo Longomba (Just press play and see the reaction)
  3.  “Ecole” — Fally Ipupa
  4.  “Gbobolor” — DJ Arafat
  5.  “Ye Dja” — Serge Beynaud

Where our Islanders at? From Dancehall to Soca to Kompa to Bachata and beyond!

  1.  “Mood Gouyad” – Dee End, Alex Ckj, Oscar
  2.  “I Don’t Care” — Sweet Micky
  3.  “Vibes Cyah Done” — Machel Montano (**This song will never get old) 
  4.  “Dumpling Remix” — Stylo G, Spice, Sean Paul 
  5.  “Toast” — Koffee
  6.  “Rebellion” — Joe Arroyo, La Verdad
  7.  “Bachata En Fukuoka” — Juan Luis Guerra

Oh, and the diaspora in Europe is reppin’ hard!

  1.  “Djadja” – Aya Nakamura
  2.  “Va Dire a Ton Ex” – Dadju
  3.  “Forest Gump” — Loski
  4.  “16 Shots” — Stefflon Don

We still have a hard road ahead, but that’s the beauty of Black joy—we multitask! We can find the happy even in the middle of “aw, hell nah!” So, be safe, but get it in. And as the temperature goes up, know that it’s about to go down!

Check out the playlist on Spotify.

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