Last year, as part of Billboard’s Black History Month celebration, we asked Black artists spanning all genres to compile unique playlists exclusive to Billboard’s Spotify account. Everyone from Normani and Khalid to DJ Premier and Rapsody shared tracks that represented their love for the culture across the diaspora — from childhood favorites to songs that make them feel free. We continue the celebration in 2020, with Terrace Martin sharing his soundtrack today.
“What black history means to me is the history of the world. In my world, everything begins with a black man and a black women,” Martin tells Billboard. “I feel everybody pushing a real line of equality and love should be spotlighted, and I would like to have our voices heard more going forward.”
The Los Angeles native, whose music fuses jazz and hip-hop, breaks down the decisions behind some of the key tracks he chose for the playlist:
1. James Brown, “I’m Black and I’m Proud”
“This was a powerful song, it means a lot, it stood for self-pride, standing tall and being black.”
2. John Coltrane, “In a Sentimental Mood”
“It feels like a warm musical hug.”
3. NWA, “F–k Tha Police”
“Every time I turn on the news that’s what I feel consistently.”
4. Faith Evans, “You Gets No Love”
“The song always makes me want to dance in the saddest moments.”
5. Kendrick Lamar, “These Walls”
“We all have secrets — [there is] no need to judge each other.”
6. Terrace Martin, “Valdez Off Crenshaw”
“The vibe feels like rolling down Crenshaw Blvd. on a Sunday afternoon in the spring or summer time.”
Martin recently released his latest album Terrace Martin’s Gray Area – Live at the JammJam, which features audio from live artist performances, including Kamasi Washington, Ben Wendel, Ronald Bruner Jr., Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, Paul Cornish, and Joshua Crumbly.
Check out his new video for “Gray Area” as well as the Black History Month playlist — that also includes Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But A G’Thang” (both aren’t available on Spotify) — below.