African-American Music Appreciation Month 2020
Our spotlighted posts honoring the Black artists that we have covered in our repertoire!
"Ultralight Beam" - Kanye West, Kelly Price, and Chance the Rapper
Soloists: Callie Randall '20, Anne Corigliano '23, Jalen Benjamin '23
Arrangement: Mike Guarino '23 and Nam Vu '23.
In celebration of African-American Music Appreciation Month and in our effort to more frequently appreciate Black artists, we are kicking it off with “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West, Kelly Price, and Chance the Rapper. We are so excited to spotlight such an amazing song from Kanye West’s album, Life of Pablo. Although “Ultralight Beam” was never separately released as a single, it topped music charts and is admired by music critics for its religious message. Aspects of “Ultralight Beam,” like its powerful choral background, are reflective of gospel music, a prominent genre of music largely created and popularized by Black artists. Aside from their singing and rapping, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper further influence the music industry through production, songwriting, and philanthropic work to help provide musical opportunities for the youth of their Chicago communities.
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You" - Lauryn Hill Version
Soloist: Callie Randall '20
Our second post for African-American Music Appreciation Month spotlights the amazing Lauryn Hill and her rendition of the classic song, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” originally by Frankie Valli. Our cover of Lauryn Hill’s version has become a Phantoms’ staple that we love to perform whenever we get the chance! As part of her widely-popular and first solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she uniquely covers the song by infusing her R&B and Hip-Hop artistry into a song from the 1960s. Lauryn Hill began her career with the Fugees, a hip-hop group, and was famed as one of the best female rap artists and awarded a grammy for The Best Rap Album. She later moved to a solo career where she released two albums and won an additional 5 grammys including Album of the Year. Lauryn Hill’s influence within the music industry is exemplified by how well-known her songs are, “Ex Factor,” “Doo Wap (That Thing),” “Everything is Everything,” and “Killing me Softly” to name a few. A wide range of artists have identified Lauryn Hill as one of their inspirations and used samples of her songs within their own including Drake, Cardi B, Beyonce, Adele, Rihanna, and many more. Through her raw talent and musical knowledge, Lauryn Hill added a new layer to the hip-hop genre.