Coheed and Cambria is a four man band that consists of guitarist/vocalists Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard, and Zach Cooper on the bass. Sanchez is the lead singer and also one of the primary songwriters. The group is renowned for their concept pieces because they’re each tied into one ongoing story, The Amory Wars. The 16-year long conceptual project is a science fiction comic book series, and the brainchild of Sanchez who doubles as an illustrator and writer of the comics.

“We can do two things when confronted with uncomfortable truth,” Canadian American musician Jordan Edward Benjamin told Billboard Magazine. “We can ignore the evidence, gaslight the victims, obfuscate facts and distract the public, or we can try and tackle these issues head-on and demand that systematic failure be met with systematic change. I believe art, and rock ‘n roll, must always side with the latter.” A quick snippet from any of Benjamin’s songs will let you know his mind is made up. ‘grandson,’ as he is affectionately known, decided early on that he would use his artistry to talk about hard truths. His debut EP, A Modern Tragedy vol. 1, conveys these truths with thought-provoking lyrics, genre-blending sounds, electric guitars, heavy metal clangs, unexpected bass drops and one-of-a-kind vocals.

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“What’s most important to me is to be relatable. I don’t want to be out of reach, I want people to know that I am a regular person…I’m not out here to compete with anyone.

I’m going to try to outdo myself every single time.”

-Baj

Introverted, laid back and down to earth, she is the epitome of a “girl next door.” At 5’4 and 125 pounds, the singer/dancer/songwriter is simple and low key, embracing her very own authentic flavor and style.

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There aren’t very many people who have worked with nearly every superstar in hip-hop and R&B, especially during the 90s and early 2000s. However, So So Def  CEO Jermaine Dupri is an exception to the rule. From discovering his own artists like Kris Kross, Usher and Bow Wow, to working with fellow hip-hop heavyweights in the game like Jay-Z and Ludacris, to R&B and Soul royalty group Xscape, Mariah Carey, and the late Aretha Franklin, Jermaine Dupri’s hands have touched hit after hit for nearly 30 years. His name deserves to be mentioned among today’s well-known hip-hop moguls like Diddy,  and Dr. Dre.

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Several artists and educators have taken the route of “edutainment,” as their occupation, meaning they try to educate their audience while also entertaining them. Thirty-one year old, Nigerian-American “inspirational artist,” Tobe Nwigwe takes an intellectual stimulating approach to hip-hop, in an effort to motivate the youth by way of edutainment.

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“He better call Becky with the good hair,” is the infamous line in Beyonce’s 2016 song “Sorry,” off her “Lemonade” album.  What or who is responsible for this straightforward, no nonsense lyric?? You can thank Diana Gordon for the frenzy that ensued behind those words.

Pacific Islanders get virtually no representation in mass media. That number decreases below zero when factoring in queer people, especially transgender people. Hawaiian singer Lina Robins-Tamure represents the Pacific Islander transgender community well and with pride. The 24-year old is not paraded around as the “trans-Hawaiian singer” to be used as a diversity prop because she has genuine talent that can’t be knocked as a form of “affirmative action” simply because she’s representing a marginalized group. Her voice has the silky smoothness of early R&B singers like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Her passion for music pulsates around her from videos to live performances.

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Close your eyes. Imagine that the weather is perfect and you’re in your favorite place with not a care in the world, a moment of pure bliss. That’s what I feel when listening to Eric Bellinger’s acoustic tracks. His vocal range is admirable. When his voice is paired with an acoustic guitar, the two become one and are in perfect harmony.

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Alaya “Lay Lay” High, 11, preps by applying a fresh coat of lip gloss and delivers heat with the confidence of a seasoned rapper. She demonstrates raw talent through viral Instagram videos of her sitting in the front seat of her father’s car, spitting bars over famous beats like BlocBoy JB’s track “Shoot.”

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