My Favorite Music Tracks for Writing

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Photo by Corey Blaz ( Unsplash Images )

Photo by Corey Blaz (Unsplash Images)

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
— Maya Angelou

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Writing is a passion

While I write, I like to get fired up by listening to passionate music. I recently realized that I love slow R&B or something that has a nice rhythm. It's a big change over the music I use to write to in the past- "relaxing" classical music. I don't know if it's a connection to the books, but the feelings I get listing to these artists (mostly Black women) makes my body move and my fingers move even faster. If I can get away from my highly disruptive little ones, I turn on Spotify and I jam out. Here are my top 5 albums to listen to while I'm writing. (Note: they all have explicit tracks.)


Still Sleep by The Skins

I first heard their stuff on an episode of the Chris Gethard show and was blown away. Wild style and reminiscent of a big band punk sound. I looked them up, followed them on social media and can't go a day without their music. Two Black women lead this band- one of them is the bassist and one is the lead vocalist. They rock out and mellow me out with their Black girl angst. "Bury Me" from this album is my favorite. 

Ctrl by SZA

I'm really new to her music but she is everywhere, recently collaborating with Kendrick Lamar on "All the Stars" for the Black Panther soundtrack. Her sound is smooth and at first, I thought it would be too slow for me to get into. But she is so relaxing. Her vocal mixes are beautiful and her lyrics are steeped in Back womanhood. It's the newest music I've added to my writing playlist. "20 Something" is my favorite, a beautiful acoustic track about growing up. 

Highly Flammable by Nadia Rose

Do you like rap? Do you like cheeky women? Then Nadia is for you. I loved her impressive, one-shot video for her single "Skwod" (pronounced "Squad"). It's got a great drum-line beat and hard not to dance to. She could be a younger Missy Eliot or Lil' Kim. Her stuff is more fluff but gets me operating. 

For All We Know by NAO

I'm sorry, I was jamming just a little too hard. Nao has this funky sound that reminds me of a mix of soft R&B with Soul Train moves. It's thanks to the synth sounds she's fond of. I'm fond of it too. Try to listen to "Inhale Exhale" without sashaying around your bedroom. 

The Hamilton Mixtape by Various Artist

The Hamilton phenomenon created my Lin-Manual Mirada was remixed and expanded into the Hamilton Mixtape. It features artists like Sia, The Roots, Ashanti, Jill Scott, John Legend, and more. It's a nice mix of Rap, Hip-Hop, Pop, and R&B. The musical element is stripped away and I'm completely okay with this. These versions of "It's Quiet Uptown" and "Satisfied" are my favorites. 




What music do you use to get your writing juices flowing? Has it changed it over time or with your various writing projects? Let me know in the comments. 

Antoinette Scully Headshot by Sara MacFarlane

About the Author

Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to fill your bookshelves with beloved authors of the African Diaspora. When she's not hanging out on line, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.