Black Women Who Rock

Black Women Who Rock
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 21, 2009

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Shingai Shoniwa, the phenomenal frontwoman of the U.K. punk-rock trio The Noisettes, arrives stateside today with the U.S. debut of their sophomore album, “Wild Young Hearts.” Toning down her allegiance to uncontrollable outbursts of awesome, Shoniwa digs more into blues, soul and pop. But don’t think anything is watered down. After first listen, expect to be bewitched, awed, and transported. You can thank us later.
by Cori Murray

Hear This: “Saturday Night”
Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts (Bonus Track Version) - Saturday Night

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Six years ago, Fefe Dobson was a 15-year-old pop artist who had what most artists want: a major record deal. But when this Canadian’s sophomore album was filled more with teenage angst and confusion, the album never saw the light of day. Now on her own and recording music more in her vein, she’s ready to rock.

Hear This: “I Want You”
Fefe Dobson - I Want You - Single - I Want You

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If you don’t know Santigold by now, you must certainly know her music, which went commercial—literally. Her songs “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Creator” provided the soundtrack to Bud Light Lime, HBO’s “Entourage” and Ford Flex. The former punk artist even appeared in ads for Converse. But that didn’t hurt her street cred: Jay-Z took the opening line from her song “Shove It” and made a summer hit with “Brooklyn We Go Hard.”

Hear This: “Lights Out”
Santigold - Santigold - Lights Out

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With her out of this world “Metropolis” EP, Janelle Monáe wanted to launch listeners into “cybersoul.” She did just that by mixing the freedom of Andre 3000, the funk of Parliament and the boldness of Grace Jones.

Hear This: “Many Moons”
Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Fantastic Edition) - Many Moons

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Although her music leans more towards R&B/pop than punk, Estelle’s look and attitude is pure rock star chic. This Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is readying for another U.S. hit, as she continues prepping for her sophomore album, “New London,” for a late November release.

Hear This: “Pretty Please (Love Me)”
Estelle - Shine - Pretty Please (Love Me) [feat. Cee-Lo]

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Once married to Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp, Joi released critically acclaimed albums but has yet to find true chart success. But to her hard-core fans—including at one time Madonna and Raphael Saadiq—Joi’s still a star. We wait patiently for the follow-up to 2006’s southern-dipped sass album, “Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb.”

Hear This: “I’m So Famous”
Joi - Tennessee Slim is the Bomb - I'm So Famous

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Solange worked hard to step out of big sis’s shadow, and her last album, “SoL-Angel & the Hadley St. Dreams” proved she was bold, brave and brash—all the right stuff for a budding rock star. Solange continues to push boundaries, whether sporting an unexpected (and glamorous) cut-close do or wearing fashion-forward outfits, and we’re loving every minute of it.

Hear This: “Cosmic Journey”
Solange & Bilal - Sol-Angel & the Hadley St. Dreams - Cosmic Journey

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At first listen, Melanie Fiona reminds you of what it must have been like the first time anybody heard Tina Turner sing. Melanie has that same edge, soul, and guts that fills a room. And if her first single, “Give It to Me Right,” is a testament to this Canadian artist’s talent, then we’re floored.

Hear This: “Give It to Me Right”
Melanie Fiona - The Bridge - Give It to Me Right

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Another U.K. import, thecocknbullkid’s (née Anita Blay) music doesn’t reflect her Ghanian ancestry. Instead, she channels her East London roots for an eclectic smash of punk and pop on her debut EP, “Querelle.”

Hear This: “Kiss Kiss Kill”
Thecocknbullkid - Querelle - EP - Kiss Kiss Kill

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Supergroups come and go but we’re hooked on the trio formed by Res, Talib Kweli and Graph Nobel. Blending their unique styles—Res’s bittersweet R&B, Talib’s sophisticated hip-hop, and Graph’s soulful rock—there’s nothing stationary about their sound. This music makes you move.

Hear This: “Black Snake Moan”
Idle Warship - Black Snake Moan - Single - Black Snake Moan

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