Black History: 25 of the Most Important African-American Artists of the Last 25 Years


You know them, you love them, and, most importantly, you respect them. They’re some of the most important African-American artists ever—and, without them, there’s a pretty good chance that this magazine (and many others like it!) probably wouldn’t exist. Over the course of the last 25 years, we’ve seen thousands and thousands of different artists come and go, from the one-hit wonders of the world to those who put together consistent, though not spectacular, careers. But these 25 artists were different. Their music touched our lives, changed the way we thought about things, and ultimately made history.

With all of that in mind, we proudly present this gallery of 25 of the most important African-American artists of the last 25 years, in no particular order. There were plenty of people who could have made this list—and plenty who, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut—so, if you think we forgot anyone, drop us a line in the comments section and let us know! Now, let’s make some history.

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