The Cookout Playlist: Music Is the Most Important Part of the Celebration (Fight Me)

Illustration: Benjamin Currie (G/O Media)

When it heats up outside and the sun shines on you, making that melanin glow even more, you know it’s officially that time—cookout season.

To celebrate Black Music Month, on every Friday of this month, I will be curating a playlist centered around a particular theme from black culture. The first theme: the cookout.

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Black cookouts are legendary—so legendary that everybody wants an invite (but not everybody gon’ get one). The basic components—meats on the grill (cooked by uncles in sandals); side dishes, like mac-n-cheese and potato salad, labored over by grandmamas and aunties; some drank (in red Solo cups); and games (Spades, dominoes or Uno) where shit talking is just as important as the game being played—are key to a good cookout. But nothing sets off a cookout like good music.

The cookout playlist is vital. It sets the mood for the whole damn day (and sometimes into the night, if done right). Considering the playlist’s importance, it can be a bit tricky curating a playlist that the seasoned and the young can both appreciate. The selection of music has to be like the Crown Royal and apple juice your uncle put you on to—mixed just right.

With all that in mind, this playlist includes some classic “black folk cookout” jams, some remixed hits and a few newer bops that will keep the cookout going all day and all night long.

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About the author

Kenneth Kyrell

Kenneth Kyrell is a DJ, co-host of "CURATED: The Creative’s Podcast" and media personality for "Studio 225 Live With Kenneth Kyrell" on Stationhead Radio, and embodies the definition of a true Pisces.