Thanks to a prodigious work ethic and co-signs from Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Tree, and The O’My’s (all of whom have featured her on their tracks), soul singer Lili K has become something like the unofficial voice of Chicago hip-hop. After three EPs that have generated a progressively louder buzz, on April 21 Chi-Town label Freshly Baked Records will release her debut LP Ruby that combines her love for hip-hop with a retro-flavored sonic sensibility, giving her ample justification for borrowing Tree’s “soul trap” tag.
While getting ready for a hometown show with Sidewalk Chalk this Saturday, Lili put together a playlist of songs she likes to dance to at home.
“Just The Two of Us” - Grover Washington Jr.
“I’ve been in love with this song since high school. This also falls into my air-saxophone impression playlist.”
“What’s Going On” - Marvin Gaye
“A classic. The subject matter is as relevant as ever, and this song has always glimmered as a beautiful expression of love overcoming hate and inequality.”
“Alright” - Ledisi
“THE PERFECT SONG to listen to when you’re in a negative place, or when you’re struggling. It has a feel good groove and it forces the listener to let positivity in.”
“Grocery List” - Sidewalk Chalk
“These guys have been an influence of mine since I first heard them at the age of 18, and it’s crazy I’m now able to call them friends. Just listen—they’re stupid good.”
“How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?” - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
“Sharon Jones is a queen. Her live performances with The Dap Kings are insane, and listening to their entire discography will transport you back in time to the golden era of soul.”
“Look Around The Corner” - Quantic & Alice Russell
“This song (the whole album actually) is a regular go-to when I’m making dinner at home. It has a calming essence about it, yet still makes you want to dance.”
“The Door” - D’Angelo
“The simplicity of the instrumentation and lyrics make this song even more powerful. And my head will not stop bobbing back and forth.”
“Ah Yeah” - Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, Robert Glasper
“The lyrics ‘I think beauty’s overrated, ‘cause that’s something anyone can be’ and ‘Cause I’ve learned in this life, you gotta be with someone you like’ floored me when I first heard them. Musiq Soulchild has always been a word master—while stating things so plainly. And Glasper’s keys throughout are pure magic.”
“Precious” - Esperanza Spalding
“This is my feminism anthem. And it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
“Slow Dance” - John Legend
“John Legend’s voice is awe-inspiring, no matter what he’s singing. But this joint has always felt so good to me. We’re so distracted by the outside world, we sometimes forget the importance of that deep connection with the one we love. This song encourages reigniting the flame with a slow dance.”
“Ain’t That Easy” - D’Angelo
“I know, another Black Messiah song. But let’s be honest—can you really have too many D’Angelo songs on a playlist? NEVER.”