Blak List Vol 13. The Best of Blak Loud 2023

by Travis De Vries

Yaama! Welcome to the final Blak List article for 2023.

Blak List is Awesome Black’s space to talk about the curation of the Blak Loud playlist that we put together every month for Amazon Music. If you noticed there is a lot of Blak/ Black in that last sentence that is just like the playlist – full of Blak tracks for you to listen to, with a mix of brand new tracks and big moments of First Nations music.

Big thanks to Amazon Music for their continued support of this curation by the Awesome Black team and their continued support for 2024. It’s a privilege for us to work on this project, supporting the First Nations music industry and being able to curate great music for loving audiences. 

This volume of the playlist is split into two parts. The first 30 tracks are Awesome Black’s top 30 tracks of 2023 and then tracks 31-50 are some of the great tunes that have been released in the last month or so (of which there have been some huge moments – some of which made it to the top 30). 

A huge moment for me in my musical appreciation journey was spending time with my Dad each year. Both my mother and father were and are incredibly into music. We grew up with a diverse collection of vinyl with everything from aus punk to early hip hop that would make most collectors jealous. My mum and dad split when I was 5 and I would spend time in school holidays with my dad. We would usually listen to records, go op shopping and ready music magazines; particularly Juice (Aus), Mojo and UNCUT. One of my favourite memories is UNCUT’s annual Best Of compilation album that they would put out. 2003 being a big one for me that I still revisit; it included tracks from WIllard Grant Conspiracy, The Handsome Family (you might know this track from True Detective), Four Tet & The Waterboys.

This was 20 years ago and it’s a music journalist’s Best Of album that still influences me today. I mention this because when Awesome Black were putting together this list and all of our curation for Blak Loud the work that UNCUT, Mojo and Juice do, was kind of my benchmark.  

As I reflect on the diverse sounds, powerful lyrics, and groundbreaking collaborations, it’s clear that 2023 has been a year of musical brilliance within the Blak community. I feel like I’ve said this before… We are in a golden age of Blak music. It feels to me like we are front and center. That we’re recognised as the lifeblood of culture in this country. We’ve seen so much incredible new work this year, from soul-stirring ballads to pulsating beats that echo the heartbeat of our cultures, each track on this Best of Blak Loud 2023 represents a unique chapter in the evolving narrative of First Nations music. 

Let’s celebrate the extraordinary artists who have graced our playlists and left an indelible mark on the world of Blak music. Our top 3 artists are the rotating faceout for the playlist in the app and we’re going to be featuring the artwork on our Instagram page. 

Our favourite track of the year is from new blak hip hop supergroup from Nookie, Dallas Woods and Angus Fields. 3% released their debut single Our People back in October and it has been making waves. 

They’ve been on the road playing shows and doing the work (IYKYK)… These boys are hot, the track is pumping. Hands down our favourite track of the year. It may be too soon to call it but I think this is one of those songs that will be a legacy track in years to come. Congratulations 3%! 

Coming in at No. 2 on our favs is Miss Kaninna with Blak Britney. When this track first dropped, I was like damn. It is still on rotation and I can not help but groove to it. What a strong start from an iconic Blak artist. Things are only going to get bigger. 

Miss Kaninna has since followed up with another track that is at the end of the list. Both bangers. Both could have been on our top 30 but Blak Britney is a landmark song. 

Huge love for Budjerah who has our 3rd favourite track of the year with Therapy. This is a track that I thought I was cursed by for a few weeks because it was playing everytime I would get in my car, but I would then be happy because it was Budjerah. Love everything he is doing and Therapy contains all of it. 


Budjerah also released multiple versions of this track including the collaboration with French artist Nae – definitely check that one out. Budjerah is one of those artists that soars while the rest of us are walking. 

The full list is here – we’re going live on Instagram on Saturday 16th December to talk to the whole top 30. Join us for it!

Awesome Black’s Best of Blak Loud 2023 

  1. 3% – Our People
  2. Miss Kaninna – Blak Britney
  3. Budjerah  – Therapy
  4. Kid Laroi – Kids Are Growing Up
  5. Barkaa – Division
  6. Dean Brady -Falling
  7. South Summit – Just Like You
  8. Jess Mauboy – Right Here, Right Now
  9. Jada Weazel – Hands of Addiction
  10. Royston Noell -Invincible
  11. Kobie Dee Feat. Stan Walker – Father’s Eyes (feat. Stan Walker)
  12. Jem Cassar-Daley – King of Disappointment
  13. Inkabee -Saved by the Bell
  14. KIAN & Becca Hatch – All of Me
  15. Mr Rhodes  – Can’t You Tell
  16. Fred Leon – Yirimi Gundir
  17. The Kid LAROI – Love Again
  18. Bow & Arrow – 7 Forces
  19. Moss & Example – Strictly 4 Tha 
  20. Ziggy Ramo & Alice Skye – Sugar Coated Lies 
  21. Dan Sultan, Julia Stone – Fortress
  22. Bumpy – Waiting Game
  23. Beddy Rays – Rhythms
  24. Busby Marou – Conversation
  25. Selve – Phone Booth
  26. Yirrmal – Love Sweet Love
  27. Djanaba – F.U.
  28. Kuren – Too Fast 
  29. Jacob Ridgeway – I’m Not Coming Home [feat. Mr Rhodes] 
  30. Alf the Great – Time is Gone

As I said earlier, from 31 – 50 are some new tracks that we wanted to make sure get their attention, a few highlights are; 

Flashback, the new single from Jessica Mauboy ahead of her new album coming out in February (can’t wait). 

Thelma Plum’s new track, We Don’t Talk About It. I know people have been waiting for Thelma and it was worth the wait. 

Yung Milla’s Land Down Under which has big anthem vibes – I could definitely see this being a summer breakout and I know he has been doing the yards in the NT. 

The amazingly talented Bumpy with her follow up to her first ep from earlier this year Overdrawn. We’re blessed to have Bumpy in the world at the same time as us. 

Check out the other tracks and let Awesome Black know what your top picks for 2023 were! We want to hear from you. This will be our last article for the year but we’ll be back in January with a special Blak Loud playlist before we head into regular programming in February…

As the curtains close on Blak List’s Best of 2023, on behalf of Awesome we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the incredible First Nations artists who have shared their stories, dreams, and talents with us throughout the year. Your music has been a source of inspiration, a catalyst for change, and a celebration of cultural heritage. The impact of each note, each lyric, and each beat will continue to resonate, echoing the vibrancy of Blak music in our hearts and minds. 

As we look forward to another year of discovery and exploration in the world of Blak music, we carry with us the echoes of these outstanding tracks that have defined 2023. 

Thank you to Amazon Music for supporting this project and spotlighting groundbreaking Blak sounds and voices. Until next year, stay Blak fam.

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