14 Beats: Radio Issue

Yo! What’s good, Chicago? Welcome to 14 Beats, a weekly playlist curated by yours truly, Aneesah Shealey.

This week, as a part of our Radio Issue, I put together a mix of my favorite radio hits from my childhood. The mix reminds me of refining my dramatics by pouring my heart into a mini-concert while watching shows like BET’s 106 and Park, or singing with my cousins on trips in my uncle’s green Mazda. The playlist is a nostalgic ride through the early 2000s – a perfect time capsule of my youth. I present: 14 Beats: Radio Issue

  • First up is the T-Pain classic “Buy U A Drank” featuring Yung Joc
  • Next is 50 Cent and Nate Dogg’s “21 Questions,” an unusually romantic track coming from 50
  • Third on this week’s playlist is Chingy’s SWV-sampled “Pullin’ Me Back” with Tyrese on the hook
  • Boy band Pretty Ricky’s bumpin’ “On the Hotline” slides in at the fourth spot on the mix
  • Kanye West, Twista, and Jamie Foxx’s absolute heater “Slow Jamz,” an anthem dedicated to ladies who love old school music
  • Jamie Foxx’s smash hit “Unpredictable” with one of my favorite Ludacris features
  • Mario’s Ne-Yo penned track “Let Me Love You,” a timeless love song
  • Ray J and Yung Berg’s “Sexy Can I,” an essential party banger
  • Keyshia Cole’s “Let It Go,” a track that demonstrates Missy Elliott’s production power and features an absolutely stellar verse from Lil’ Kim
  • Trey Songz’s beggin’ ass song “Can’t Help But Wait” glides us into the back portion of the playlist
  • Mary J. Blige’s anthem “Be Without You,” a vocal testament that shows exactly why Blige was crowned as the “queen of hip-hop soul”
  •  Mariah Carey’s beautiful ballad “We Belong Together,” which is also my go-to karaoke song
  • Usher’s slow jam “U Got It Bad” from the iconic album 8701
  • Fantasia’s upbeat “When I See U,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart
  • Lloyd and Lil Wayne’s “You,” which contains a hotly debated lyric within the Black community, is the penultimate song on this week’s playlist
  • We finish off with Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent,” a song dedicated to all the hard-working women out there

Unfortunately, my dear readers,  it’s the end of Black History Month. 14 Beats is lighthearted, but I have a serious message for you. White folks, don’t let the end of this important month be the end of your “activism.” I know that for many, reposting infographics counts as supporting Black people and our community, but I promise you’re only feeding into your white savior complex. We must be active in our activism.

Consider monthly donations, volunteering and engaging with these organizations that support the Black community:

The Mariposa Foundation – a Black and Brown girls’ and women’s empowerment and community center in Caberete, Dominican Republic: https://mariposadrfoundation.org/

Brave Space Alliance – the South Side’s first Black and trans-led LGBTQ+ community center: https://www.bravespacealliance.org/

The TRiiBe – a local news organization that aims to reclaim and reshape the Black narrative in Chicago: https://thetriibe.com/support/

Until next week 14 Beats, where we’ll get into the Women’s History Month mix.


(You can listen to the playlist on here, on Spotify or Apple Music.)

Header image by Jake Runnion