Jamila Woods Sets the Tone for an All-Night Backyard Bash

The R&B singer and poet provides a chilled-out, funky playlist for your next (or first!) outdoor, overnight hangout.

Jamila Woods is probably best known as a featured vocalist on standout tracks by Chance the Rapper and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but her recent album, “HEAVN,” aims to change that, putting her musical and lyrical talents front and center. Here she is, sharing her musical recommendations for a magical overnight gathering under the stars.


Jamila Woods: For my dinner party, I’m gonna do something a little different. It’s gonna start a little bit later. We’ll be outside under the stars and we’re kind of just there all night. So, this is my dinner party soundtrack.

Phony Ppl – “Why iii Love the Moon”

Whenever I make a playlist, it is to kind of flex my musical knowledge and hoping that someone will ask, “Oh, who is this? I haven’t heard this before.” And I get to tell them.

It’s a love song and it’s also very cosmic, which I like. It’s kind of like Afro-futuristic vibe.

Part of Afro-futurism is just the idea that, because black history, there’s been so many struggles, it’s kind of a radical act to imagine ourselves in the future.

Missy Elliott (feat. Ginuwine) – “Take Away”

I love this song because Missy Elliott is really singing on it. She’s known for dance-able and sing-along-able rap songs, but this song she’s using her voice in a different way. It definitely has a sensuality to it, but it’s just so sweet to me because it’s just saying, “For once in our lifetimes, let’s just have it just be us and not all this superficial stuff.”

This’ll probably be the time when someone grabs someone and like, wants to slow dance on the grass or something. I love this song so much.

Minnie Riperton – “Les Fleur”

This song is called “Les Fleur” by Minnie Riperton. I could really never make a playlist without someone from Chicago.

I love the part in this song where she’s not saying real words. It’s cool to have those moments in your art where maybe you’re speaking to a particular community or maybe you’re just speaking to yourself. Not everything has to be legible to everyone. It’s not exclusionary, it’s more so just providing layers and making the art richer.

Jamila Woods – “Emerald St.”

So, the party is winding down. The sun’s almost coming up. You can kind of hear birds starting to chirp and it’s kind of time to kick everybody out of your house, but you also wanna send them away with something beautiful. And in an act of shameless self-promotion, I will play one more song: “Emerald St.” from my new album.

Emerald St. is the street that I was born on. And I kind of romanticize it. I wrote this song about a dream date that I might have there.