BHM: 5 black creatives in DNB you need to be aware of

By Jessica McDonald


Black History Month is a reminder to everyone that we should be celebrating black lives and the talents of individuals and collectives who deserve more recognition. Especially in drum and bass (and dance music as a whole), we would not be where we are today without black creatives! Quite often in our industry, we hear people say there aren’t enough black creatives. While this is true, and an ongoing issue to address, there are still many awesome names out there. People just don’t know it.

Here at Elevate, we want to do everything we can to help better educate people and shine some light on talented black creatives within our scene and beyond. It doesn’t matter if they have 10,000 followers or 400, there’s so much talent around, but it often goes under the radar. Maybe they’re not widely known, or potentially they’ve been denied opportunities based on who they are or where they live. To help bolster some meaningful connections going forward, we’ve picked out five black creatives more people need to be aware of. From awesome designers working with top names in the scene to up-and-coming producers, DJs and industry specialists – there are serious talents around.

You might not be familiar with Joksie (a 24-year-old artist and DJ from East London), but you could well have been exposed to some of her incredible work. A gifted artist fascinated by pop-culture and music-inspired art, Joksie has already created work which has been endorsed by names including Dimension, Harriet Jaxxon, Peggy Gou, ZieZie and even Tom Daley. With a love of retro film posters and comic books inspiring her ideas, Joksie sets out to conjure artwork that is both vintage and fresh in its own right. We knew Dimension was a broody character, but Joksie’s work takes this to the next level! Despite working with some huge names, Joksie’s craft is certainly one that not enough people are aware of. But we guarantee once you see her work you’ll keep noticing and appreciating it. With experience running a clothing brand which amounted 90,000 followers on Twitter and recently playing at 9 years of Beastwang supporting heavyweights such as Kanine &  Andy C, the future is bright for Joksie.


 One of the best things about our scene right now is the talented pool of producers breaking through, and MYKOOL is one of them. With a recent feature on Hospital’s Future Symptoms EP with “Self Made” and a string of solid liquid/dancefloor productions, MYKOOL has cropped up as a very exciting producer to work with. But those who are more familiar with the name will be aware the MYKOOL story goes back much further. From self-releasing his debut album Essence in 2016, which showcased a whole range of musical styles, to singles stemming back as far as 2013. It’s about time MYKOOL got some recognition for his graft! With a Jamaican heritage of musical appreciation behind him, and early influences including Pendulum, Metrik and Feint, we’re super excited to hear more from this inspired creative in the near future.

If you’re someone who already knew about MYKOOL, then you will have most likely heard of Lost Child. Two creatives who have worked together on several occasions now – including on “Self Made” and a particularly pertinent single about our struggles over the past 20 months in “Our Scene/Confinement”, MYKOOL and Lost Child are a combination worth keeping an eye on. The latter of those names has gained a reputation as a 4-deck wizard laying down wicked mixes in clubs and on radio, alongside being lauded for his D&B event Unusual. But his production game is starting to pick up too. Lost Child debuted on Pick ‘n’ Mix’s The Black Excellence LP back in 2020, and we’re sure he’s going to be cropping up on various imprints in time to come.

As important as it is to celebrate the talents of creatives from around the scene, it’s equally as important to recognise the people who help make Elevate what it is. TJ is one of these individuals, and the big boss man Friction knows it! As the A&R Assistant for our label, he helps sort out the releases you love hearing. But away from Elevate, TJ has been doing great things for the D&B scene through Pick ‘n’ Mix – the label he started back in 2018. Like most up-and-coming imprints, providing newcomers with a platform to grow has been crucial, but it’s TJ’s motivation to support black artists that has been monumental. Surely you’ve heard about The Black Excellence LP before this feature? If you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat! Filled with incredible black artists from across the scene, it’s a gleaming example of the underrated talents out there. As one of the few black artists involved in running a D&B label, TJ hopes to be an inspiration to young black creatives looking to pursue a career in the industry. Big ups TJ!

Jess McDonald
TJ isn’t the only one who steers the Elevate ship on its course to discovering the best dancefloor D&B around. Jess also plays a crucial role in the direction we take as Elevate’s Label Manager. Whether it was listening to pirate radio using a coat hanger as an aerial at the age of 11, or her experience creating DNBiOKee – a drum and bass hub centred around photography and chats with rave listings – Jess has always had a passion for all things bass. It’s the reason why Friction has worked closely with her over the years, and it’s the drive behind Elevate’s love of finding the best dancefloor releases to share with you lot! As someone who was unable to afford university, and at times operated three jobs at once to keep things afloat, Jess is an example of what you can achieve in this scene with motivation and hard graft. She may be 20 years into her journey, but Jess still loves what she does like it’s day one!

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