If you attended a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), music undoubtedly served as a cornerstone to your campus life experiences. There is probably a list of songs you can run off the top of your head that instantly takes you back to your student center after class, warm days on the quad, or dance breaks between plays on game days. Homecoming season is in full effect this fall, and students and alumni look forward to catching all the “cookout feels” as they hug each other like no time has passed and listen to songs guaranteed to be heard at any event.

In honor of Blavity U Homecoming Week, here’s a  Spotify playlist curated specifically for you. The anthems featured reflect the authenticity of HBCU campus life, and its categories range from the adrenaline-inducing beats featured in step-and-stroll songs to songs that emphasize the standard of Black excellence. Salute to the past, present, and future pioneers!

Blavity U Homecoming Week Playlist

Crime Mob - "Knuck If You Buck"

When you hear the first five seconds of “Knuck If You Buck” followed by a whistle, clear out the area because you are in for a show. This song has been known to bring out all Greek organization members to stroll. 

At football and basketball games, the environment can go from spectators calmly watching the game to suddenly “Knuck If You Buck” playing, and you know what time it is! The visitor and home sections are going toe to toe singing lyrics because everyone thinks their university is the best. Crime Mob brings out the confidence in everyone to stand up, represent, and protect their organization’s legacy and historical contributions.

Meek Mill - "Dreams and Nightmares"

“Dreams and Nightmares” is all about learning how to make something out of nothing and having faith in yourself. It is a struggle most people can relate to regardless of socioeconomic status, and it parallels the principle of grit that our ancestors had to channel to develop these institutions we are proud to attend today. From start to finish of “Dreams and Nightmares,” you will find yourself passionately rapping the lyrics to your friends and surrounding strangers. By the time the hook drops… everyone is energetically jumping around.

Beyonce - "Before I Let Go (Homecoming Edition)"

“Before I Let Go” is a fresh twist on a classic thanks to Queen Bey. The original “Before I Let Go” by Maze with Frankie Beverly was released in 1981 and sparked its contagious capability to joyfully unite Black people.

Along with Beyoncé’s new remix came the confirmation of a new way to do the line dance attached to the song, adding in pauses and claps for effect, which gained attention across campuses nationwide. With this song, you will be looking to put your tailgate plate down and “get in where you fit in” with everyone line dancing.

F.L.Y - "Swag Surfin’"


Few More Days Til I’m Back At THEE Best HBCU In The Country 🐅💙🤍 #THEEILOVE #HBCU #SWAGSURF


“Swag Surfin’” is another song that requires mass audience participation. During the intro, you have roughly a minute to get ready for the high-energy wave that is about to take place. Whether you are a stranger or friend, everyone grabs the person to their left and right and begins to get low, rocking side to side. 

Fantasia - "When I See You"

Nothing is better than when everyone is singing their heart out to Fantasia’s “When I See You” like it’s karaoke night, and then mid-chorus, the DJ stops the music so everyone can hear the crowd harmonizing. If you look around after, everyone’s agreeing as a unit that “we didn’t sound half bad!” and are cheering.

G Herbo - "Rollin"

G Herbo’s influences included artists like Meek Mill, Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, and Lil Wayne, all of whom created HBCU anthem hits. G Herbo follows in their footsteps with “Rollin,” bringing out a “ride or die” energy among friends. When it plays, it’s almost like making a pact to get hype to the song as you lock hands with the person in front of you, rocking back and forth in unison as if the ground is shaking.  

Beenie Man & Future Fambo - "I’m Drinking Rum and Red Bull"


West Indians trying a thing. Taking this one out of the drafts🔥#hbcu #caribbean #westindian #fyp #howard #fypシ

♬ original sound – Slimchunkchunk

It’s not a true HBCU party until we pay homage to the Afro and Caribbean intricate beats that make our culture and music what it is today. The slapping of the arms, legs, and chest was a technique developed by slaves from West Africa since their masters did not permit them to connect or communicate through playing the drums. 

At an HBCU, dancing to Afropop and Dancehall music is more than just a groovy TikTok trend—it’s how we celebrate our pride and resilience. When “I’m Drinking Rum and Red Bull” begins to play at any function, anyone with their national flag handy will start waving it in the air. And not learning how to whine your waist isn’t an option, because you will be pulled to the dance floor to join in the fun!

Though this list is a start to getting any function jumping, it does not stop here! Blavity U’s HBCU Homecoming playlist and week of events demonstrate our dedication to establishing spaces where we can celebrate the music and cultures that shape who we are by emphasizing their impact. Not only can you listen, like, and share our playlist, but please let us know what some of your favorites are by posting our “This or That” graphic on your Instagram and circling your go-to tune. To be featured on our story, tag @blavityu and use the hashtag #HBCUPlaylist.