After posting the song “Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, and posting a video teaser, I couldn’t wait for the actual video to be released. These two amazing Black women are among my favorite artists. I’ve loved Erykah Badu since hearing “On & On” on an episode of New York Undercover in 1997. She had me at hello. I saw her in concert in South Florida in 2008; the best concert of my life. I’ve loved Janelle Monae since a friend sent me her “Tightrope” video a few years ago. I’m enthralled with her intelligence, talent, style, fashion and beauty.
The video for “Q.U.E.E.N.” is exquisite. Creative. Amazing visuals. Love the style and the fashion. Incredibly beautiful. I love the limited palette; the black, white, red, shades of grey and gold enthralls.
What really moves me is the combination of the visuals with the powerful lyrics. It’s everything. Some of my favorite lines include:
They call us dirty ‘cuz we break all your rules down…
This specifically makes me think of Black women rejecting controlling images (i.e. Jezebel, Sapphire, mammy) and embracing our full capacity to be dynamic, nuanced individuals, without boundaries and rules meant to control us.
Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.
Obvious as to why I would love this line. I also love Erykah’s line…
Here comes the freedom song, too strong we moving on…
And of course, there’s Janelle’s rap at the end, which I love. My favorite part of it:
Are we a lost generation of our people? Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal. She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel. So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal? They keep us underground working hard for the greedy, but when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy. My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti. Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City. Mixing masterminds like your name Bernie Grundman. Well I’m gonna keep leading like a young Harriet Tubman. You can take my wings but I’m still goin’ fly. And even when you edit me the booty don’t lie.
The line “she who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel” plays in my head over and over and over. So empowering.
I love this song. <3
Slow clap begins now…
If one were to try to label what this is , I would say the extenstion of what George Clinton called “P-Funk”
“The booty don’t lie” is that bottom which if you are in that funk you know all about.
Two wonderful spirits which the music has brought together to move itself forward and usher in “One Nation Under A Groove”.
Q.U.E.E.N. Available on iTunes 4/23!
Blu ft SA-RA & NoLa Darling-N E V E R B E T H E S A M E
I probably post way too much Blu. I will be honest about this that I am border line Stan-esque. Bare with me though, this will be worth it in the end.
A lot of folks wonder what happened to hip-hop? In fact I was just conversing with friends to appropriate the year that “hip-hop died”. The answer was pretty much 1998, that was the year Ms Hill dropped the Mis-Education, The Roots put out Things Fall Apart, Black Star Black on Both Sides, Outkast Aquemini. All of those albums were in the same limelight as say a new A$AP , or Macklemore(hard to believe I am even mentioning these in the same sentence) release. You can see where the mainstream rap aspect of the culture has sadly went in a more industrial commercial route since(Which is just where it is at right now, though Kendrick Lamar might be helping to change this) and has yet to look back.
But of course resistance though futile is always where you will find the heart of anything. So with this slow trunk rattler right here doesn’t fail to provide that which your neck might need a chiropractor visit after the your head will have no choice but to nod along to. To this day I will mark this album as one of the artist prime moments. Having major label money behind him, he went so left-field it was too much for the industrial model to which could not find a way to squeeze a money scheme out of and never was able to get on their assembly line.
Sporadic and almost seeming like he is freestyle in sense, this was a tribute to that which was, but what would continue in the spirit. People who choose to stay in an Era before “hip-hop died” can linger there and miss out on all the creativity that may not be as accessible due to the 400 home recorded emcees out there who are slangin’ their songs everywhere online.
It may “Never be the same” but you will never kill the spirit.
Charles Bradley: Strictly Reserved For You
from the grand old soul man’s second album Victim Of Love which is out today
This is my jam for 2013. This man has a good understanding for life. I love it when music can connect with that which is unseen or heard. This is Soul.
L’Orange - Alone feat. Blu (Official Music Video) (by LOrangeProductions)
When I was in France I had dreams of being a baker. The bread was so amazing every morning that I would purchase at the store that I thought that it would must be such an honor to produce something so good that everyone in your part of town desires and loves. This I believe is what we call an artisan.
When it comes to rap, Blu fits this same profile. Producing the same high-quality art for those of us that value it.
Happy Birthday, Nina Simone! (H/T Felicia Gray!)
If I am to monetary support music nowadays, I would prefer to do so via vinyl. Yes, this isn’t a revolutionary concept as many of the so-called “hipster” crowds have begun this trend as well, before them my parents, and before them my parents parents. I would like to say I fall in line with this more in linage, rather than experimentation. Plus, it’s not like I never have purchased vinyl in the past, just not “new” vinyl.
Anyways, if I am going to begin my “new” collection with anything, it would be this lovely EP by three very clever artist(Blu, Madlib, Med). This song was (f)re(e)leased for back in 2011 off the UCLA release. The unmastered mp3 collection of songs were as fresh as anything else these artist have done, just not the best mixing(if any) was done to the song(nor rest of album) which I have no problem with as long as the musics dope, the sound quality doesn’t concern me.
The feel of this track screams for a vinyl release though. The song has that Cool, not cool which defines, the Cool which just is. A glass of wine, whiskey, or maybe a some tea on a warmer weather late evening with some good company would accompany this track so well, the perfect cool environment.
As the years have progressed in my life, so has my taste for music has as well. Though a huge portion of the background soundtracks in my life have been heavily supported by the genre of music which we have titled Rap, these days it feels as if I can’t identify with a lot the artist are presenting.
This is a sign I believe of accepting maturity, and “adulthood” and some of the ideas that come with those two. So, you will find me listening less to things that are encouraging the opposite, such as songs that reinforce ideas of misogyny, idolatry, patriarchy, racism and such. Mainly because those ideas are limited by a need to control and greed as a result. Where I have chosen to now exist in a place of hope and peace of mind. Both of which are more subversive to the other in the sense that I see whats going on much like Marvin Gaye did, but I am not discouraged.
There is no certain age or state that this happens as we are lead to believe. Understanding the responsibility to yourself, and the community that supports you has no set date.You wake up and choose to be mindful of this, or you don’t. Or you forget and beat yourself up over it, or once again you begin again a new with hope.
So when listening to The Procussions new single featuring Shad and J Kyle Gregory, I find that the tightly laced versus laced between a formidable beat, entail of much of what I wake up wrestling with every day as well as of late. The questions of past, and future that I am trying to allow to exist in their own place, while focusing on the today that is. Not an entirely new concept I know, but a difficult one nonetheless. Especially in society that has taught us to believe that the “now” is more to be treated as a commodity, rather than a state of being.