11.Oct – { Solange > Bey }

 

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Hey there, how are you doing? – if you haven’t listened to Solange’s new album “A Seat the Table” – Then you’re probably an idiot.  That was a bit harsh, but I honestly don’t care…you’re an idiot.

I saw a notification from Tidal that Solange had a new album out, and for anyone that knows me knows that it takes me at least 9 years to listen to new music.  They would also know that I’ve been a Solange stan for awhile…it gives me another chance to put someone over Beyonce (other than Robyn Fenty my Boo-thang)…I went to Tidal and at 11:45pm I started listening and I didn’t stop until it was over.  My soul was singing with her – she touched parts of me that have been screaming about the black experience but calmly and melodically dealt with it.  This one is for us! (and by US I mean black people).

The production is mood-shifting.  Chord progressions are deep and intentional and she is definitely married to the tracks, this can only be explained by the fact she was heavily involved in the production.  This album is like when Erykah first came out and no one knew what to do but shut up and absorb it all.  Let her words sink in and be blessed.

Don’t Touch my Hair” – this video has me mesmorized…I need to call my auntie to get finger-waves too btw….when she was just snappin’ with all those melanin-enriched folks dressed in white, I jumped up and started dancing with her.

In 2013 she started to make this album, and I’m godly grateful that she took her time with it.  She documented her processes and jam sessions in the following video – I always love to see people in their creative processes.

The interludes with her parents, and frikkin MASTER P! – MASTER P of all people.  Just sharing experiences and his mindset towards what he did in the 90s to get his “seat at the table”.   Master P also talks about how he loves her message and how she’s gotten internet bullied and not given her just-do because her sister is Beyonce.

This album is well thought out, well put together and NO joke.

I know Rihanna is going to be mad at me – but this is my album of the year…last couple of years actually.  

Thank you Solange,  

Sincerely, 

Kenneth

9.Jul – { **NEW MUSIC** Black Girl Magic by Shae Loren }

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I’ve known this woman for over 15 years…she’s finishing her doctorate – and I remember when she first started rapping…to hear what she’s doing now is extremely impressive – she epitomizes BLACK GIRL MAGIC…

I’m honored that she calls me her big brother….

Here’s her latest record “BLACK GIRL MAGIC”

BLACK GIRL MAGIC

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you…Shae Loren

Me:  Tell me about “Limeade”

Her: Limeade is a project created by Fredericksburg, Virginia based producer Ayo Jaí. The project is a follow up to his Jaí album, the first compilation that he produced sampling Beyonce’s self titled 2013 album. This project, Limeade, samples her Lemonade album and showcases lyricism from several Fredericksburg, Virginia artists.

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Me:  What influenced you to do this song?

Her: Ntozake Shange inspired me to do this song, Nikki Giovanni inspired me to do this song, Nina Simone, Queen Latifah, Ma Rainey, Bell Hooks, My mother, my mother’s mother, my unborn daughter- every woman in the fiber of my being inspired me to do this song.  I inspired me to do this song. Black girl magic is a celebration of self, it is also a cultural nod to every black woman who ever existed whose specs of melanin are in my skin and whose coils spring from my scalp. In celebrating me I embrace, caress, empower and praise the existence of what I represent- a species of fearless, unapologetic, resilient, loving, nurturing, brave, everlasting creatures. The black woman is God herself.

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Me:  What’s your sickest bar on the record?

Her:  My sickest bar on the record to me is “the universe lives in my pussy if you are not certain I’m fire we don’t match homie”  To me this bar encompasses a lot in a few words. It would be a dissertation if I went into it, but in short I’m saying everything that exists in the world, every atom, every molecule, every flower, every smile, love, worship, spirit and all things in opposition dwells in the place where life begins – the garden of Eden- genisis. And owning that it exists in my divine space gives me full power and control over the universe. I hope every woman can walk with this kind of power. The saying goes “there is power in the pussy” and it always has a highly sexual connotation- thats marginal compared to what the power is really about. It’s not about pleasure it’s about purpose. It’s about understanding that Gods will cannot go forth without it. And If you don’t  believe I have this power and you are a woman,  you can’t believe you have it and we don’t match. Furthermore if you are male and you don’t believe it we can’t be a match because you don’t fully comprehend Gods majesty when you see it.

Me:  Who are your influences and why?

Her:  My mom- she’s the first representatin of God in my life.

Whitney Houston- she helped me to understand the power of Gods anointing as it
pertains to possessing a gift.
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Me:  What did you want to leave your listeners with after hearing this song?
Her:  I want my listeners to be educated, empowered and entertained by every piece of music I create.

23.Sep – { Wondaland’s EEPHUS Blessing and the Reign of the Electric Lady }

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Janelle Monae is better than you.  I felt the need to start this post with making sure you knew that.  And that’s not subjective, that’s just fact.

I was blessed with the chance to go see Wondaland during their EEPHUS tour – I caught the Portland leg (thanks Mia).  Friends knowing people that manage Janelle kind of gets you out of long lines and into VIP with the quickness – and trust me when I tell you that was a blessing because I got off of work and hit the road for a 3 hour drive south to go have my soul fed…and bruh, they brought a buffet.

So I’m sitting in the VIP section and le drink is flowing and the DJ is killing it, playing everything from Electric Relaxation by TCQ to Fetty Wap yodeling “1738” – the energy in the crowd was amazing.  Then it happened, the lights went down and a group of people came on the stage.  We all started screaming and then we heard someone destroying a guitar, this person was none other than Roman GianArthur – they opened the show with a PRINCE cover and everyone in the venue was given an extra-life like we were on Super Mario Bros or something.  During this concert Janelle showcased her band of talent:

  • Roman GianArthur: I truly believe this humble young man was born out of era, but we thank music-jesus that he’s here with us.  His set made me feel like i was a former share-cropper in a juke-joint sippin moonshine that Ezel made from beyond the creek.

 

  • Deep Cotton: Is lovely rock with eccentric soul ..they had me completely charged with their presence and I’m looking forward to their album…

 

  • St. Beauty: These 2 are so gifted – the neo-soul vibe exuded them, but it wasn’t the typical neo sound…very free flowing and chill…i felt like i should have been sipping some malbec while listening to them… “we aint goin nowhere!” (love that song)

  • Jidenna:  DO I REALLY NEED TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THIS LANKY LIGHT-SKINNEDED HOMIE? The message in his music and his presence just makes people happy…love this dude!  He destroyed the concert…

This cast of superheroes is the hottest thing going right now…period.

I want to take a minute to talk about how Wondaland came to Portland and hit the streets and rallied against police brutality and the murder of blacks in America – THEN put on a FREE concert.  That’s right, the EEPHUS tour was a FREE tour…they just filled the venues to capacity and only turned away those that wouldn’t fit in safely.  So…Janelle got her squad together, toured the US for free and also used their platform to speak against social injustice? JANELLE MONAE is better than BEY, she better than RiRi and if you don’t agree then you can shut up and get off of my blog…right nah.

This woman came out wearing her usual black and white, with an outfit that covered everything to her neck, and with grace, she destroyed her set.  My favorite part about the concert was while Deep Cotton was performing a song featuring Jidenna, from the angle I was sitting – I could see Janelle backstage, she walked right to the curtain and stood there with the biggest smile on her face, purely enjoying her artists do what they love.  True artistry.  That evening I became a HUGE Janelle stan and I don’t care what anyone says about it.  I will continue to dance in the most carefree manner to “Electric Lady” in the mornings or when I’m feeling down.  The night ended with them performing what I believe is this generation’s “we shall overcome” – they performed “HELL YOU TALMBOUT” – that was singularly one of the most electrifying moments in my 35 years of living.  My sister and fellow Kennethology blogger, Sydney Charles called me after she attended the concert and tried to convey to me all of the emotion and excitement she had..i heard her, but didn’t really get it.  After attending myself – i get it.  And if you missed it…SORRY –  YOU SUCK…

*****IF YOU’VE NEVER HEARD “HELL YOU TALMBOUT” PLEASE WATCH******

 

19.Aug – { Straight Outta Compton – Short Review }

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*Walks over to the stereo and opens the cassette deck, gently slides Lench Mob tape in…glances over to my big brother Maurice – “All on My Nut Sac” comes on…we violently embrace sacs and begin rapping every single word of the song.  It’s 1992, I am 12 and Maurice is 13 – and we were both very excited to hear what Cube had done since leaving N.W.A.  It mattered to us, not only because we were N.W.A fans, and never really took a side on the whole Cube V. N.W.A beef…but we were Hip-Hop.

The level of nostalgia that surged through my being while watching the brilliance that is “Straight Outta Compton” last weekend, is really hard to put into words.  But what’s even harder to put into words is how great of a job F. Gary Gray and Cube did with lacing this narrative with the events current to that time and how it impacted the group and their music.  Namely, police brutality, racism, and dealing with the Rodney King trial.  The riots and marches that brought national attention, eerily similar to that of Baltimore, Ferguson or any other place that the blacks are tired of being treated less than human.  They revived the emotion and feeling behind the mantra “FTP” – made you yell it at the silverscreen while they were performing it.  This time though, recall of recent events brought forth your own personal energy towards chanting the hook of one of the most controversial Hip-Hop songs every created.  Nothing is ever perfect, so to demand perfection in any bio-based movie would be absurd.  I heard some people rambling about how Snoops character didn’t look like Snoop, or Dre’s character (Corey Hawkins) didn’t look like Dre…..yeah but Corey Hawkins is a graduate of Juilliard, and he nailed the essence of Dre.  Grow up people.

Great Movie, great production, and great job bringing relativity to the narrative.

I give this movie 5 tootsie rolls and a 40oz of Old E.

– Kenneth