Tag: New Music

Everything You Need to Know About Solange’s New Album When I Get Home

Solange: Photo: Black Planet

As if willed into existence by our collective despair, Solange surprise-released her fourth album, When I Get Home, last night right at the intersection of Black History Month ending and Women’s History Month beginning. Her mind! Like her previous, groundbreaking album A Seat at the Table, Home is a rich tableau of collaboration, black history, and references to her Houston upbringing (the homeward destination implied by the collection’s title), but the album takes even more experimental risks with her sound. Among the mix of artists involved are Gucci Mane, Dev Hynes, Earl Sweatshirt, Cassie and … a viral Atlanta public-access sexpert? Let’s plunge right on in to the world of When I Get Home.

Backstory

It’s not entirely clear how soon after A Seat at the Table Solange broke ground on When I Get Home — she took some time off in 2017 to treat an unspecifiedautonomic disorder — but exactly one year ago, she revealed in a Billboard cover story that she’d been working on new music. She mentioned writing in Laurel Canyon, Topanga Canyon, and Jamaica, and said she was “following” Joni Mitchell for inspiration, sometimes unknowingly: “It has been really wild. The house that I was just recording in [in] Jamaica, I stayed there for four days. And then the last day, the owner was like, ‘You know that mural that’s downstairs in the spare bedroom that the engineer booth is in? Joni Mitchell painted that.”

Later in the year, Solange did another interview for the New York TimesT magazine, where it was reported that her fourth album would “likely arrive into the world fully formed at some mysterious and unexpected moment, like a meteor cratering into the culture” sometime that fall. “But she will not be rushed,” the piece warned. The album would be “still very much in progress until the very end,” and it remained untitled at the time of publication. “I like to be able to tell the story in 13 different ways, then I like to edit,” she said. Though it was unfinished, Solange knew how it would sound, noting that jazz would be at its core — though not exclusively. She said electronic and hip-hop drum and bass elements would also be present with the intention to make it “bang and make your trunk rattle.”

Once again citing Joni as an influence (for “lessons in balancing a career as a musician with the demands of visual creation”), she named other muses: director Busby Berkeley, dancer and choreographer Diane Madden, and Vegas theater, for inspiration for her new live shows; Missy Elliott, for visuals; and Aaliyah, Sun Ra, Rotary Connection, and Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, for sonic cues. The Times wrote, “The record will be warm, she says, fluid and more sensual than her last one.”

Release

Like A Seat at the Table, Solange gave us little time to prepare for When I Get Home, mostly because sharing her art makes her antsy; drawing out the process would only make it worse. (“I have this fear living in my body about releasing work,” she told the Times. “I don’t know any artist that doesn’t feel that before they hit the send button.”) Instead, Solange reemerged on — of all places — BlackPlanet, bringing back from the presumed dead one of the original social-media platforms (predating even Myspace) that was created specifically by and for black people. She launched her own page with lyric excerpts and a dossier of new images, both still and moving, that appear to be pieces of a larger visual project.
They — along with the album’s cover, another striking portrait of Solange — were shot by Max Hirschberger and Alex Marks, creative directed by Cary Fagan, and styled by Kyle Luu and Mecca James-Williams. Images included a pole dancer (Instagram’s @neyon_tree) and scenes from a ranch, with horses and dancers styled in modern cowboy looks. Solange had referenced the latter inspiration in an earlier interview as something she’d recently taken an interest in. “Hundreds and hundreds of people every weekend are getting on horses and trail-riding from Texas to Louisiana,” she told Billboard. “It’s a part of black history you don’t hear about.” She later teased what appears to be a music video on her Instagram, instructing fans to dial the number 281-330-8004 for more clues. It’s the exact same number Mike Jones used in his song “Back Then” (“Mike jones 4 life!” she added in the caption.) She then shared the album’s full 19-song track list, with multiple songs named for geographic locales within Houston. Per her mother, Tina Lawson, it’s a map of Solange’s life: “Binz” (the street where she grew up); “Almeda” (the street where she’d get a shrimp po’boy at There’s No Place Like Nola — or Nolas, for short); “Exit on Scott” (the street where she’d eat fried chicken and beans at Frenchy’s); “Beltway” (take it to get seafood at Pappadeaux); and “S McGregor” (for a “trip down memory lane” on the street where Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad’s father lived and “we jogged on the bayou”).

Collaborators

Though Solange undoubtedly sits at the head of her table, there are others who got a chair. When I Get Home is her most experimental work yet, the result of massive group effort between more than a dozen artists who’ve been in Solange’s orbit for some time. The album features guest verses from Gucci Mane (“My Skin My Logo,” on which Solange also tries her hand at rapping) and Playboi Carti (“Almeda”); Cassie and Abra are the lone featured women, with vocals on “Way to the Show” and “Sound of Rain,” respectively. The rest of the album includes repeat production and vocal contributions from her circle of close friends: Dev Hynes, Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, The-Dream, Pharrell, French artist Chassol (with whom she’s toured), Panda Bear (a.k.a. Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox), Sampha, and Jamire Williams.

Atlanta producer Metro Boomin is also brought into the mix, with production on “Stay Flo” and vocals on “Almeda.” Gio Escobar, the de facto leader of the “post-genre” New York group Standing on the Corner and a close collaborator of Earl Sweatshirt, has multiple production and composition credits, lending his group’s freewheeling, sample-heavy sound as the album’s connective tissue. The Internet’s Steve Lacy also contributed production, which Solange hinted at when she previously told the Times that the two had been “jamming” together. “He’s like, ‘OK, I got these chords.’ ‘Hey, papa, let’s go!’” she said.

While A Seat at the Table was narrated by New Orleans legend Master P and Solange’s personal legends, her parents, this new album doesn’t have a narrator in that sense. But it is chopped up by interludes and snippets that involve Houston’s finest, specifically focusing on Solange’s heroes of the Third Ward, where she grew up. Most of them are samples, but even rap titan Scarface makes an original one-line special appearance for the interlude “Not Screwed!”

“S Mcgregor”
This first interlude samples a clip from the 1987 TV movie Superstars & Their Moms, where Houston’s own Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen recite a poem called “On Status” written by their mother Vivian Ayers-Allen, accompanied by piano: “And now my heart knows no delight. I boarded a train, kissed all goodbye.” The song’s title is a reference to S MacGregor Way in Houston, where the sisters grew up. READ MORE: https://www.vulture.com/2019/03/solanges-when-i-get-home-explainer.html

The Playlist: Cardi B Hits Pay Dirt, and 11 More New Songs

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Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

What’s the opposite of a palate cleanser? Currently, Cardi B is featured on the No. 1 song in the country, Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” It is not her best, nor most apt work. So here comes the palate roughener? “Money” is effectively a stripped-bare version of BlocBoy JB and Drake’s already-bare “Look Alive,” and a de facto lo-fi rejoinder to Cardi B’s steady pop incursions over the past year. The trash talk here is pure, if a little staid: “I like boarding jets, I like morning sex/But nothing in this world that I like more than checks.” Instead, “Money” — the first solo single Cardi B has released since giving birth in July — is notable for its acknowledgment of new-mom problems: “I got a baby, I need some money, I need cheese for my egg.” JON CARAMANICA

 

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V is finally being released

Tha Carter V is coming out this week — but for real this time.

A week after rumors of Lil Wayne’s long-awaited album proved to be false, the rapper himself has announced that the hotly-anticipated project will finally see the light of day on Thursday, his 36th birthday.

In a video posted to YouTube (see above), the five-time Grammy winner shared the news, thanking those who have stuck with him over the years. “I always give y’all all of me, but with this album, I’m giving you more than me,” he said. “This is four, five, six years of work that you’ll be listening to.”

A date for Tha Carter V comes seven years after the Carter IV and four years after it was delayed days before the planned release date due to the dispute between Wayne and his mentor/Cash Money boss Birdman.

Earlier this year, Wayne and Cash Money settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit, and last month, Birdman appeared onstage with Wayne and publicly apologized to the rapper.

kelela just announced a new album full of remixes to brighten up your hump day

Wednesday is the lowest point of the week, the lull between the get up and go you manage to muster on Monday and the long, slow climb to the halcyon days of the weekend. And Wednesday afternoon is truly the lowest point of the lowest day. Luckily, Kelela has saved us by announcing a new album chock full of remixes and startling musical mutations. Thanks, Kelela!

One year on from the release of her iconic debut, Take Me Apart, Kelela is celebrating her anniversary in a way only she knows how, by announcing a revamped, remixed salute to her original record. Take Me A_Part, The Remixes, produced by the artist herself and longtime collaborator Asma Maroof, is due 5 October and features a veritable buffet of delicious guest features, including Princess Nokia, Kaytranada, Junglepussy, CupcaKke, Gaika, Rare Essence, and Ms. Boogie, to name but a few.

“This project has been evolving in my mind since I was deep in recording Take Me Apart”, explains Kelela. “I obsessed over production choices on the album and my only solace was knowing that the songs would be reimagined in this way. So it’s not just a bunch of remixes, it’s how my worldwide community of producers and DJs communicate through difference. It’s also about the camaraderie that we experience when we find the overlaps.”

“The same songs get to exist in these alternate realities which means different people get to have a relationship with the music. Maybe even with each other.”

LMK, Kelela’s breakout banger from Take Me Apart, is fittingly the first song to be released from the new album. Reimagined as bassier, buffer, bossier and generally more tenacious, the track becomes more than a bop, but a ladies-only party full of savage bars and renewed rhythms, with Princess Nokia, Junglepussy, CupcaKke and Ms. Boogie joining in the fun. You can listen to the LMK rework here (your Wednesday afternoon will thank you, trust us).

Eminem’s album ‘Kamikaze’ is on track to break records

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(CNN)Eminem has proven once again that he’s a hit maker.

The rapper’s latest album, “Kamikaze,” is quickly rising to the top of the charts after its surprise release last week.

The Detroit native is currently on track for his album to hit No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The feat would mark Eminem’s ninth No. 1 album, according to Nielsen Music.
“Kamikaze,” produced with his long-time collaborator Dr. Dre, is Eminem’s tenth studio album. Cover art for the 13-track collection features a fighter pilot crashing his aircraft with the words, “FU-2” on the tail.
Eminem get political with a reference to President Trump on the album.
“Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service / to meet in person to see if I really think of hurting him,” he raps on “The Ringer. “Or ask if I’m linked to terrorists / I said, ‘Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'”
This isn’t the first time he’s criticized Trump. At the BET Awards last year, Eminem called the President a “racist grandpa” during a freestyle rap.

Blood Orange Bottles The Spirit Of An Outsider In Soulful Sweetness

Screen Shot 2018-08-28 at 4.40.04 AMWhen pop and R&B producers step out to make their own records, they typically put themselves front and center. Devonté Hynes, who performs under the name Blood Orange, does things differently. Hynes is one of the producers shaping pop music right now. He helped create acclaimed records by Solange Knowles and Carly Rae Jepsen. For his first few releases as Blood Orange, the 32-year-old songwriter focused on Prince-like R&B, but on his fourth album, Negro Swan, Hynes gets more experimental and more personal.

On the album’s opening track, “Orlando,” Hynes sings like he’s sailing without much of a care. But beneath that butterfly lightness, he’s talking about being bullied in high school. That’s a common theme on Negro Swan. Even when the music is pretty and the hooks are insanely grabby, Hynes and his many collaborators are already in the deep end, exploring racial identity, sexual identity, what Hynes calls “black depression” and the experience of being an outsider.

Hynes’ otherness comes through in these songs. He grew up in East London as a queer skater and now lives in New York. He has said that his goal with Negro Swan was to talk about difficult issues without dwelling in negativity. That’s a tricky tone to sustain. He does it by varying the musical palette. Some tracks are lit up with outbreaks of dissonance from his guitar. Others have a lush, ’70s soul sweetness.

The 16-track album, entirely produced by Hynes, involves a large crew of singers and rappers — from A$AP Rocky and Project Pat to Steve Lacy and Amandla Stenberg — and is narrated by author, host and transgender rights activist Janet Mock. On one of the standout tracks, “Hope,” Hynes features singer Tei Shi and the rapper none other than Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Hynes says he was surprised by what the hip-hop mogul added as the song end: “Sometimes I ask myself, like / You know, what is it going to take for me not be afraid / To be loved the way, like, I really wanna be loved?” Hearing the founder of Bad Boy Records talking earnestly about love and acceptance is a head-turner for sure. At times, the flow of the record is interrupted by spoken word interludes like this one. These hit listeners over the head with big takeaways. It’s as though Hynes wants to make sure the themes hit home. He didn’t need to worry. These poised, delicate songs have a way of saying it all.