Check out my favorite albums of 2019.
Obuxum – Re-birth
Released August 2019.
Obuxum, the Somali-Canadian producer and beat maker is no exception to the belief that music is to be felt. With their release of Re-Birth in late summer, (after the April release of H.E.R, another impactful collection of sound) they’ve provided us a beat-tape soundtrack right into the stars. Re-birth includes excerpts from speeches, and 2 features (yourhomienaomi and Furozh) blending together to complete a high energy electronic sound that will have you moving your body, all throughout the album. The song titles alone send messages of uplift (Reclaiming My D!mn Self, Black Girls Flying, Take Up Space), of ancestral pride [Ayeeyo’s Intro, Does Your Blood Not Move], self affirming confidence and forward movement. From start to finish, its a ride on Obuxum’s sonic mothership. If you’ve slipped up and the ship left you, play it and make sure to amplify it to the max when you do.
One word to describe Re-Birth: INTERGALACTIC <3
@ 1:14:55 catch Obuxum’s last set of 2019, featuring songs from Re-Birth. Performed in Boston, MA (+the only femme on the line-up) for Nightworks’ 2nd Birthday celebration on 12/07.
_ Open to your support on their bandcamp: https://obuxum.bandcamp.com
Ari Lenox – Shea Butter Baby
Released May 2019 with Dreamville/Interscope Records,
Ari Lennox takes us through many feels with Shea Butter Baby. With this record, we hear tunes about contemplating quickies, being broke, having a new space and yummy kinks. What sets Ari apart is her all encompassing voice; full of soul and an airy direction. Complementing Ari’s voice, both so strong yet graceful are even more classic ingredients within the production portion. Produced by several members of the Dreamville label, we’re blessed with gifts like a refreshing saxophone feature (Masego on Up Late), a smooth sampling of a lovely little number on Whipped Cream (Cameo – Two of Us *1978) and writing credits including the Roy Ayers on the last track: Static. The undeniable influences of past grooves takes the feel way back while keeping us grounded in the now with Ari’s ability to write in a way that all can relate to in one form or another.
One word to describe Shea Butter Baby is: SEXY <3
Mononeon – Living the Best and Worst Life at the Same Damn Time
Released September 2019.
Memphis born bassist and vocalist Mononeon (formerly Polyneon) made a valuable offering to us this year. Mononeon comes prepackaged with his own personal funk and it translates whenever he plucks his strings. Known for his left-handed, upside down playing style, there’s no room for ordinary. Something about Living The Best feels so extremely personal, sweet and to the point. I’ll go as far to say, listening to this delicious album feels a lot like being let in to a diary as it comes to life with MonoNeon’s touch of sound. Topics on this album take from multifarious aspects of the human condition. A track like “Lifting My Hands To The Sky” is something of an invocation: closing out with “don’t make me lose my mind. I’m trying my best to make it to another day.” A song that touches me is Im A Raggedy B**ch, But My heart is Amazing, like c’mon, talk about affirmations.
This strikes a chord within me! No pun, all truth. This album is full of quotables along with all the audible genius to make you move.
One word: ECLECTIC <3
RAS G – Down To Earth Vol 4
Released June 2019.
California born African Space King, record producer, beat maker and DJ, RAS G passed on July 29 2019. It’s with great honor and lots of love that I introduce Ras’ work.
(photo via factmag.com *Ras G: Studio Tour https://www.factmag.com/2015/01/07/ras-g-studio-tour/)
Down To Earth IV is made up of and held together by the signature smooth, gritty bap that we’ve grown to love, it’s Ras’ style. Although covered in fuzzy stardust, Ras G the Space Warrior created something subterranean with his Down To Earth series. Keeping it nnnasty in ways only Ras could, he called it that ghetto sci-fi. A song like “Mudcloth Lo Rugby” (alluding to the familiar Teddy bear on the album cover, representing Ras G in a Polo Rugby while holding an SP-404) sounds and feels like a Ras stamp. He gave us a Busta Rhymes chop, accompanied by an angelic vocal revisiting throughout the tune. Ahh, all the spacey love feels continue with JuJu Part 2 (the original released in 2010), we’re blessed with a Musiq Soulchild vocal sample added on top of a soothing siren-like sound. Volume 4 is a 13-track addition to the DTE series and the last. Overall, this album feels like a reminder to revel in all that makes us unique, just as Ras G did with his music.
One word: FOREVER<3
Quelle Chris – GUNS
Released March 2019 with Mello Music Group.
Quelle Chris, Detroit native producer, song-writer and rapper, gave us Guns. Guns is a 13-track album, a good portion talks about use of weapons, the impact of environment vs how gun violence can be almost glamorized, through the point of view of a young member of society. Like any Quelle album, Guns has it’s anthem peaces; one of love: You, Me & Nobody Else which features the queen, Jean Grae. One of playful braggadocio, like Mind Ya Bidness
This track really gets me hype, reciting the post-Chorus is all it takes to set my mood on 1000. Even with that energy, Quelle snaps us back into reality at the end of the song with a phrase that repeats throughout the album. The echo of voices slowly let out “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose–“, does it ring a bell? Yeah, famous words by Mr. President himself. Go on, Quelle Chris!
One word: PRESENT<3