– THE PEACEFUL PROTEST –
In LEGACY! LEGACY! Jamila Woods has released a timely and important album documenting a history of black empowerment.
Each track is dedicated to a different revolutionary and tells their stories in mostly autobiographical terms.
So, MILES was inspired by tales of how the great trumpeter Davis would speak softly in meetings so white executives would have to lean in and how he would often turn his back to white audiences as if to say “I’m not here to play for you.”
Similarly, MUDDY starts with the lyrics, “Motherfuckers won’t shut up” after the bluesman Waters’ alleged response to a question about why he took up the electric guitar (because people were talking too loud in bars to hear him).
And so it is with BASQUIAT, a track that seethes and writhes with suppressed anger, the frantic drums and bass line signposting painter Jean-Michel’s frustrations at being asked what makes him angry; an invasion into his personal space – an attempt to uncover the source of his muse – as Basquiat saw it.
But where the track really elevates itself above the album’s others is through sheer virtue of having the inimitable, irrepressible life-force of “Saba” Tahj Malik Chandler guesting on it. The organic aesthetic of his instrumentation – like the best moments of Woods’ own back catalogue (think of the track HEAVN) – works perfectly under the angsty refrains of “Are you mad? Yes, I’m mad! Why you mad? I don’t fucking know!”
And alongside Woods’ silky-smooth tones, he provides a dichotomy of the sweet and sour that the famously contrarian painter himself would be proud of.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –