It’s hot outside today y’all. I took it upon myself to mow the lawn a few hours ago and had to stop multiple times because I felt like the sun was choking me out. And the lawnmower that I was using kept stopping. Which made it even more of a frustrating experience; I almost left the grass half cut. But since it’s Virgo season, my need to persist through every obstacle is even more heightened than usual, so I pushed through, took a good shower, and now I’m feeling back to my regular 70%, albeit with a headache. On to the music for today!
BANBA (2018) by Ric Wilson
The first thing I listened to during my excursion into the backyard to cut the grass was Ric Wilson’s Banba, a project that I have always been really curious about, after seeing it in the Vinyl Me Please webstore. And it’s a good one! Something that I just want to mention is how hilarious it is to me that I have spent so much time listening to music from people from Chicago (and doing research on them), that I can basically tell a person is from Chicago based on a word or lyric in their song. There’s a line on one of Banba‘s songs – not sure which one because I was cutting the grass lol – where Ric talks about CPS, and my brain automatically went “ding ding ding Chicago! He’s from Chicago!” And I was right lol. My ability to recognize Chicago artists in 5 seconds is now my fun fact for when I have to do icebreakers.
Something that I also thought about a lot while listening to this project is how much I appreciate this kind of happy, joyous music from Chicago that Chance the Rapper kind of ushered into the 2010s. It was a movement that was inspired by other artists who came before him – like Kanye – but it feels like Chance and the folks like Saba and Mick Jenkins kind of helped push that into a new generation. Tobi Lou fits into camp as well.
It makes space for the more heavy-hitting and edgy music from folks like Chief Keef and folks who wanna make something a little bit different. And I think that’s especially important for Black men, where there’s often an expectation for them to make music that proves their toughness or masculinity. Banba is really good – definitely a project I’ll have to revisit.
TO FEEL ALIVE EP (2020) by Kali Uchis
I’ve been listening to Kali Uchis for about five years now, after being introduced to her through her association with Tyler the Creator. I was listening to her more when I found out about her music than I am now, but she’s still someone who has music that I come back to pretty regularly. I remember being in love with her voice the first time that I heard it. Her overall sound had that soft, dreamy vibe to it that I really loved at the time. That and her style and overall energy.
TO FEEL ALIVE EP is super short, it’s only a couple songs, but it’s really classic Kali. The dream pop cloud vibe is there, mixed in with some hip hop production. It reminds me of how much I listened to Por Vida (2015), when it came out, and now I wanna sit in my room, in a dream-induced coma while I listen to “Speed” and “Know What I Want.” I hope we still end up getting the project she was hoping to drop before la Rona happened.
“Over Now” by Calvin Harris and the Weeknd has been on repeat for DAYS! Perfect song. The harmonies on the chorus are amazing; no one asked Abel to give us what he gave us, but he DID anyway! “So Much More” by Xavier Omar was also a blessing to listen to. I was actually put on to his music about 3 or 4 years ago, after visiting a record store with my cousin. The people who owned the store were playing a mix of songs, and one of them caught me trying to figure out what songs were playing, and they pointed out a CD with about 10 songs on it, “How Do You Love Me” by Sango and Xavier Omar was one of the songs on there that I loved. I haven’t listened to Xavier’s newest stuff, so “So Much More” is reminding me to do that soon. “Over Your Head” by Lil Uzi Vert and Future would have potentially been better without Future (lol), but it wasn’t a bad song. I had actually pre-ordered the 7″ for it (for tradezies), but got a refund (glad I did!), so I could spend that money on something I actually wanted – ended up being a part of my Record Store Day money.
“Super Bounce” by Duckwrth and EARTHGANG was the collab I didn’t know I needed. Really smooth and groovy track; I’m gonna revisit it a couple more times, but I can see it becoming a favorite. I also didn’t know I needed Common and Masego on the same track, but “Golden Ticket” with them and Brasstracks has proved that it was a necessity – Masego definitely is the star of that song, though. I haven’t listened to Tobi Lou in a REALLY long time – it’s been about a year I think lol – because I spent so much time listening to his music for my senior thesis. So “Pretty Much” was my first visit into his music since then, and it has reminded me of why I love him so much. It’s not his best track, but I’m here for it. It’s kinda a shame that Michael Christmas hasn’t made it bigger than he has; I don’t know if that was something that he chose for himself; if so, I respect it. If not, I’ll remain irritated about it. “Like That” isn’t the best I’ve heard from him, but it’s not bad at all. I wanted to like “Ain’t Sweet” by Buddy and Matt Ox more, but I had to turn it off when Matt Ox’s part came off. Something was weird about it to me. And “Love in the Morning” by Thutmose, Rema, and R3HAB was decent; not my type of song, but it gives me movie beach scene vibes.
Glad to be inside and away from the death ball in the sky! But also JK, I love the sun; she’s great!
here’s something else you might like…
I was originally going to do a First Listen for Ghostface Killah’s Fishscales (2006) for today, since that’s the record I’ll be receiving for September from Vinyl Me Please. But that album is too LONG, and y’all know I don’t like a long project. So I decided finally listen to Lucky Daye’s Painted (2019), but … Continue reading Bite-sized Album Review #17: Lucky Daye’s ‘Painted’