2010 is shaping up to be the year of good Negro music. By now, the entire world knows that Sade released her latest album “Soldier of Love” last week. An album that was 10 years in the making & well worth the wait!
Interestingly enough, even the hip-hop world has been feeling Sade’s comeback. Rakim recently told “NY Mag:”
“I grew up on soul music, but when my pops introduced me to Sade just before Diamond Life hit, it was a revelation. That voice and her style just took out even the hardest hood at the knees. ‘Smooth Operator’ may have been a smash for everyone worldwide, but that was my track, and you can catch me referencing what she was trying to get across from Paid in Full up to my new album. Being in the biz for about the same amount of time, I respect and try to emulate how she floats above the industry … one of the few that can do things on her own terms, knowing her fans will watch out for her. To this day, she’s one of the artists I can listen to with 100 percent admiration. I can’t wait to get my hands on this album and congratulate her for continuing to build her already iconic place in the world.”
You gotta love that coming from one of the best hip-hop MCs ever.
As I had anticipated, I immediately fell in love with the entire album. And frankly, as far as I’m concerned, Sade just cannot do any wrong. I’d drink this woman’s dirty bath water. I’m that deep in.
“Soldier of Love” follows the musical pattern of the rest of Sade’s releases, so if you’re looking for something wild & unexpected, it’s not here. What you do get is a 10 tracks that take you on an emotional ride of love, loss, triumph & of course sexiness.
The runaway hit is obviously the very strong & sultry “Soldier of Love” but backing that up are “Skin” a very modern smooth reflection of what Sade offers best, “The Moon and the Sky” an intensely sing drama with a sleek Spanish vibe & “The Safest Place’,” which is where you find warmth & love through melody.
If it takes another 10 years to get another album from one of my favorite song birds, I’m OK with that because “Soldier of Love” will get me through that “Long Hard Road.”
On more musical goodness, we also have José James’ 2nd full LP “Blackmagic.” Because I already knew José was the business, I was not tripping when I fell in love with this album upon 1st play.
“Blackmagic” represents the type of music that we need to hear more of on the radio’ it needs to be championed! It’s fresh, to the point, hypnotic & captivatingly sexy. The tempos float between jazz, beat laden R&B & some of that silky stuff your momma used to tell you about.
“New York Times” jazz critic Ben Ratcliff recently opined about José & “Blackmagic:”
“José James is a young American jazz singer who’s gotten most of his reputation making moody, post-D’Angelo R&B in Europe. He has traces of Gil Scott-Heron and Joe Williams in his voice; he can swing hard, murmur, sing ballads and chant cosmic chants. He still hasn’t made the serious jazz record my ear can imagine, but perhaps “Blackmagic” is fresher than that anyway.”
I wish I could pick a favorite from 14 tracks but it would be very difficult to do. Each track builds upon the next until you reach a totally lush eargasm. Fella’s if you need something to make your night to go swell with your boo, pop this album on, hit repeat & the rest will be history. Especially once “Love Conversation” & “No Tellin’” play! I’m so serious!
The last LP that I must mention is Robert Glasper’s 2009 “Double Booked” album. I’m late on this one yes I know, but better late than never. I’ve been a fan of Glasper’s since his last album “In My Element” so I’m not sure how this latest joint went below my radar.
Glasper explains the concept of “Double Booked” as:
“Most people, if they have different bands, they do separate albums,” says Glasper. “But I felt I’d be making more of a statement if I put it all on one joint.” The result, in essence, is a snapshot of Glasper’s life. “This is what I’m dealing with,” he continues. “It’s not like I play jazz but I also play hip-hop now and then. I’m in it, for real, both sides of the spectrum. That’s my life. A lot of people go in stages they might focus on trio for a long time, then they change or whatever. My thing is both, all the time.”
With that said, I now know that “Double Booked” is a must have for the jazz piano enthusiast. This album goes from trio style to soulful experimental jam session while inserting interesting hip-hop elements all in the stroke of a few keys.
The runaway jam on the album is “All Matter” which features a VERY unique emotional vocal performance by soul star Bilal, on jazzier side of things, I’m in love with “Yes I’m Country (And that’s O.K.)” & “Butterfly” prove to be gems than can be played over & over. As a matter of fact, I played the entire album on repeat last Friday & it helped me get through my work day.
Robert Glasper just can’t do any wrong. And no, I would not drink his dirty bath water.
One a single note:
Si*se, one of my favorite Latin bands is making a comeback March 12th with their release “Gold.” In the meantime, they have given a sample of the goodness to come with their single release “This Love.” Totally fucking hot!
Erykah Budu last week released her 1st single (I’m not counting “Jump In The Air” because it sucked) “Window Seat” & I’m not able to get enough of it. It’s classic Badu & it totally has me feenin’. March 30th (New Amerykah pt.2: Return of the Ankh’s release date) cannot get here soon enough for me.
Julie Dexter recently dropped “Transitions,” a new single produced by Zo! This is one of them songs that makes you move, snap your fingers & head bop no matter where you’re listening. There is no word of an album on the horizon but I hope that there is and is along the lines of “Transitions” because this shit is HOT!