It’s international women’s day! (I haven’t posted in ages.)
Short one this time, with just a few artists I’ve been listening to who also happen to be part of the sisterhood!
1) Ella Mai – Time EP
You might think when listening to this girl that she’s American: the production, the flow and general R&B sound that we don’t really hear coming out of the UK. However, listen to the end of Switch Sider- the first off the EP release and you can hear a distinctly south London accent as she laments the wrongdoings of her previous love interest.
She Don’t Ft. Ty Dollar$ign is the lead on this release and for a reason. It’s a break up song. A song to scorn you ex. Ladies, we’ve all been there! Mai doesn’t hold back as she expertly moves between smooth vocals to a rap-like performance throughout the song. She reminds us of times we’ve felt irrelevant/replaceable/taken for granted and has produced an anthemic song that basically says ‘f*ck you…you’ll never find anyone who does it like me’ which is empowering to say the least!
2) Jorja Smith – Blue Lights
At only 18 years old, Smith is new onto the scene, yet displays some great songwriting/storytelling talent. Melancholic and eerie, the track opens with synth sounds in minor key, which in my head triggered images of a dark dreary night on a dodgy inner city estate and the goings on that happen there. Smith tells the tale of the thoughts that go through ones head when you hear police sirens and describes what she wants the blue lights to be: ‘strobe lights, fairy lights…not blue flashing lights…’
I instantly thought of Dizzee Rascal’s Sirens single (released waaaay back in 2007) that documents gritty urban life in London for young black men ‘…I can hear the sirens coming/better run when you hear the sirens coming…’ and Smith pays homage to that in the outro to the song, as Dylan’s classic tune is mixed in with Jorja’s own vocals.
3) Mabel – Know Me Better
Now if this song doesn’t get stick in your head, you have special powers! Daughter of Neneh Cherry, this girl was destined to have talent from the womb! Not only is she gorgeous (don’t let this detract from her talent though) but she’s got so much potential! She first came onto my radar in November with the release of a video for My Boy My Town (how this didn’t get more traction I don’t know and now I’ve revisited the video and all the comments say ‘Adele brought me here’!’) which is a great soulful pop song with a video that isn’t too fussy.
4) Rihanna – Work ft. Drake and basically all of ANTI
Now I wasn’t going to include this because it’s an obvious choice. I can’t tell you how enormously happy I felt when I heard this song. (+ Drake now a member of BBK who else excited to see where this goes?He got the tattoo so I think they had to let him in) Those opening lines…
Dry! …Me a desert him
Nuh time to have you lurking
Him ah go act like he nuh like it
You know I dealt with you the nicest
Nuh body touch me you nuh righteous
Nuh badda, text me in a crisis
So, Rih is going back to the Island and singing in Patois. I think a lot of people forget that not only is Rihannablack but she is from Barbados. Yep, not America, but the Caribbean! A different culture with its own customs and language. Having grown up in a family where my dad’s side speak Patois on a regular and being able to understand (most) of what they say (let’s get this right, Patois in real life is a lot faster/casual/less enunciated), I was so happy to hear this being brought into the ‘mainstream’. Baby Rih Rih is basically showing how proud she is to be a part of this culture. So when people dismissed it as gibberish, I was pretty annoyed and angry at people’s ignorance – but not really surprised.
I could write an essay about cultural appripriation and white fragility based on recent events (I probably will…keep your eyes peeled) which is why I initially wasn’t going to include this track but I had to. And that video/THOSE videos!! Someone get me a bum length weave and take me to a dancehall night where I can wine till my back goes! FIYAH!
Happy International women’s day. Don’t let the patriarchy get you down! Big up Toni Morrison whose kept me going through February. It’s my aim to read all of her novels and works. She is SUCH a great writer!
l8rs readers xoxox