Thursday, February 21, 2008

::New Amerykah listening party::2:20:08::

I like Erykah. Even with her many aesthetic changes and incarnations. Even with the disappointment behind WWU. Even with the 5 year wait for her follow up album and the exorbitant concert ticket prices in the interim. I guess you could say I'm like a faithful ole' hound dog. Harpo beats me and I just keep on comin' back.

Last night, I got the chance to hear the highly-anticipated 5th album from Erykah. She talked a lil bit about the record and it's conception. Jay Electronica was bobbing and weaving through the crowd last night. If you ain't heard about him, Google him. "Eternal Sunshine: The Pledge" is probably one of the most innovative hip-hop cuts I've heard in some time. But back to New's very much a mood record. And as much as folks profess their ambivalence towards the lead single "Honey," it's probably the most commercial thing on the album. My favorite cut so far is "Me." She's also got a duet with my girl Georgia Anne Muldrow called "Master Teacher," which is pretty fly...but I'm sure it will be an acquired taste for most.

The event was held in an art gallery in the Chelsea area called Chapel of the Sacred Mirror. My homegirl and I were tryin to figure out what it was all about. It was strange, to say the least. The featured art was an amalgam of Egyptology, metaphysics, and acupuncture. Seems like the central theme was concerned with the flow of energy, but all the pamphlets we found did little to explain any of it. Anyway, I'm sure the venue was Erykah's idea. It was as weird as she had become over the past 5 years and it suited her persona to a T.

I think she's definitely trying to expand beyond the box she's been put in as far as the "neo soul" and "incense and poetry" stereotypes. New Amerykah, split over the course of 4 albums, will definitely challenge folks conception of Erykah as an artist. The album seems like a throwback to the old jazz fusion records of yesteryear (think Black Jazz and Strata East) while retaining a contemporary feel. Essentially, it's a mind fuck. And I don't think she would have it any other way...

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