Posted in Album Reviews, feminism, music, Uncategorized

WHO RUN THE WORLD? New Releases from Black Women of the Hour:

Hello all, hope you are all well! It’s been a very traumatic month for most people, me included but I hope you are all taking care of yourself. Before we go even further, a friendly reminder that BLACK LIVES MATTER…ALWAYS HAVE…ALWAYS WILL.

This post is dedicated to all the incredible women out there doing their thing and working twice as hard to be considered on the same level as men. The post is specifically highlighting the talent of Black women. I truly believe black women have the hardest ladder to climb sometimes, in music, sports, the corporate world. With sexism and racism against us, sometimes I feel we are always underestimated and overlooked. Today’s post is about all the new music that has come out recently from some incredible black women. There’s always a misconception that female artists have to act or dress certain way to be noticed. Each women in this post represent different aspects of womanhood in their own unique ways. Hopefully the different women in this post prove that you can be anything you want to as long as you are unapologetically yourself.

Have a read and listen below to some female power! (HAVE A LOOK OUT FOR THE MOOD/THEMES IN EACH ENTRY DEMONSTRATING THE VERSATILITY OF FEMALE ARTISTS).

Beyoncé – BLACK PARADE

THEME/MOOD: ACTIVISM, HUMAN RIGHTS, BLACK POWER

Queen B is back with another song and this one is an ode to all things black. The song was released on the same day as the Juneteenth celebrations. A day that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. In addition, she also released the song with a very important message; “Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right“. Words to remember. I liked how she emphasised her views in the second verse with; “Yeah, yeah, I’m for us, all black All chrome, black-owned“. On Beyonce’s website following the release she listed many black owned businesses celebrating black excellence reiterating the point in her verse. Another stand out part for me in this song is in the second verse when B sings; “Rubber bullets bouncin’ off me…Made a picket sign off your picket fence“; for me the metaphors are a representation of despite all that is thrown at her and black people, we will never stop fighting for our rights. This is not the first time and I’m sure not the last that B has spoken about injustice and racism and activism. I am however happy that the song is quite positive and motivational for the black community. Beyoncé’s harmonies in this song also make it even more soothing on the ear. Have a listen below;

City Girls – City On Lock (Album)

THEME/ MOOD: CAREFREE, DETERMINED, RICH, FEMALE BOSS, SEXY.

City Girls are back in full form!!!! The duo had to unfortunately release the album earlier than scheduled due to a leak a few days earlier. However, as one of the millions of fans of this duo, it was great news for us! For me, City Girls represent women in an unapologetic form, I feel they say things that many of us women think but would never say. I believe every woman has an inner city girl within them! They’re fun and exactly what we need at a time like this! Listening to the album had me smiling throughout, I found myself living vicariously through the music describing their carefree and fun lifestyle. In comparison to their first two albums’ “PERIOD” & “Girl Code”, you can hear the maturity in this album, Yung Miami definitely takes more of the lead on this album too which I assume could be due to JT’s time away. I would definitely warn that this album is very Rated R! Here are some of my favourite tracks;

  • Enough/Better – This intro track features two different songs. My favourite is the second song ‘Better‘. While ‘Enough‘ is very fast paced and jumping straight into City Girls and what they do best, ‘Better‘ starts off a bit slower. On this track, JT & Miami summarise their life in the past few years referencing their growing success, their lows and the trials and tribulations they have faced. It ends on a positive note reminding us all that they have overcome every problem they’ve faced. A perfect way to start an album.
  • Jobs – After the release of this album, this was the promotional song that followed. In this song the duo express the fact that they no longer have to go to jobs as they are the work. A BIG FLEX!!! I loved JT’s verse on this song, she came in so sick too!
  • Broke N***as – This was one of my favourites from the first listen and still is! The song was produced by Traxamillion. The beat on this and the way Yo Gotti sounds on this is perfect! The song has a West Coast feel to it! Perfect beat to have playing in the sun!
  • P***y Talk – Produced by Yung Miami’s very own boyfriend Southside, this song is a great follow up to the above. The song features Doja Cat who unfortunately isn’t anyone’s favourite at the moment. Regardless, I liked the song and loved the fact Yung Miami took the lead on it. I’m usually more of a JT fan but I’m really enjoying hearing Yung Miami become more versatile recently.
  • City on Lock Ft. Lil Durk – The title track on the album which features Lil Durk. I liked him singing on the chorus.
  • Flewed Out Ft. Lil Baby – The title of this song of course coming from Yung Miami’s infamous phrase. City Girls’ and their labelmate Lil Baby always make good music together. This is another song I can see doing well for a while.
  • Rodeo – You can guess what this song was gonna be about from the name already! Regardless I loved the beat on this song too and the way JT’s voice sounded on this.

Teyana Taylor – The Album

THEME/MOOD: SEXY, VULNERABLE, LOVED,SAD,HAPPY, SATISFIED.

I’m a fan of Teyana’s music. I’ve always felt she wasn’t given the respect she deserved. However I’m noticing that recently she has been respected and praised a lot more which is great to see. Her previous album was released 2 years ago and I enjoyed that project. This new album is even better in my opinion. There is so much depth on this album, we really feel all the emotions she feels on this journey. Her features on this album are some of the best I’ve seen. Nearly all of them work so well and compliment one another perfectly. Here are some of the songs that have stood out for me:

  • Come Back To Me Ft. Junie & Rick Ross – As soon as I saw Rozay on the tracklist for this song, I knew this would be one of my favourites on the album. The song also features a cameo from Teyana’s adorable daughter Junie. This is a signature Teyana song, slow…sensual and soft.
  • Wake Up Love Ft. Iman – This is one of the songs Teyana released with the album and I’ve really warmed to it. This song features her husband Iman and I really feel his rapping style is appreciated in this song. The song feels even more romantic with the both of them on, you can tell this is definitely an ode to their love. The video is beautiful too!
  • Lowkey Ft. Erykah Badu – I read an article where Teyana claimed she was so scared to ask Erykah for a feature as she was her idol. Honestly Teyana hit the jackpot with features on this album. This could be my favourite one! Erykah rides the song so well and her tone of voice is so refreshing.
  • Morning Ft. Kehlani – Another one of the songs released before the album release. For me this is one of the most sexual songs on the album! Kehlani provides one of my favourite feature verses from her on this song. She has about three different flows on her verse! Both of these women’s voice gel so well and I really hope this is the beginning of more features from them.
  • Boomin Ft. Missy Elliott & Future – It’s so nice to hear Missy on new music!!! Her harmonies with Teyana on this song were so beautiful to the ear. Future of course does his thing too! This song samples ‘808’ by Blaque which was originally released in 1999.
  • Killa Ft. Davido – This song contains a feature from popular Nigerian artist Davido. It’s nice to hear an afrobeat blend on this track.
  • Lose Each Other – One of the few ballads on the album, the song is quite stripped back. I like the realness and rawness of this song. it focuses on the times when you may not be with a person you love or once loved. Teyana states that it shouldn’t have to be a bitter situation, “I meant it when I said “I loved you” and love just don’t go away”. True words. The song highlights the sometimes-grey area in relationships and breakups.
  • Try Again – The beat, the mood, the sound of this song IS such a vibe. I think this a song that you will hear in a few years and remember how much of a banger it was. There’s no way you won’t be doing a little dance/movement to the chorus of this song.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album and it will be on rotation for a while. The album is filled with so many gems! Honourable mentions to ‘Concrete‘, ‘Friends‘, ‘How You Want It‘ Ft. King Combs, ‘Made It‘ and ‘We Got Love‘ featuring the legend that is Lauryn Hill!!!

Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour

THEME/Mood: Female Power, Love, Sisterhood

R&B Sister duo Chloe and Halle are back, this time with their second studio album. To be honest, I’ve never listened to a whole project of theirs before this album. I listened to this one and I really enjoyed it. It seems like the sisters have certainly matured in their music and content. This album for me is like a rebirth of Chloe and Halle, a new age, a grown and unapologetic version of them. I think my opinion on them has changed slightly and it’s nice to see their growth in the music business. One thing I will say is every single song on this album was produced so well, every beat is perfect for the song. Here are some of my favourite tracks from the album:

  • Forgive Me – I love the motto of the song; “Don’t ever ask for permission, ask for forgiveness”. The song is focused on the art of unapologetically being yourself. A very positive and inspiring song.
  • Baby Girl – The intro beat of this song is enough to get you hooked straight away. This is another female anthem, a nice song to help uplift you when you’re feeling down.
  • Do It – This is one of the popular songs from the album and a recent release. For me this song demonstrates their talented vocal ranges.
  • Busy Boy- This song emphasises the grown sides of the sisters. A playful song referencing the situations some female friends go through.
  • Don’t Make It Harder on Me – Another one of my favourites from the album, the sisters harmonise so beautifully on this song. The song is all about temptation and has an old school feel to the production.

Some other singles from some other Melanin Queens to check out:

  • Shenseea Wasabi (Dancehall Queen treats us to another banger!)
  • Simi Dudke (Nigerian singer Simi has such a sensual and soothing voice, check out this song from her) I absolutely adore her voice, reminds me of Nigerian high life music.

If you haven’t already…check out my Summer playlist below and feel free to follow and enjoy!! Have a nice weekend everyone!

Posted in activism, music, Race, Uncategorized

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. #BlackLivesMatter

“I trust God and know that everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man….it’s tough right now. Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality” These were lyrics said by Jay-Z on his song “Spiritual” released in 2016 after the deadly racist police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. 4 years later and those lyrics couldn’t be any more relevant. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Rest in Peace to Ahmaud, Breonna and George.

On May 25th 2020, George Floyd, a BLACK man was MURDERED by a police officer in Powderhorn, a neighbourhood in Minneapolis. Shortly after, videos and still images of the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck started to circulate. These kind of murders are not isolated incidents and this is one of the substantial amount of killings by the hand of US police against black people. The past few months alone, to name a few, On February 23rd 2020, we saw the murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was jogging before being chased cornered and killed by 3 white racist men. On March 13th 2020, Breonna Taylor, a BLACK woman, was killed by police by being shot EIGHT times in her home. A further point to add is that all of these murders have taken place in the middle of a global pandemic. For me it is clear that the biggest deadliest virus here is racism. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

As a result of these murders, people have started to protest against racism in America as well as the UK. I don’t condone violence of any kind when innocent people are being hurt. However, Colin Kaepernick, the ex NFL player knelt peacefully in protest to the racism black people face in the US daily and there was a public uproar. It even resulted with him losing his job. Now, people are taking a different approach via the rioting and protests which is happening in the US and UK. However, yet again people are complaining, this time focussing on the destruction caused by the rioting and looting rather than what got people to that place in the first place. To make it worse, I am seeing numerous counter arguments to the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’ with another statement “All Lives Matter”. I just want to point out ONLY racists have an issue with the first statement. Black Lives Matter is a statement to argue that our lives matter TOO, it does not mean ‘instead of’. People that do not understand this are part of the problem. PRO BLACK DOES NOT MEAN ANTI-WHITE.

I live in London and I have grown up with numerous stories about death caused by racism whether it is by people or via police. Cases like Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor, Mark Duggan are just a crumb of the numerous racist fuelled deaths in this country. I read an article that Black people in the UK are “40 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by the police“. This is despite the fact white people outnumber black people in the UK. As a Black 26 year old woman living in the UK, I too have experienced racism in my lifetime. Some of this racism has been subtle, either by looks or flippant statements or even by lack of acknowledgement of myself. However, some has been blatant and loud. 95% of my black male friends have been racially profiled and stopped and searched at least once by police in the UK. None has been because they have committed a crime but simply because of how they look. The majority of my black female friends are working in organisations where they are the “only black person” in the room. UK racism is not as subtle as people like to believe, some of it is as clear as the sky is blue. The Wind Rush Scandal, Grenfell Tower fire, stop and search and even when it comes to medical issues, it is very evident. I don’t know what it will take for a change to come, I don’t whether there will ever be a day I am not reminded of the fact most of the world is against my people or that I will always have to work extra hard to even be seen on the same level as white people. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

It is tiresome having to constantly wait for tragedies to occur for us to scream that our lives matter too. It is tiresome having to constantly worry about our brothers and sisters knowing the system was not made for them.

It is tiresome having to bite our tongues knowing that we cannot react to EVERY racist incident without falling into the “angry stereotype”.

Being black in this society is having a good day because you hear that there was “The first black person” somewhere that has achieved greatness and then turning on the news and hearing an unarmed, innocent black person was murdered in cold blood for simply being black.

Being black is worrying about what racism is going to be like in the country you want to visit on holiday.

Being Black is assuming you will most likely in most corporate places, be the only black person in the room.

Being a black woman is having the burden of having to constantly worry about our black brothers, sons, boyfriends, husbands or even friends knowing that at any moment they can be targeted for the colour of their skin.

Being a black woman is having the burden of making sure at work you are “approachable”, “not too loud”, or “not too intimidating”.

Being a Black Woman is knowing that in some instances you have to avoid reacting so you are not portrayed as the “angry black woman”.

Being a Black Woman is knowing your hairstyle has to be “professional” when going for job interviews, adhering to the “caucasian look”

One thing I will say, it is down to white people to contribute and join us on this fight to equality. Ultimately, it will have to be white people that eradicate racism as they are the ones in a position of power. The more white people and non black people speak up against the injustice and racism, the closer we all are to finally fighting this. I don’t know if there will ever be a day when Black people would not have to worry about the things we currently do but I pray that day comes. We are exhausted of constantly being hunted, targeted and mistreated and I really hope and can only pray that one day a change will come. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Some people have previously asked me “Why is this blog called Music & Life? What does it mean?“. On my very first post on this blog I stated that music IS life. There is a song that relates to every possible human experience and life itself. For me music is supposed to be a comfort, whether it’s to energise you, empathise with you, educate you or even disagree with you.

I have made a playlist with some songs that help reflect in detail what I have and most black people have been screaming. The songs help bring awareness to the racial injustice we feel on a daily basis. Here are just a few of the songs featured, full playlist is included below for you all to follow and play:

Childish Gambino – This Is America (2019): This is possibly one of the biggest examples and insights into Black America as of recent. The juxtaposition of the happy tone with the dark and deep context surrounding this song is a great ploy to get people to take in the subject at hand.

Common Ft. John Legend – Glory (2014) – This song was from the ‘Selma’ soundtrack and it feels like a fantasy of what the world could be like when or if we are ever seen as equals.

Freedom is like religion to us, justice is juxtaposition in us. Sins that go against our skin become blessings”

In a sad twist of irony, sometimes our suffering is used for the greater good or have been catalysts for change.

Bashy – Black Boys (2009) – UK rapper Bashy is possibly loved by so many men due to the impact of this song. In the intro Bashy says ; “This is out to all the black boys growing up, yeah. There’s bare positive black boys around you making movements…making movements toward success“. This song is an ode specifically to Black Boys all around. In a world where they are the minority and sometimes persecuted due to their colour, this song lets them know they are not alone. The song touches on the successful Black Men in media and in life that are doing and where doing well. All those men could be considered role models to young black boys listening. This song is still relevant today in a society where Black boys are being killed in every part of the world, some black boys may be feeling de motivated or alone but they must remember “Ooh child, things are gonna get easier…Ooh child things will get brighter”.

No we ain’t hooligans, just young and talented nubians with potential and promise”

Ty Dolla $ign Ft. Big TC – No Justice (2016) – This is one of my favourite Ty songs. The opening lines “Seem like shit is getting worse before it’s getting better” can be applied to the current climate.

Kenneth Whalum Ft. Big K.R.I.T – Might Not Be OK (2016) – WOW. One of the most powerful songs on this list. There is absolutely no way you can listen to this song and not hear the pain being spoken about in this song. It would be an injustice to point out a specific line in this song because you really need to hear the whole song to take it all in.

The Game Ft. Rick Ross, Fabolous, Diddy, 2 Chainz, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Problem & more – Don’t Shoot– Following the murder of Michael Brown, the Game brought together 10 14 other artists for this song. The song focusses on the constant injustice of how black people keep getting killed repeatedly for no reason other than their race. The song also focusses on the lack of trust between the black community and the police. The songs’ chorus is sung by The Game’s daughter.

Throwing up our hands don’t let them shoot us…’Cause we all we got, we all we got. God ain’t put us on the Earth to get murdered, it’s murder”

YG – Police Get Away with Murder (2016) – Self explanatory. Facts too. This song was YG’s response to the numerous cases where police literally got away with murdering black people with no consequences.

Gotta watch how I walk and wear my outfit…White tan brown black, white tan brown black…Black males in a hoodie that’s a target to them”

Powerful.

Jay Z- 99 Problems (2003) – One of Hov’s most popular songs. The second verse is a prime example of racial profiling. Jay Z narrates the scene perfectly demonstrating an insight into the lives of black men in America.

Half a mill for bail cos I’m African”

Demonstrating the way black people are treated. Bail is usually set extremely high knowing majority of the time, will not be able to be paid.

Joyner Lucas – I’m Not Racist (2017) – This song is perfect for those that do not believe race is an issue in America or even the world. It focusses on the disconnect between Black people and White people. Joyner raps from both perspectives in order to emphasise the point at hand. The video is incredible and I love the fact he creatively explains the main issue regarding racism.

Below is the Playlist:

Posted in Uncategorized

Permission.

I remember when I first heard this song and the context! Rotimi (The artist I have previously mentioned) was doing a cycle workout to it. Ro James has such a soothing voice. This song is basically him asking his woman to give her consent so he can give her the love she deserves. I feel this song is so fitting at a time where consent is talked about so much. It is refreshing to hear a man asking for permission so politely instead of assuming what a woman consents to. My favourite line has to be “I just wanna put a little smile on you with your permission”. There’s just an element of Ro acting the absolute gentlemen throughout the song and I love that.

Posted in Uncategorized

Closure

I was recently at an event where they played some R&B songs that stuck with me. Due to this, I discovered an artist called Sy Ari Da Kid. I checked out some of his songs and one in particular stands out as a favourite. The song called “Closure” features Tink and unsurprisingly the song is exactly about closure in a relationship. One thing I love in particular is when Tink sings “I love you, but I don’t wanna cuff you” which I find refreshing to hear from a woman’s perspective. With artists like Bryson Tiller recently, we usually hear this from a man’s point of view.

I like that she seems to have some sort of control in this song. She sings that she’s used to his games which is why she knows she cannot be in a relationship however he still has a hold on her. This song ends as confused as they were in the beginning and I think it’s such a great representation of life. Nothing is ever in black and white and sometimes we experience that.

I will definitely be listening to more of his music.

Posted in Uncategorized

September Song (Don Corleon)

OK so this song is pretty big and popular at the moment. However I was shopping in Zara one day and stumbled upon this version. It’s the Don Corleon remix featuring Seyi Shayi. Her voice is beautiful and fits the song so well.

My favourite line “Memories don’t live like people do, baby I will always remember you. Everytime the dj play that tune I wanna make it to September real soon”. This sums up how I feel about music. Everyone I hear a song I am reminded of a memory.

Definitely a song to be playing in the summer as this remix has a very nice vibe to it.

Posted in Uncategorized

If tonight is my last…

I used to watch ‘One Tree Hill’ & there was an episode where Laura guest starred as a musician singing this exact song. Her voice is such a blessing to hear. The lyrics of this song resonate with me because you can feel the emotion. “If tonight is my last, I wanna spend it with you”. The last line grips me everytime…”If an angel came down to me, asked what I would do differently…I would say nothing you see, I have loved someone truly”. My God. Those words ❤️❤️❤️

https://open.spotify.com/track/7fiJ2vKIWB6XFTM1eanuBd?si=iCaOKvw2SyKPqjV9eTHHFQ

Posted in music, Uncategorized

Hangman

I’ve been slow with the track of the day. I apologise. I’ll just upload a few at once.

This first one is a song by English rapper ‘Dave’. He is probably one of the best young British lyricists out at the moment. He’s the definition of a wordsmith. He has the ability to articulate his words in a rap format that appeals to the younger audience. Anyone that tells you rap isn’t poetic definitely doesn’t listen to rap properly.

“Too may youts are dying and I’m sick of it”. That line there sums up youth in Britain and especially black youths. So many of us are killing one another and it’s sick.

As long as I’ve remembered every month knife crime amongst young people increases. It’s sad.