Atlanta in the 90s, for me, was skating on Saturday nights at Golden Glide to bass-heavy Southern sounds, participating in Bankhead Bounce dance-offs, watching American Rap Makers (RIP to Arnell Starr) and Planet Rocks late at night and strolling through South DeKalb Mall, debating on whether or not I should get my name airbrushed on a shirt or twisted up on a gold wire chain.
Outside of Miami, Atlanta was where bass music thumped the hardest. 90s ATL influenced many, including singer/songwriter Spree Wilson and production team The Flush, most evident by this dope ass EP these Southern gents dropped entitled Life in Technicolor Vol. 1. If you know anything about Atlanta Bass Music, you know that fun is the epicenter of it all. It’s about getting your folk together and having a good time. This EP brings that vibe back. With appearances from Big K.R.I.T. and A-Town legend DJ Jelly, you already know it’s gonna be a party.
When I say this collaboration is highly anticipated, believe that’s no exaggeration. Since the release of Janelle Monae’sfirst EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), folks have compared and contrasted her style to her eclectic predecessor, Erykah Badu. So it’s only natural that once the comparisons finally waned, fans would begin to clamor for a melding of their individual dopeness. But you know what they say: Ask and you shall receive, y’all!
The first single, Q.U.E.E.N, from Monae’s upcoming album, Electric Lady, is fiercely unapologetic. Lines such as, “They be like ‘ooh, let them eat cake’, but we eat wangs and throw them bones on the ground” reflect the sassiness and slightly unruly message of this track. Badu acts as more of the big sister proudly backing up her fearless lil’ sis than a true feature. Quite honestly, Monae holds her own and dominates the song. There are some that ponder about the lyrics, questioning her sexuality and intent. To me, her only intent is the stress the same philosophy she’s upheld since she dropped down from Metropolis: “embrace what makes you unique; even if it makes others uncomfortable.”
It’s an unspoken truth that only the baddest rock with Beyoncé. Love her or hate her, Beyoncé is a dynamo who, seemingly, only surrounds herself with performers of the same ilk. So it’s absolutely no surprise that Atlanta’s own Divinity Roxx would be chosen to share the stage in the pop diva’s all-female band. Bassist Divinity has shown up and showed out all over the world, mesmerizing audiences with funky basslines and crisps snaps. She has served as the musical director for “The Beyoncé Experience” and “I Am…World” tours, which further solidifies Divinity’s talents, dedication and musicianship.
She‘s coming with a powerful, soul-shifting voice in tow. Alice Smith exudes a worldly wisdom in her second LP She, set for a March 19th release. Her sound is fiercely and unabashedly her own. Pay special attention to the no-nonsense track “The One” (“don’t play me, son!) and her dope ass cover of Cee-lo’s “Fool For You.” Check out the full stream of the LP below, then go and pre-order She!
A few nights ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing an intense soul session that completely satiated my rhythmic thirst. Chicago native Jesse Boykins III (an Audio Gumbo favorite) touched down in Atlanta at The Five Spot and shared his “Romantic Movement” and his glorious ‘fro with his adoring listeners. His opening acts included Micah Freeman and Gilles, whom I, unfortunately, missed out on but word is, both gentleman threw down. I’ll be checking them out. Another opener was the dope ass band Bosco. Led by the funky fresh Brittany Bosco, ATL’s finest served up tunes with their last show of 2012. Brittany B. killed with her rendition of Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity,” completely transforming it into a soulful, rock joint.
…And another one. This time Robert Glasper is joined by everyone’s favorite DJ/drummer/producer/music aficionado Questlove. Accompanied by The Roots and the sultry voice of Solange, “Twice,” a Little Dragoncover, is 9 minutes of passion and vitality. I’m getting more excited with every share from Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP. Make sure you cop that on Oct. 9.
You may or may not be familiar with the name Kameron Corvet, but thanks to his recent appearance on The Voice, he’s almost a household name. Based out of Atlanta, Kameron’s smooth tone is not to be taken lightly. I’ve seen the brother perform live; he’s got quite a voice (take that, Cee-lo, Christina, Blake and Adam!). Check out his new joint, “There Is No Tomorrow,” and judge for yourself.