To be perfectly honest, I have never listened to a Beyoncé album from start to finish and not skipped through a song — until now. Beyoncé is a self titled album that exudes all of its creator’s power and prowess — it gets in touch with her inner thug (which is still graceful) and lays her out over 14 beats with help from producers Pharrell, Timbaland, Hit Boy, Detail, 40. There is no Sascha Fierce on ‘Beyoncé.
The album’s initial recording began in New York City, where Beyoncé invited producers and songwriters to live with her for a month. It’s all a projection of her without an alter ego. Songs like Drunk In Love, Rocket and Partition show the natural woman in her unafraid to show other women to be unafraid to flex their sexuality too.
Beyoncé is honest. Beyoncé is too real and too damn hot in this release. Don’t get me wrong when I say I skip songs, because there is something else about this women that I have never skipped on since the D-Child days, and that’s her as my hero in life; with the sheer ability to overcome odds and raise the bar every time she releases something new — to now — the only other person I can remember to release a visual movie-type album like she has done with ‘Beyoncé’ is Michael Jackson and even still, her self-titled release switched that concept up again.
“People saying Beyonce’s back, Beyonce never left” My home girl Celeste instagrammed.
The woman just finished her Australia/New Zealand tour. For me, she is the flag waver for all mamas who know what it is when two successful people have a baby, women often have it harder in the situation, but apparently not in Bey’s case. She’s released her best album to date, complete with a music video for each track. No promo, no lead up, just a straight bomb into the hearts of all. But women and women of colour specifically. ‘Flawless’ also features African poet Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Speaking about feminism:
“Feminist — A woman who believes in the social and political and economic equality of the sexes.”
Beyonce, with her leotard wearing, curvy deriair has single-handedly opened up a new-found confidence for coloured women across the globe and she’s been doing it since 2003 when she went solo with Dangerously In Love. Shout outs to curvy white girls though, y’all also know what I’m talking about in terms of a gateway into the mainstream.
Public service announcement***BEYONCE! CURVY WOMEN ACROSS THE GLOBE THANK YOU*** (In a Chris Rock, Blame Game, Dark Twisted Fantasy type voice.) My self-confidence thanks you. (Same Chris Rock voice)
“Queen Bey taught me”, man I need to put that on a T-shirt.
There is something to be said about how her past albums have appealed to such a broad, mainstream market but on ‘Beyoncé’ she takes it back to the hood; her roots, herself. The sex in it is R rated; but it is tasteful sex. Beautiful love. Black and white, on the screen for all to see. It exposes Beyoncé sexuality; comfortable in her own skin, making love to her husband, one year old in tow — displaying sex and love in the way it was made to be done. It has made many people [parents] nervous. But Beyoncé’s ‘R rated’ is still gentle, respectful, caring. It is a scary truth, how many people are upset about it; considering how we all got here, you know, by a man and a woman conceiving and all. As Beyoncé exposes human reservations adverse to such a natural feeling, it is only another ‘legendary’ box checked in her arsenal of greatness.
This woman is a goddess, there’s no two ways about it. All the money and power in the world has only enhanced this tool box of hers. Producing albums just as epic, if not more than her husband’s of late, he’s still right there next to her, helping her make it happen. That’s a marriage to aspire to.
“I woke up like this. Ladies tell em, I woke up like this. I woke up like this….Godamn, godamn, say I, look so good toniiiiight”
The whole thing’s great. From beginning to end. It didn’t seem possible, but Beyoncé has become more comfortable in her own skin, post mummy she is still holding it down — even at one of the most vulnerable times of her life (for most women post baby is like this and she mentions it on Mine feat Drake), Beyoncé is only stronger, more earthly, and so much more sexier. My hero.
The home girl Hyclass says:
It’s another Saturday night at San Francisco Bath House. Many gigs have been at Bodega of late, and it’s nice to be back at San Fran on Cuba Street. Local DJs Jay Knight and Dam G have warmed up the crowd nicely. Raiza Biza’s on next — he’s bringing the heat for the main man tonight, Washington DC—Mello Music Group artist, Oddisee.
Delivering a set that was laid back, smooth, jazzy. Raiza, despite all these slow-type adjectives orchestrated a slow, controlled crescendo that peaked with his song ‘Sleepless City’ — a chill track with the ability to amp you up at the same time — it’s an infectious juxtaposition. When Jay Knight drops Raiza’s ‘Girl With No Name’, we’re left sailing the night on an ocean of lyrical jazz whispers where the stars litter the sky and the black horizon has no end. Raiza became my new favourite conductor that night. “I can’t stop staring at him” I tell my friend Hari.
Not nearly as entranced as I was, she replies, “He’s real good girl — definitely a good rapper.” Then something clicks in her thinking and it’s like she just discovered an inner truth about me that I’ve always been secretly aware of. Pointing and laughing with delight she’s just snapped me out; she’s inside my inside space, grinning with her Scarlett Johansson mouth. She turns and looks back at Raiza. I’ve been caught. Luckily, someone with love for me done it. As the whole audience stand nestled in the palm of Raiza’s hand I wonder, when did he get this good? He was only down here for Kev Brown a few months ago, but he’s way more relaxed this show around, and he has this kind of grace as he paces the stage with his six-foot-something stature. Stalking it like a lion in a cage we paid to see, I marvel at the animal. Hariata’s smiling at me again. I can’t help it. Wait didn’t he call an album Caged Lion a few years back? I’ll check when I get home — as anti-social as it is to be staring at my phone in the club, I have to write this all down now. The writer in me refuses to forget a single moment. If I don’t write it now, the moment will pass. I’ll be sober. It wont be the same.
“Does he have CD’s?” asked my friend we call the Nanna Gangsta. “Yeah man all his music is online.”
Dam G comes on and plays an old school track that can’t match the heights Raiza set, it’s dull in comparison and so is the next one….. Until it isn’t, G Unit’s Hate It Or Love It creeps in, Mary J backing in first, suddenly you’re jamming. Then, Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. The DJ’s got you where he wants you. Dam G is the kind of conductor that lets the music speak for him where he wont. He is that DJ you’re not entirely sure where to place, until he’s deep into a set, dropping evocative 90’s bangers, reminding you of a much freer time in life.
As Oddisee walks on stage without any fuss. He’s tall, graceful, non-assuming. A muslim man, whose father is from Sudan; his stature embodies the elements of what I know Arabic to be — an elegant language written in the Quaran. What I know of Islam is that it’s a philosophical way of existing — all these elements comes out in his verses. When he opens his mouth he is clearly American but where he isn’t stereotypically American, exudes from is body language. He is graceful, majestic, his aura is warm. There’s something about Oddisee that is royal.
He’d been given the highest-level welcome our home crowd had to give. We the audience were warmed up and ready. Special effects smoke surrounds him. ‘RESPECT,’ he says. As the bass dropped, it vibrated through bones with a staunch feeling akin to a soul-clap.
Oddisee: ‘Wellington, what’s good?’
Audience: “Rawwrrr, yeaahhhh [whistles]”. We’re good to go.
Oddisee: “Oohh, ohhoohoo, oh, oh, ohhhhh…. Is y’all ready to rock?”. This guy is a rockstar. His shine illuminates San Fran.
Deep into his set, featuring songs from his new joint Tangible Dream and last year’s epic release People Hear What They See, he’s got the whole club at church, and as he sails through his tracks, no one wants him to leave. He drops a personal favourite, ‘You Know Who You Are’ off People Hear What They See. Now we’re in the belly of the beast… Rocking and rolling with the rockstar.
“In any event just make sure that you know who you are”.
Then he spits an acapella, which in one blow, assassinates any other I’ve heard done live to date. It involves the crowd, bounces us — commands us up, then smooths us back down. It goes for bars. We begin to realise he’s letting us down gently. He’s going to leave soon, he indicates as nicely as he can.
There’s an encore. “Oddisee! Oddisee! Oddisee!”
He comes back — but just like everything, there will be an end. And just as we’re absolutely marveled, he thanks us and leaves just as quietly as he came. The whole show hosted by Hadyn Middleton of Madcap Touring was one of the biggest waves I have seen all year; it came crashing down from such a height, rolled on the stage, broke and then dissolved back into the night.
“50 inch screen, money green leather sofa
Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur
Phone bill about two G’s flat
No need to worry, my accountant handles that
And my whole crew is loungin’
Celebratin’ every day, no more public housin“
— Christopher Wallace
Tomorrow Jamal “Gravy” Woolard, the guy that acted as Christopher Wallace in the biographical film Notorious, will be in Wellington. Also a rapper, Woolard aka Gravy will be throwing a party ” in the style that Biggie would have wanted it, with all the greatest hits, crowd interaction, and vibe.” Local acts Times x Two, Imagine This and D-Rail are set to open, so party times are definitely expected. Tickets can be purchased from DASH TICKETS.
Show is Tuesday October 15th at Bodega.