Grateful For A Seat at the Table

Good Day Saints,

solange-album

Solange has been and will always be one of my inspirations when it comes to music, life and love. Despite never having heard the sounds of Solo Star I knew she was just that. It was 2008-ish I was junior in college trying to find my way through my own self-proclaimed weirdness it was then when I started to steal music from the internet (sorry not sorry?) I remember ripping a few unreleased Beyonce songs (Kick Em Out, New Shoes) and they were just different, the elements of writing along with the underlining of aggression. I knew it was more to the story and that more was Solange. I secretly wish I could’ve heard her sing the songs herself. I learned she had helped Bey write a few more joints and I was intrigued. Then there was T.O.N.Y. and I knew that I decided that she was the one for me. Her lyrics were raw and uninhibited especially on This Bird where she harmonized “I’m not out here hoeing so just the shut the fuuuck up.” I was so in love with her creative sound that was obviously all her own. I would end up purchasing Sol-Angel and The Hadley St. Dreams and forcing others to listen and do the same. I knew her message went beyond what was heard on the radio. Lyrical content that covered teenage pregnancy, drug experimentation and other trials and tribulations that young folk like myself had experienced, Solange gained a loyal fan. Years would pass and I would hang on to Hadley and how it captivated my soul. Just as I graduated and moved on with life so did she, Losing You dropped with an epic video of a perfectly curly fro’d Solange in what looked to be somewhere in Africa jumping on mattresses, wearing beautiful pastels and patterns that reflected a trending setting, hipster who had settled in her own lane. I loved it, so fun, but yet educational her music was just as ‘weird’ as I needed it to be. I wanted to be selfish with it but I had to tell others because it was just too good. Shortly after True EP was released and she would thereafter slay me with sounds that were like no other. Looks Good with Trouble and Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work gave me chills. The vocals, lyrics and vibe were just what 2013 needed. So that was it, I needed more, I needed to match what I had already made up in my head with what Solange was as a performer. My friend had birthday coming up and Solange was making her rounds to support the love that True EP had received. We caught her in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory. With standing room only I tried to picture what I would feel as she stepped onto the stage. How would she bring to life the lyrics and vocal arrangements that I memorized. As she stepped onto the stage the first thing she said was “ohh Philly that weed stinks so good!” I was in fucking love, so unapologetically real, the room rocked for the next hour and 45 minutes. I left feeling like it was not just a gift I had given my friend for her birthday but a gift to my soul. I would have a new found love for Sol-Angel and memories of that night she blessed us with her God given gifts. As time moved on I would discover some unreleased gems that was Left Side of Drive, a Boards of Canada remixed joint and also Under Construction two songs that solidified my love for her and the creativity that is Solange the artist.

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Moving on to me stalking her social media wondering what she was doing out in New Orleans as she would often post pictures/videos of her in the studio I missed Solange the musician. I wanted her to give me an update on how she lived today, her opinion of the state of our ever-changing world. Was she ever going to make music and it better not be an EP I would say to myself. I felt like me and the rest of the world deserved a full album. It had been long enough and she would eventually reveal that she was on SnapChat and that is where I would discover what I had assumed. There was an album in the works. Even though she would post very short snippets of harmonies that sounded nothing short of angelic I needed the teasing season to be over. To much surprise I would read a post that many others would see as the final frontier, Solange had announced her album was complete a few days after her birthday. The waiting game would begin and much to my surprise I wouldn’t have to wait that long. It was 5:44am as my normal routine of sitting on the toilet scrolling down my timeline and it was there, she had announced that tomorrow (Friday September 30th 2016) was the album’s release. There was a God and apparently a conscious, self righteous, proud to be black Solange. I immediately pre- ordered not being able to keep my composure as the next twenty-four hours seemed like torture. Just as Smokie Norfolk said ‘I need you now.’ The next morning the ride to work had been the best I had ever had, every harmony from Rise to Weary brought tears to my eyes, she knew what was needed once again. The Solange formula had been spread throughout this entire body of work while she shared her voice to show us that it was okay to get angry at the way blacks are being treated today. Love still existed in her heart but it was love of thy black self, Master P’s words of encouraged conveyed through his very own testimony and the appearances of the Knowles mother and father was very heartwarming. I tried so hard to learn every lyric and harmony as if it were a mandatory church hymn. It has only been a day since the album has been out and I have already forced (yes forced) most of my friends and family outside of the social media blasts that this is the album they need to have, hear and hold. Cranes in the Sky with the blessing of Ms. Charlene ‘Tweet’ Keys angelic vocals were enough but then there was more. The unexpected features from Q-Tip, Lil’ Wayne and The Dream was the pop the album didn’t need but benefits from. The interludes carry the album to better relay the messages of songs like Don’t  Wish Me Well, Mad and Where Do We Go. Her F.U.B.U. alone proves that this album is for us, this shit is for us and we thank you Solange, I thank you!

Purchase A Seat at the Table here: 

VashonWade 2016

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