November sees the return of The City Lane’s music discoveries segment, where we share with you some of the music we’re listening to at the moment. This month’s focus in on the hip-hop and soul side of things.
We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
A Tribe Called Quest return with their first new album in 18 years. We Got It From Here was being recorded when group member Phife Dawg unexpectedly passed away aged 45, and the resulting album has a theme of mourning and tribute throughout. Produced entirely by Q-Tip in his New Jersey studio, the album features appearances by artists like Andre 3000, Busta Ryhmes, Kanye West, Elton John and Kendrick Lamar. Many of the hallmarks of old school Tribe are present in the album, most noticeably Q-Tip’s speedy flow and relevant themes such as the 2016 US presidential election. Musically, the album takes in a wide variety of influences, from the expected jazz through to neo-soul, reggae and psychedelia. A fitting end to one of hip-hop’s most important groups.
Alicia Keys‘ highly anticipated new album “Here” was released this month and in an album very much in the mould of what listeners have come to expect from Alicia Keys. Songs range from ballads to uptempo tracks while the lyrically Keys touches on a range of social issues told from the point of view of herself and her fellow New Yorkers. Produced by Mark Batson and Swizz Beatz, the sound on here is somewhat more raw that Keys’ other albums, which suits the lyrical themes of the album.
A Seat At The Table
Solange Knowles long ago moved out of her sister’s shadow, and her third A Seat At The Table is her best album yet. It’s a highly personal album, and documents the struggle of being a black woman in America in 2016. Knowles deals directly and personally with issues that are important today, and places them in their historical context, which helps maintain a consistent theme and message throughout.
Musically and vocally, the Raphael Saadiq co-produced album exhibits influences from some of the greatest black artists. At times you can recognise elements of Minnie Riperton, Zapp, Angie Stone, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson and Herbie Hancock. A fantastic album from start to end.