I’ll admit I know absolutely nothing about Solange and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Aside from the now infamous elevator incident and the fact that she’s Beyonce’s sister, she might as well have not existed in my world. I know she made music but I always wrote it off, because rarely does the younger siblings’ work come close to the olders’ (Ashley Simpson, Jamie Spears). But when I saw the video for “Don’t Touch My Hair” I was floored. If the rest of A Seat at the Table sounded half as good as that, then I’ve seriously been missing out on something special.
“Don’t feel bad if you can’t sing along
Just be glad you got the whole wide world
This shit is from us
Some shit you can’t touch”
The production on A Seat at the Table is spectacular. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s neo-soul taken to a whole other level; chock full of blues, southern horns, funk, and VIBES. “Junie” layers funky synths over some upbeat percussions and a soft guitar loop before breaking into gospel-like piano keys. It’s a soul infused nod to groups like The Ohio Players. “F.U.B.U” is full of drowsy horns, slow claps and shakers, and is backed by a smooth deep bass line. “Don’t You Wait” has a killer, stuttering bass line paired with intermittent kicks and piano keys. If there’s one thing I’d take away from the production is the decidedly southern homages of both past and present. This is some of the best production I’ve heard all year.
“The streets say you’re a king
The world says you’re a failure
And your mother is a queen
But damn she always tells ya
“You gon’ end up like your daddy
But damn that nigga fresh
So if it all comes out to plan
You gon’ end up like the best.”
The nod to her southern roots can be found throughout the project, as she peppers sound bites throughout the album from southern influencers. With some especially dope and surprising interludes from Master P. Whereas her sister waded in the shallow end of black consciousness and appreciation of black culture with Lemonade, Solange dove in the deep end head first. A Seat at the Table is full of themes about black history, identity, empowerment, and healing. It’s honest, raw, social commentary that both acknowledges and pays homage to the past while looking towards the future. But her expert artistry kept it all from coming off heavy handed.
Have you heard A Seat at the Table? What’d you think about it? Did you expect this from Solange? Do you think it handled it’s themes effectively? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a rating for the album.
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