In a classic text published in 1994, Dr. Cornel West informed readers that, regardless of how fervently some might wish otherwise, Race Matters. Of course, now that Barack Obama’s in the White House, that’s all behind us and blurp—sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little. Here to remind us just how deeply the effects of skin color still permeates our lives, opportunities and psyches is Jelani with an incisive new promo single. Inspired by a dialogue on race relations between Dr. West and Dr. Jack Salazar which the artist witnessed as a third-grader, and the lifelong interest in African-American studies that it sparked, the record finds beatsmith Durkin mixing driving percussion with scorching synths and Caribbean-accented brass chords as Jelani tackles a litany of issues facing black Americans today, both in their interactions with other groups (profiling, media race-baiting…) and within their own communities (colorism, conflicts between first generation Africans and African-Americans…). Food for thought? More like a nine-course meal. This promo single isn’t attached to any forthcoming project, but rest assured we’ll keep you posted on this talented up-and-comer.
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