The New Album
A call to remember history meets a smooth, airy voice in Jamila Woods’ latest album, Legacy Legacy, released on May 10, 2019. The Chicago artist’s sound includes a blend of gospel rhythms and instrumental with some rock influence. She’s excellent at transcending generations with her music. Always chill and dignified; her tracks exude finesse and elegance. Her album features a song titled “Sonia,” with scorching verses provided by Nitty Scott.
Paying Homage to History
Most of the song titles in this album are names. Surely, anyone well versed in black history will immediately recognize these are names of important people in the black canon of accomplishment and excellence. At least one track highlights other people of color, like her song “Frida” (for Frida Kahlo). Listeners are educated while jamming along to her melodies and verses. A few examples are “Betty” (Betty Davis), “Zora” (inspired by Zora Neale Hurston), “Giovanni” (for Nikki Giovanni) and others like “Miles” (for Miles Davis) and “Baldwin” (for James Baldwin).
Each song is a homage; the entire album is a collection of dedications. Further, the lyrics reflect the emotions felt by these figures during their life. They portray pain from rejection and frustration at greater, complicated forces moving against them. They symbolize the victory of self-realization and determination, giving back to those who are unrecognized. These lyrics are spoken as if the figure is talking directly to the listener; it’s a first-person experience. They spit words of knowledge, defiance, and self-encouragement. It’s like a grandmother or grandfather rubbing scriptures and knowledge into their grandchild’s scalp. How can you heed to these words and not feel empowered?
These lyrics are vital to Legacy Legacy‘s strength; Woods wants to connect black people of today with their ancestors. She encourages children to learn the history and manifest the black excellence that earned them their opportunities. Likewise, she wants them to pursue their goals and understand that worrying who might stop them is why they won’t succeed. Jamila Woods is steadily growing a movement.
In short, listening to Legacy Legacy is an experience that doesn’t just delight; it celebrates.