Black Power isn’t just a way of life that involves the daily fight for dignity and some semblance of justice, it’s also a romantic cumbia boy band from Puebla, Mexico. Here is one of their love / holiday songs:
a little love / a little peace / new year’s eve, the new year, and christmas are all coming close / …a soldier returns / he won’t leave tomorrow / a father suffers / a mother cries / a child comes back / let’s toast to that
This is one of five hundred songs I bought last week. Out in Brooklyn, 500 cumbia MP3s cost $20. Value such a slippery thing.
If you haven’t listened to Azealia Banks’s album Broke With Expensive Taste, I highly recommend it. It’s a tremendous piece of work, sonically challenging, incredibly focused even as Banks unleashes a wealth of singing and rapping styles. I’m shocked that more people aren’t talking about it. BWET would have been excellent even if Banks wasn’t busy doing stuff like discussing the relationship between capitalism’s slavery roots and identity politics on Hot97.
But that album. Few DJ mixes–much less actual albums!–achieve this level of direction-across-variation; as manifestation of a musical persona the parameters Azealia Banks establishes on BWET are wide, wide, wide.
Music remains a charged space to explore not just ideas of freedom but the inevitable, contagious beauty of its realization.