Eldridge releases spoken-word album ‘The Awakening’.”We need love like halfway houses,” Reggie Eldridge spits on his latest spoken word album, The Awakening.
In it, he blends Afro-punk, hip-hop, soul and rock into rhythmic stanzas of contemplation and conclusion.
He touches on issues of race, God, sex, identity, love, health disparities, history and more.
Eldridge is no stranger to genre crossing and multiple hat donning.
He is an Africana studies graduate student, instructor, scribbler and strummer of his guitar Naima.
The artist couples the quiet stage and album presence of a prophetic observer with spiritual Cirque du Soleil metaphors.
He addresses recurring issues including individual worth, community expectation and the confines of art.
“What if my truth turns out to be a lie?” he asks.
Eldridge uses The Awakening to magnify personal concerns and convey the universality in questioning ideals. The disc is an easy listen that conveys complex rumination.
In this album, the Southern Fried slam poet teaches listeners to evolve past the status quo, while acknowledging that it exists.
His delivery conveys cognizance without being forgettable or extremist. The production by Aisha Marshall complements his lyricism.
Transcendental and gritty imagery conveys a complex masculinity that leaves his poetry a tried and true response to faddish stanzas including phallus contests of faux depth.
“The souls of some are often tested,” he shares.
Eldridge’s wordplay shows the thoughts of an artist who is relevant and well-read.
“Anyone familiar with my work or my life knows I’ve spent some time and way too much financial aid money getting educated about issues relating to the African Diaspora,” he says.
“I’m finishing up a graduate degree in Africana Studies, the constitution of which included a trip to Ghana as an undergrad, and (a) thesis on the potential of spoken word to help bring about a change in the way young Black identity is constructed, much in the way the Harlem Renaissance did almost a century ago.”
“I write pieces that interrogate the fundamental notions of blackness,” he says.
In so doing, he constantly confronts mainstream stereotypes too readily attributed to people of color. He also addresses the acceptance of faulty self-perception.
“We know who we was; but, do know who we be?” he inquires.
With hope, art and performers as conscious as Eldridge, consumers might begin to learn more about who to become.
Must hears: “Black Halloween,” “Lifelovesong” featuring DeTyme and previously released classic “Conjure Man.”
Check out http://www.reggieeldridge.com.
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