The Queen is here! The Arch-Android known as Cindi Mayweather has brought her vision into fruition by sonically harnessing a mass following from her world of Metropolis into our world as The Electric Lady, now as she rightfully takes her throne as the beloved leader of the Wondaland Arts Society, all we can hear from Janelle Monae’ is that…The Future Is Now!
Her outright intent to carve her own path in an industry filled with noise and uncertainty reminds me of a poem that opens, “Somebody said that it couldn’t be done, but SHE with a chuckle replied, that maybe it couldn’t, SHE would be the one who wouldn’t say so until SHE tried!” The only words the critics could find to describe her we’re bold, real, stylish, unique, conscious, but wait, don’t those sound like compliments to you?
See, I just don’t think you really get it. Our favorite little rebel robot has become more human than any of us will ever be and has shown us how the constrictions of poverty, prejudice and mis-education fuel the illusions of material gain, status and misrepresentation of the world we live in drive us, the human-beings, into a state of artificial intelligence.
But can a sista get some H-E-L-P?! Technically, Janelle was always an independent artist, to say the least, she was one of the first acts on Bad Boy when he switched from the Arista imprint to Atlantic, and the best thing Diddy ever did was let Janelle loose to just do her thing. There was no way he could control her spirit, she only needed him in an advisory role and for distribution. Now, with three albums projects complete, touring foreign and domestic, ad campaigns, Grammy nominations, hit collaborations, captivating music videos, riveting television performances and a devout following, what would be the next step?
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised!” Ms. Monae’ has penned a label deal with famed record executive L.A. Reid. In his new position at Epic Records and one of his first orders of business is to become was to become part of the revolution that is Janelle Monae and her Wondaland Records.
That’s right y’all a sista got that H-E-L-P! Janelle has garnered a small, yet very powerful arsenal of musically inclined creatives that are so ready to change the game. Let’s begin with the guys who were destined to create and define the perfect sound for Janelle’s voice and message, Nate ”Rocket” Wonder and Chuck Lightning are the duo who make up Deep Cotton who are known as the rock-star, bad boys of the entourage. Then to revive the lineage of the great female duos like A Taste Of Honey, Zhane’ and Floetry we have St. Beauty that comprise of Alex Belle and Isis Valentino.
Now when you start an artist’s bio with comparisons to Stevie Wonder and Prince, you know you better be a stone-cold brotha! I wouldn’t even want that kind of pressure, for real! But it seems as if the clique is confident in the skills of Roman GianArthur and he seems to be just walking right on into his expectations. I hope so!
Imagine you’re at a small house party, we call them kickbacks in the south these days, a nice vibe of mingling with plenty of food and drink to go around. Then, you notice a brotha who you don’t recognize with a unique old-school swagger, you observe who he knows and who knows him. Suddenly, a bass-line drops and the music gets louder then everybody’s like whoa! This is exactly how Janelle’s first artist sneaks in the most unexpected smash hit of the summer on us. His name is Jidenna and he is the “Classic Man!”
It was all a setup for what they are calling The Eephus. By definition the word eephus, is used as a baseball term that describes a very slow junk pitch that is used to catch the hitter off guard. Well, this is a great way to describe the entire career of Monae’ so far, her Wondaland label deal and The Eephus project debuts the current hits “Classic Man” by Jidenna with Roman
GianArthur, and remix version that features Kendrick Lamar, as well as Janelle’s new single, “Yoga” also with Jidenna. These tracks are unmistakably the mass ear-grabbers from The Eephus, but you can’t count out the the ground-breaking explorations of sound from St. Beauty’s “Going Nowhere”, Deep Cotton’s “Let’s Get Caught” and Roman GianArthur’s “I Know.” All of the Wondaland artists are expected to do some pretty powerful game-changing in the current state of (black) music, strategically and especially sonically.
With that in mind, let me address the two most powerful things that I think the collective has done as they present themselves to the world. The Eephus tour that they recently closed out in Atlanta, GA was a corporate sponsored event which allowed existing and new fans to come and witness the revolution as it unfolds for free. They have also recently released a single called, “Hell You Talmbout!” that is a battle cry that chants the deceased victims to police brutality in America.
So the revolution is here and the future is now! Are you ready? Whether you are or not, welcome to the Wondaland!