May 10th, Jamila Woods returned with LEGACY! LEGACY! a sophomore album where she sharpens and fearlessly delivers the blend of political commentary and personal reflection she introduced us to with debut album HEAVN. Paying homage to black creative activists who came before her, Woods delivers a forward thinking project that draws from influences as disparate as House, Hip Hop and Soul. It’s a stunner and gifted our track of the week, a cut off the album titled SUN RA.
SUN RA is evidently a homage to avant garde afro-futurist jazz composer, Sun Ra. In a statement to the New Yorker, Jamila explains, “What I love about Afrofuturism is calling out the fact that if we’re not seeing ourselves in all these futuristic space movies, that means no one is imagining us making it there.” She goes on, “The hook comes from a line in one of Sun Ra’s poems — ‘My wings are greater than walls’ — which speaks to our imagination. Imagination, really, for me, is the wings that help me reframe whatever wall or whatever structural element of racism is coming at me. I can imagine a way to create a different reality that helps me survive it.”
A track infused with modern Soul and hints of Hip Hop, Jamila displays a sense of vulnerability which very much resonates throughout. A highlight being the lines, “I’m unstable, heavy star… I’m a bad one baby, I’m a warrior”. Vocally, she illustrates a brilliant range of vocals alongside hard hitting lyrics which leave for a truly all-round vibe.
Production wise, it’s soothing percussion, melodic drum line and heartwarming string sections. They work very well in telling the tale of the track but also taking you on the journey with Jamila Woods. Accompanied by features from theMIND & Jasminefire, this is easily a standout of what is a powerful sophomore album from an artist clearly going from strength to strength.