Music
'When I Get Home' album cover.

Solange’s New Album Is a Portal Into the Spaces That Define Us

'When I Get Home' encourages us to reflect on the unique spaces that make us who we are.

The feelings I get from listening to Solange's new album When I Get Home connect me to the spaces where I'm most comfortable, like the warm home of my favorite uncle, smelling of black and milds and thick with my cousins' laughter and memories of childhood antics. Or the marijuana smoke-filled apartment of one of my oldest friends where, in cramped quarters, I'm encouraged to share ideas from the oddest corners of my brain over games of Apples to Apples and UNO.

When I Get Home feels and sounds as though Solange has identified those distinct spaces and events for herself, and channeled them into an album rich with references to her Texas upbringing. Whether or not others relate, or even understand, is beside the point, because these experiences are her own.


The first time I heard Solange's True I wasn't immediately sold. I had expected soulful, retro R&B; in the direction of her earlier songs like "I Decided," "T.O.N.Y." and that unforgettable rendition of "Stillness is the Move." Instead it was a minimal, 80s pop-leaning EP that I otherwise found hard to describe.

But I was a fan of Solange's style, and a close college friend whose musical taste I respected, inspired me to add it to iTunes where I continued to revisit it, slowly discovering the details that made it worthwhile.

The album gradually blossomed for me, and eventually became part of my regular rotation.The angst on "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work" and the raw, Minny Riperton-esque emotion on "Bad Girls (Verdine Version)," gripped me and now the song remains a sweet spot of college-age nostalgia.

Solange's willingness to experiment on True was its best quality. This is even more evident now with the release of her fourth studio album When I Get Home.

With When I Get Home, Solange is offering listeners "an exploration of black origin," as she mused on her BlackPlanet page, and her focus is on championing the ambience and sound of her hometown of Houston, the place that shaped her.

The idea of connecting to a place of "belonging," and finding one's' home, speaks directly to my reality as a second-generation Nigerian woman who grew up in Miami but has lived in many places in between. For so long I'd been uncertain of where exactly home was.

Like my uncle's house or friend's smoky apartment, home has become any setting—real or imagined—where my many cultural "selves" don't have to be at odds with one another. It is hard to find, but I feel a sense of nourishment from those spaces where they are able to coexist. For me these places are intimate personal spaces, and not necessarily regional ones as Solange describes, but they sense of self that they have instilled in me are just as significant.

The 19 tracks and interludes on When I Get Home flow seamlessly into one another, making transitions into new tracks more ambiguous, and reflecting a sense of comfort that Solange has found in her sound. Because of this, the album demands to be listened to as a whole.

Whereas A Seat At The Table is largely made up of anthems like "Don't Touch My Hair" and "F.U.B.U" that centered black womanhood in response to the political climate of the day, When I Get Home is a micro-level affair, less concerned with common denominators and more with conveying the singer's individualism as a black woman with strong cultural roots in the South. You'll find this in the chopped and screwed feel of 'Almeda" and the smoked out, Southern feel of 'Down With the Clique," which also fuses elements of acid jazz. When I Get Home goes back to the things that make Solange her own person, and though there's a deep focus on nostalgia and the past, ultimately the album signifies change and forward-movement.

I am still working on becoming more at home with myself—and fully digesting the fullness of the album—but as I continue this journey I foresee When I Get Home will be a time capsule of this experience, the same way True was in the latter part of my college years, and A Seat at the Table after, coloring parts of my individual experience the same way that Houston has for Solange herself.

News Brief

Watch Chika's Cerebral Performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live

The Nigerian-American MC drops serious bars in "No Squares" and "Richey v. Alabama."

Chika Oranika, also just known as Chika, recently made her late night TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live, guest hosted by Lena Waithe.

Waithe is a huge fan of the Nigerian-American wordsmith (as we all are, let's be real), especially since her freestyle about the rise and fall of Kanye West went viral last year. The rapper continues to be inspired about current events and eloquently gives much needed thoughts and commentary through straight bars.

With her performances of "No Squares" and "Richey v. Alabama" on the show, it's fair to say that she's the internet's unofficial poet laureate.

"We all know what's going on in Alabama right now, and I'm from Alabama. I felt like with this opportunity and the way that it lined up, it would make so much sense for me to come on here and speak for people who would otherwise feel voiceless," she shares with Waithe on what inspired "Richey v. Alabama."

She continues:

"Richey is the last name of one of my best friends who has such a powerful story when it comes to what's going on in Alabama. I felt like this would be a proper tribute to her, and also a proper tribute to all women in Alabama—all people in Alabama with wombs who are able to carry children—and I felt like this is my time to speak for us."

Watch her poignant performances below.

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News
South Africa's midfielder Linda Motlhalo (L) and South Africa's defender Janine Van Wyk celebrate after scoring a goal during the FIFA international friendly football match between South Africa and Jamaica at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban , South Africa on April 7, 2019. - South Africa's Women Team, known as "Banyana Banyana", has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France 2019. (Photo: ANESH DEBIKY/AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa's National Women's Football Team to Receive Equal Pay

The Banyana Banyana, will receive the same pay as their male counterparts for the first time ever as they head to the FIFA World Cup.

Last November it was announced that South Africa's national women's football Team, the Banyana Banyana, would be heading to the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time ever. South Africans celebrated the news, but some also pointed out that despite their successes, the female players were still being payed less than their male counterparts.

This is set to change however, as for the first time ever South Africa's women's team and its men's team, Bafana Bafana, will earn the same pay as they head to the World Cup in France and the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt, respectively, Times Live reports.

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Audio

Listen to Runtown's Surprise Release of His New EP 'Tradition'

#SoundgodBack.

Nigerian star hitmaker Runtown is back with the surprise drop of his latest EP, Tradition. The highly-anticipated 6-song release was due next Friday, but the artist got it all live earlier today.

"My team is probably going to kill me. I honestly tried my best to stick to the plan but I couldn't wait," Runtown mentions. "I have broken the protocols because I want you guys to have the music as quickly as possible. Do me a favor stream the EP until you can sing every song word for word."

Tradition features five new song alongside the previously released "Unleash," a collaboration with UK grime act Fekky.

The EP features production from Del B ("Redemption," "Unleash"), Spellz ("Emotions," "International Badman Killa"), Elputo ("Tradition") and Ransom Beatz ("Goose Bumps"). Overall, Tradition looks to bring the hazy & downtempo sonic world of Runtown's addictive hits like "Mad Over You" and "For Life" to higher levels.

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