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.

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Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

In Conversation: Mafikizolo Speaks on a Legacy of Creating Unforgettable African Anthems

The South African duo talks about their big break, their smash hits, and what the next decade looks like.

Mafikizolo is the iconic South African duo comprising Nhlanhla Ncize and Theo Kgosinkwe. After bursting onto the scene back in the late 90s under the tutelage of veteran artist and record producer Oskido, the Afro-pop duo has given South Africans (and Africans) unforgettable anthems over the past two decades. It's indisputable that their wildly successful 2003 hit "Emlanjeni" set the standard for African love songs while their 2007 hit "Ndihamba Nawe" has become a staple at almost every wedding celebration across the continent.

With nine studio albums under their belt, and another album set to be released next year, the duo continues to produce hit records with an ever-evolving sound. For them, it's about creating a lasting musical legacy that will remain relevant and endearing long after they've left the music scene. Their collaborations with equally incredible artists including Tresor, DJ Maphorisa and Davido (to name but a few), are a testament to that legacy.

However, the duo admits that it wasn't an easy journey. It took three albums for them to start becoming a household name in South Africa and even that was almost cut short after they were involved in a horrific road accident in the early 2000s.

Following a string of awards, like the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) and MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), to name a few, Mafikizolo have their sights set on even bigger musical feats for the coming decade. We sat down with them at Universal Studios to talk about their careers first as individual artists and hen as a duo, their musical journey thus far and what they still have in store for their fans.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photos: How La Sunday Became Abidjan's Favorite Party

Faced with a lack of party options, a group of friends in Côte d'Ivoire sought to revolutionize the way their city turns up.

The opening line of DJ Arafat's hit song "Maman Sery" plays and the people on stage scream it as loudly as the crowd facing them below. Lighted phones are up in the air. Where some strangers embrace one another, others clutch their chests. The setting? A garden in Abidjan's commune of Cocody on a Sunday night.

Sundays in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire had always been reserved for beach trips and family time. All of this changed dramatically in December of 2018 when Fayçal Lazraq, Lionel Obam, Aurore Aoussi, Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, and Aziz Doumbia, better known as Bain de Foule Creative Studio created La Sunday and it took Abidan by storm.

According to Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, co-founder of La Sunday, "The idea was to create an alternative event for fun amongst friends." The differentiating factor here was these "friends" weren't just anyone; they were trendsetters at the epicenter of Abidjan's bustling creative scene. Shares from these creatives were instrumental in creating the engagement surrounding La Sunday and its subsequent expansion.

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Interview
Merry-Lynn. Photo courtesy of the artist.

You Need This Merry-Lynn EP In Your Life

Interview: Rising R&B newcomer Merry-Lynn's Petrichor EP is a breath of fresh air.

Iyere-Eke Merrylynn Ehinomen, also known as Merry-Lynn, is a rising singer and songwriter based in Abuja, Nigeria. She recently released her debut EP, Petrichor, which presents a masterful blend of reggae and R&B with a modern twist across its six tracks.

Drawing you in with its resonant bass line and alluring vocals, EP opener "Skin," is a major head-bopper. Merry-Lynn pours her heart out over the rippling guitar chords singing "When you gonna call me baby?/ Or don't you think about me lately?" Before you know it you're midway through the sultry and euphoric cut, "Temptation," and fully locked-in to this musical experience.

In "Boy Tears" the young singer, who was born in 1997, graces us with vivid lyricism and audacious delivery as she rhymes "too" and "fooled," enriching each line with subtle nuance. She also enlists Nigerian hitmaker King Perryy on the melancholic heartbreak tune "911"—a remixed version of the original track that was released earlier in the year

Merry-Lynn's decision to work exclusively with Nigerian producer Veen on the project seemingly enabled her to truly experiment and find the distinctive sound that sets her apart from the crowd. Emotionally rich and enlightened, this tape is a smooth sonic ride for any lover of good music. There's no doubt that, with Petrichor, Merry-Lynn has delivered a reliably-solid debut.

We got to know the R&B newcomer a little bit more in a recent interview below.

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Tiwa Savage "Owo Mi Da" cover.

Tiwa Savage Drops Two New Songs 'Owo Mi Da' & 'Attention'

The Nigerian star has shared two new bangers—"Owo Mi Da" and "Attention"—a day early due to leaks.

Tiwa Savage has returned with not-one-but-two new singles, "Owo Mi Da" and "Attention."

While the tracks were originally slated to drop tomorrow, Wednesday, the Nigerian superstar rushed released them due to leaks. "You guys couldn't wait na so my songs don leak o .... FUCK IT OUT NOW," Tiwa wrote on her social pages.

The addictive and upbeat "Owo Mi Da" was co-written by fellow Nigerian hitmaker Olamide and produced by Pheelz.

Video: Tiwa Savage On Female Artists Having to Work Twice As Hard

The smoother "Attention" is a song aimed at a man who isn't taking enough notice of his woman. " I guarantee all the ladies will know the lyrics to this one word for word," Tiwa wrote about the track. It was produced by Blaqjerzee.

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