#HumpdayHymnal: ‘Black and White America’ Mixtape [Review]
2012 is still new enough for us to be pushing the ‘fresh start’ agenda and our music man, Lawrence, is back to do just that! For his first review of the year, Law downright smashes the ‘box’ as he introduces us to Lenny Kravitz’s latest (and free!) offering.
I missed the boat on my ‘best albums of 2011’ review :(, so I’ll let it slide. Anyway welcome back y’all; new year and some of you still do those new year’s resolutions…well I’m on that, just make it a memorable year – try something new, take a different route to work, a new diet, drink more water, read more DO SOMETHING!!
While we are at it, I guess it’s safe to expose my vast musical tastes; the first review of the year is from an artist who I think needs no introduction, Lenny Kravitz (standing ova)! This boy crazy!! If you don’t know Lenny, then make it a point that this year you get out from under that rock. Expand your musical tastes; teach your ears new things.
A brief understanding of my rock experience: I go as far back as the Human League, John Cougar Mellencamp, Journey, Kim Carnes, The Bangles, Nirvana, Queen and so forth. So I grew up on 80s and 90s Rock. I am a real hippie, I tell you!
This album for me is a musical masterpiece – not for the musically weak. It’s a seamless blend of sounds from all genres of all ages. I can’t possibly review each track individually without mentioning the track before and after. Its sounds range from pop to rock to soul with elements of jazz infused in like a good herbal drink that takes you places and spaces [Ed: Just any old kinda ‘herbal’, huh? Chamomile ain’t never took me NOWHERE!].
With appearances from Jay Z, Drake and Dj Military, you should expect something well thought out. This mixtape, by the way, is a MIXTAPE!! Yes a mixed tape of ROCK; how crazy is that? The album, in its original form, has been available since last year. But on this mixtape he took the original album and flipped it, re-edited some of the tracks and came up with this brilliance for free… yes, only frees ninety nine.
Only truly possible with the brilliance and mad experienced dopeness of Peace Bisquit productions (dudes have done everything for big names like Beyoncé, Radiohead, Foster the People, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Passion Pit, Mariah Carey and many others. Actually this is a good time for yall to jump on this team, Google them!), this is the most eclectic versatile sixty minutes I have heard this year.
‘Come On Get It’ introduces the mixtape. On the second listen I was taken aback by horns that sound like they should be in a jazz club being chased by guitar riffs with Lenny riding on it loud like the bad boy he is. ‘Everything (RedTop Re-edit)’ takes me back to 70s and late 80s rock and the early tracks Lenny did – a throwback track with enough funk in its pinkie to blow the lid off the entire industry’s ‘swag’.
‘Stand (Count De Money Re-edit)’ jumps in like a house track – perfectly mixed, lyrically beautiful. ‘In The Black’ is mixed in with guitar riffs that already had me ready to dive off my couch into an invisible crowd…*ahem* mainly the tiles on my floor. ‘Rock Star City Life (RedTop Re-edit) ‘ has got that John Cougar (Thundering Hearts) feel to it, and just when you think you have reached the climax this neo soul/old funk track, ‘Sunflower’ featuring Drake (RedTop and Tony Sap Re-edit), kicks in. The drum pattern and cowbells throw you off and the eerie synth introduces that sunflower flavour… Damn…! and of course there’s Drake – always have faith in this kid; he can do far more than emo rap and RnB.
‘Superlove (RedTop Re-edit)’, ‘Life Ain’t Ever Been Better Than It Is Now (Angelo Pepe Skordos Re-Edit)’, make a perfect pastry for ’Boongie Drop’ featuring Jay Z and DJ Military (RedTop Re-edit). Of course Jigga fills this pastry and lyrically bakes it to perfection.
‘Liquid Jesus’ is a melodic dessert – sweet indeed. It is most likely my favourite song on the album. ‘I Can’t Be Without You (Craig C. Re-edit)’ is a strong contender for second favourite song, it has that stadium-like Queen feel and sound; while ‘Black & White America’ and ‘Looking Back on Love’ end off this compilation and wind it down all so magically.
Oh yes… if you want the original tracks BUY the original album by the same name. For this, however, you can get it here.