With Coachella behind us, we can settle back into our typical weekend routines. Appropriately, this week's recommendations include a couple of familiar names.
Kevin Morby - Oh My God
Three years ago, Kevin Morby felt like he was in the inferno of hell. He returned from tour to find his adopted home of Los Angeles on ‘fire.’ He had broken up with his partner, so was subletting a stranger's house, and Donald trump was about to be confirmed as the Republican presidential nominee. 2016 is also the same year of the mass shootings at Bataclan in Paris and Pulse Night club in Orlando, as well as the death of Freddie Gray. Morby read the news during that time and thought these three things: "Holy Shit. Jesus Christ. Oh My God." He’s stated, "I couldn't turn my brain off...I couldn't turn the world off." These circumstances gave birth to an album that's unlike any other he's done before.
Oh My God is an ambitious album that both exposes and questions, while also affirming and negating all matters regarding our culture's relationship with God. It's a 50-minute exploration of deep, sacred introspection. Including, our casual use of the phrase, "Oh my God." Take look at the visuals for "No Halo.” Oh My God is out today.
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
In 2014, Lizzo appeared in the web series What's the Underneath Project. In her episode, titled "The Truth About Self-Acceptance," she sits on a stool before a brick wall and speaks honestly about her personal evolution regarding her self-image. All the while, she's disrobing one piece of clothing at a time. First, her plaid shirt; then her retro Jordans; and next, her beanie. This continues until she's just wearing a bra and panties. This literal act of shedding, and in such a vulnerable way, revealed a source of courage that would go on to shape her life and art.
This experience compelled Lizzo to write "My Skin," the breakthrough rap-ballad from her 2015 album Big Grrrl Small World. In an accompanying essay, she described the song as "a summoning of bodies: all shapes, sizes, and shades to unite in their pride, and wear their skin like the gift it is." Since then, she has continued to refine that insight, making her a role model for millions who don't look like models.
Lizzo's new album Cuz I Love You is the sonic apex of her body-positive revelations. With that in mind, the title track is not only about the love of another but it also serves as a self-mantra.
By the way, the girl is a powerhouse entertainer too! She raps, sings and plays the flute. As my fellow KCRW DJ Travis Holcombe recently said after returning from Coachella, "Of all the acts I saw, I feel like Lizzo has the greatest potential to make the leap from daytime act to headliner in 5 years." Check out the title track and her episode of What's the Underneath Project.
Slick Rick - The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (Deluxe Edition)
November 1st, 1988, Slick Rick cemented his name in hip-hop history with The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Remember "Hey Young World?" How about "Teenage Love?" Can't forget about "Mona Lisa" and of course, one of the most iconic songs in hip-hop history, "Children's Story."
Today, Rick the Ruler is re-releasing a newly remastered version of his magnum opus. The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (Deluxe Edition) is out today and includes demo versions of all the aforementioned classics. Also, you'll find "Snakes of the World Today" which never made the original album. Check it out.