Our January issue launches today, and it is filled some gorgeous, necessary words. If you're wondering what inspires our contributors, here's a peek into what they've been playing lately:
Lately whenever I open up my Spotify, I find myself back on a wave on listening to a project that reminds of the best of my childhood or home: Brent Faiyaz's Sonder Son. I also return often to Smino's blkswn, Daniel Caesar's Freudian, and Bruno Mars' 24K Magic (lest I forget the Finesse (Remix) with Cardi B that just dropped and I have been stuck on). Which is to say, not necessarily, that while the artists may or may not be from Chicago, their layered harmonies and synths which have heavy funk and soul influences wash over me and allow me to relax into a rhythm apt for how I believe I write best: exploring aspects I may or may not have planned on delving into. There have been moments, often, where I find myself in sheer joy turning up the volume to its maximum and pausing for hours to appreciate the reversal of a kick drum or a little syncopated ad lib that I may have missed before within the instrumental. There is softness always and so, allowing the music that I revisit to reteach me that has fostered a sort of patience I hope folks that engage with my work can have, while uncovering whatever layers they may find. That being said, I would tell all those reading this to, if you have the time, check out those same artists' earlier work, which have been cool little gems for me as well.
Plenty of driving time over the holidays meant plenty of episodes of On Being with Krista Tippett. If you have ever felt like the world in which we live has spiraled into the shallowest & loudest of septic tanks, Krista Tippett lifts us up with in-depth conversations on what it means to be human. You listen, and it feels very much like the topics she covers (with guests from theologians to social scientists to poets/fiction authors) are The Things everyone should be talking about. It's also refreshing to bear witness to a conversation in which one person is speaking, the other is actively, critically listening.
I am currently listening to my wife’s Labor Mix, which includes some songs like, “No Woman No Cry” by Fugees, “Pig” by Dave Matthews Band, “High Tide or Low Tide” by Bob Marley, “There Will be Time” by Baaba Maal and Mumford and Sons, and “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. I kinda hope the baby, which is due any day now, breaches to Baaba Maal singing in Pulaar because it’s a beautiful language, and my wife’s favorite verse. I think these songs and artists really embody our musical taste—soul, reggae, folk, and alternative.