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Going H.A.M.: A Track-By-Track Review Of The 'Hamilton' Soundtrack

Broadway's new cult favorite Hamilton switches up the script on American history from a hip-hop POV. Chronicling the life of former United States treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton as told by "America now," according to its star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. To ensure that the creators nailed the contemporary storytelling, the show's composer and producer enlisted the help of The Roots' Questlove.

After migrating from Off-Broadway to the Great White Way in August after a very successful run, Hamilton has hosted special attendees like Carmelo and La La Anthony as well as Madonna and President Barack Obama. For those who can't quite make their way to the Big Apple for the two-hour production can also enjoy the sounds of Hamilton with the hefty two-part, 46-track soundtrack.

Here's VIBE's play-by-play of the Hamilton LP.—Monesha Woods

"Alexander Hamilton"
The album's intro song details Hamilton's upbringing and growing pains. The song's booming instrumental, which features dramatic pauses and guitar strings, outlines the various struggles he faced including his mother's sicknesses, his father's departure from his life as well as his relentless desire to be a part of governmental affairs.

"Aaron Burr, Sir"
This track sees the introduction of Aaron Burr, one of Hamilton's closest friends. The song features a subtle reggae vibe as the slow tempo and beatboxing enhances the pair's discussion of their family lives and aspirations over liquor. The track also includes a late introduction of John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, and Marquis de Lafayette, who meet the duo at the bar. Though their meeting was unlikely, the five men would go on to play significant roles in the Revolutionary War, something the track valiantly sets up.

"My Shot"
The third track is set to an instrumental reminiscent of the '90s as Hamilton, Mulligan, Laurens, and de Lafayette chop it up about their relentless pursuit of success for the rights of all. Despite individual and societal adversities, they detail their plans for victory so that winning is one size fits all.

"The Story of Tonight"
This track features the four friends playing each other's hype man in the name of freedom, something "they could never take away." Hamilton, Mulligan, de Lafayette and Laurens take turns celebrating the special moment of now.

"The Schuyler Sisters"
"The Schuyler Sisters" introduces the trio of sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy, who quickly get the guys hot and bothered. The siblings outline what they;re looking for in a fellow as each of the men tell 'em they have just what they're looking for.

"Farmers Refuted"
The fifth song is a blatant argument as Hamilton goes head-to-head with Samuel Seabury, a loyalist adverse to the American Revolution. As Hamilton digs into the man he says his dog "speaks more eloquently than," listeners are able to take in the quiet yet contemplative instrumental.

"You'll Be Back"
Let King George tell it. His Highness tells his colonists that they will indeed be back as they attempt to leave in pursuit of better things. Though most of the songs on the soundtrack are hip-hop in nature, this one is a sunny, playful take on the airing of grievances in what could be considered Beatles-style.

"Right Hand Man"
The soundtrack returns to its initial 1990s feel as Hamilton details George Washington's need for a ride-or-die while his battle for New York territory runs into a plethora of issues. By song's end, the historic pair meet in an effort to accomplish their different but similar goals.

"A Winter's Ball"
Hamilton & Co. talk shop about bagging women, specifically one of the rich Schuyler sisters. Though these women were told to stay far away from the men, "A Winter's Ball" spotlights the men's fervent belief to get the ladies they desire.

"Helpless" finds Eliza Schuyler falling for Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton's eventual wife does her best Beyoncé impression to detail how he stole her heart as Hamilton pledges to be faithful to his main chick, though he may not have the material wealth she is accustomed to.

Angelica Schuyler raps as fast as Busta Rhymes on the LP's eleventh track, bringing flashbacks of her first conversation with Hamilton. Schuyler reveals how wishes she hadn't "sized" him up because she has feelings for him, emotions that are now null and void after he married her sister, Eliza. "Satisfied" is a love song perfect for today's FM rotation with its contemporary feel and lyrical content.

"The Story of Tonight" (Reprise)
Hamilton and his pals celebrate and tease him on his wedding day, pointing out that if Hamilton can tie the knot, they can, too. They also toast to his accomplishments: "No matter what she tells you, let's have another round on us!"

"Wait For It"
Aaron Burr lifts his own spirits up on "Wait For It." After watching his friend, Alexander Hamilton, succeed both professionally and personally, Burr assures himself through song that his time is coming as he sings, "Life doesn't discriminate between the sinner and the saint."

"Stay Alive"
Hamilton tries to boss up while keep his fighting spirit in tact under Washington's command. The track is set to a quiet, methodical beat, which appears to stress the amount of planning that went into each move.

"Ten Duel Commandments"
Here, Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ten Crack Commandments" influences the fifteenth track, that features Hamilton and the crew outlining the rules for battle over a strong percussive beat. Like Biggie, the men exude dominance for their life-or-death duel.

"Meet Me Inside"
"Meet Me Inside" is a very obvious confrontation between Washington and Hamilton as the latter expresses his frustrations over his superior's ability to remain coolheaded and reserved. Known to be rash, Hamilton argues with Washington about a battle that just took place over a hard-hitting beat.

"That Would Be Enough"
Hamilton's now-pregnant wife, Eliza, expresses how appreciative she is to have love, life and family in "That Would Be Enough." The love song features a guitar and piano to support the sweet words Eliza sings to her husband.

"Guns and Ships"
"Guns and Ships" sounds like a nod to classic Eminem song as Hamilton, Lafayette, Burr and Washington discuss the war and the effort that goes into fighting one. It's also the speediest record on Broadway with 19 words per second.

"History Has Its Eyes On You"
The nineteeth track marks a monumental moment for Hamilton as he finally lands his promotion to command by George Washington. To ring in the momentous occasion, Hamilton passionately sings, "History has its eyes on me."

"Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)"
This song chronicles the last major battle of the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Yorktown. Earlier cut "My Shot" is infused in this track over a tough beat, where listeners can hear the perseverance of the soldiers in war.

"What Comes Next"
"What Comes Next" is a King George solo, where he ponders his next move after the last battle of the Revolutionary War has been fought.

"Dear Theodasia"
Burr and Hamilton sing this fatherly ballad to their children, Theodasia and Philip. "Dear Theodasia" gives the dads a chance to reflect on their childhoods whilst contemplating how to be better with their own kids.

Hamilton and crew being back the reggae style for the last song of the first act of the musical. This song chronicles Hamilton's life from war's end to his promotion to Secretary of the Treasury over an instrumental that Bob Marley would probably be proud of.


"What'd I Miss?"
The first song of the second act features a hearty welcome for Thomas Jefferson, who had been occupied with his roles as governor of Virginia and ambassador to France. After a much hyped return, Jefferson asks over a 1960s swing-style beat what has taken place since his absence.

"Cabinet Battle #1"
The rap flair makes a comeback in "Cabinet Battle #1." Modeled after a rap battle, the meeting of the minds includes Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison finds the squad trying to devise a plan to attack the financial crisis that is bogging the state down.

"Take A Break"
In this song, Eliza encourages her husband to cool out and spend quality time with the fam. The song is a ballad until their nine-year-old son, Philip, beatboxes to daddy dearest about his likes, dislikes and wants to his father's delight.

"Say No to This"
"Say No to This" is the vivid description of Alexander Hamilton stepping out on his wife. In this song, Hamilton makes it clear that he doesn't want to cheat on Eliza with Maria Reynolds but he can't resist, all over a '90s slow jam, Usher-style. This was considered the first major scandal in United States history.

"The Room Where It Happens"
"The Room Where It Happens" chronicles the Compromise of 1790 as told by Aaron Burr over a snazzy, jazzy beat almost to tease his VIP status: "No one else was in the room where it happened."

"Schuyler Defeated"
Here, the Schuyler sisters take the backseat on politics. Hamilton, his wife and son alongside Burr also go in about the changing political dynamics over a 1970s-styled beat.

"Cabinet Battle #2"
The battle continues on as Hamilton and Jefferson disagree on how to go forward in the war between Britain and post-Revolutionary France. Set to a Harlem Shake-ready beat, the disagreement finds George Washington trying to moderate and diffuse tensions between the two.

"Washington On Your Side"
"Washington On Your Side" tries to get Jefferson charged up by having him look at Hamilton and his relationship with Washington through a hateful lens. The conversation begins with policy issues but quickly branches into personal grievances as the two sing, "It must be nice," for Hamilton to have Washington's support.

"One Last Time"
"One Last Time" is the tale of Alexander Hamilton writing George Washington's address on politics before he resigned as president. Washington sings his heart out about national concerns over a sunny instrumental before he hangs it up "one last time."

"I Know Him"
King George confusingly reflects on Washington's resignation over an instrumental made for happy circumstances, which is the complete opposite of the content in "I Know Him."

"The Adams Administration"
"The Adams Administration" details the chaos that erupted post-George Washington. In the song, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams are viciously arguing over a classical instrumental.

"We Know"
Burr, Jefferson, and Madison accuse Hamilton of financial embezzlement on "We Know," prompted by Hamilton's ex-mistress, Maria Reynolds. The story unfolds over a fast-paced instrumental, as Hamilton struggles to maintain his innocence.

"The Hurricane"
The accusations force Hamilton into a public admission of infidelity with Maria Reynolds. As he reflects on his success, the "Hurricane" instrumental rages on, as a mirror to Hamilton's life.

"The Reynolds Pamphlet"
"The Reynolds Pamphlet" soundtracks the aftermath from Hamilton's proclamation of innocence. Still, the song showcases his vivid admission of a three-year affair with Maria Reynolds as welll as the re-entry of Hamilton's sister-in-law, Angelica Schuyler, who trekked from London to support her sister Eliza.

"Burn" is a contemplative ballad sung by Eliza Hamilton as she reacts to her husband's cheating. The sentimental song features Mrs. Hamilton expressing her pain and heartache following the publication of The Reynolds Pamphlet. "By clearing your name, you've ruined our love," she sings.

"Blow Us All Away"
Philip Hamilton is a grown man now and rash like his father. To prove it, he duels with a man, George Eacker, who said some less than positive things about his father. Philip and the man, scheduled to battle in New Jersey, argue over a lighthearted beat as they prepare to throw 'bows.

"Stay Alive (Reprise)"
Philip is talking to his dad in the reprise of "Stay Alive." The sentimental track features the younger Hamilton contemplating his injury over a melancholy instrumental.

"It's Quiet Uptown"
On a hushed instrumental, both Alexander and Eliza Hamilton are grieving their son's death. They reflect on everything that has happened over the course of their lives together as Alexander tries his best to apologize to his wife. "If I could trade his life for mine, that would be enough," Alexander Hamilton said.

"The Election of 1800"
This song discusses the bitter 1800 election that featured Burr vs. Jefferson on the Federalist ballot. Though the election was contentious, the happy-go-lucky beat offers a sharp contrast to their verbal sparring.

"Your Obedient Servant"
"Your Obedient Servant" is an almost facetious depiction of Burr and Hamilton's relationship from Burr's POV. The serious back and forth banter is set to an almost circus-like instrumental.

"Best of Wives and Best of Women"
"Best of Wives and Best of Women" is set to the same melancholy instrumental as "It's Quiet Uptown." The song is simply a conversation between Hamilton and wife Eliza, while showing their improved relationship.

"The World Was Wide Enough"
In "The World Was Wide Enough," Burr and Hamilton battle as planned. It is in this scene that Burr dramatically kills Hamilton after he details how it is that his former friend became his foe while the percussion thumps.

"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"
The last song of the play is "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story." Eliza Hamilton steers the song as she reflects on her life, her marriage to Hamilton and their legacy, which includes the opening of New York City's first private orphanage. The song is set to a reflective yet dramatic instrumental as Hamilton's friends and family close the play with the posing of a simple yet deep question, "Who tells your story?"

Listen to the full Hamilton soundtrack here.

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Review: Jessie Reyez’s Expressive EP Proves There’s Beauty In ‘Being Human In Public’

Jessie Reyez’s recently-released EP Being Human In Public proves that the Toronto musician’s fiery exterior comes with a cool, introspective center. Her 2017 EP Kiddo introduced her to the world as force who was willing to “go there” by singing about major issues like sexual assault and emotionally abusive relationships. This time around, Reyez muses about the softer side of love, displaying her flexibility within the overarching theme.

Much of her latest EP, which dropped Friday (Oct. 19), pertains to the wide range of emotions that come with romantic appreciation. Thanks to her animated performance ability, Reyez encapsulates the complex gamut of the strong emotional state; there’s longing, anger, confusion, confidence and so much more. The 27-year-old songbird’s vocal versatility has gained fans like Kamikaze collaborator Eminem and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and her attention-grabbing abilities are showcased throughout the multi-dimensional seven-song project.

Reyez’s true vocal gifts shine through when paired with more demure production, evident by the EP’s starting track “Saint Nobody” and the stand-out love anthem “Apple Juice,” produced by Tim Suby and Fred Ball. Her effortless falsetto notes at the duration of the aforementioned song are a melodic combination with the strings that finish out the track.

Perhaps the song that best displays Reyez’s tender core is “Sola (Interlude),” which is sung entirely in Spanish. She coos over an acoustic guitar to a lover about how she’s not necessarily the type of woman they should be with—she would be better off sola (alone). The result? A heart-wrenchingly relatable track that could have served best as the EP's stunning finale.

“I'm not the type of woman that your mother wants to see you with,” the lyrics translate to. “I could never please you...I'm an eagle, flying alone.”

While the content throughout Being Human In Public is rather profound in nature, Reyez makes sure that her signature unapologetic delivery to tackling topics through her songwriting is also highlighted. Thanks to assistance from budding music sensation Normani and Grammy-nominated R&B singer Kehlani on the “Body Count (Remix),” all three singers’ stances on body positivity, sex positivity and all forms of love are highlighted.

Additionally, the straightforward “F**k Being Friends,” which is slightly reminiscent of her quirky Kiddo track “Shutter Island,” deals with the occasionally murky divide between courtship and friendship. “My p***y beat better than my heart do?” she sings, “so why you p***y-footin’ on this part two?”

“In every aspect—in my music, in my life—I’m going to be straight with you, and I tell people too, I’m like that,” Reyez told VIBE in April about the importance of being upfront. “I need you to just tell me direct, because if the roles were reversed, I’m the type to tell you direct.” Love is one of the things that connects all of us as people, and if you can’t be real with that, what can you be real about?

Reyez makes sure that her honesty on wax is as plain and simple as it is in her personal life, and Being Human In Public is an audibly-pleasing extension of her personal beliefs and values.

READ MORE: NEXT: Behind The Extraterrestrial Voice, Jessie Reyez Is Human Like The Rest Of Us

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Lupe Fiasco performs as part of the benefit concert, 'Power To The People' at Coliseo Jose M. Agrelot on March 18, 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Gladys Vega/Getty Images)
Photo by Gladys Vega/Getty Images

Lupe Fiasco Eschews Label Drama And Controversy For Ambitious 'Drogas Wave'

In the early 2000s, JAY-Z called Lupe Fiasco “a breath of fresh air” for rap. Most of the hip-hop world agreed. He delivered a standout verse on Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky,” and a well-regarded Food & Liquor studio debut that led rap fans to saint him as an imaginative, skilled lyricist, adept at weaving storytelling, social commentary, sustained metaphors and technical precision together in an A+ package. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for that figurative breath of fresh air to become a sigh.

While crafting his third album Lasers, he began having creative differences with his former label Atlantic Records. Though the album was eventually released — after his fans literally petitioned for it — the struggle derailed what seemed like his inevitable trajectory to the heights of music that stylistic peers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole now occupy.

Lupe’s known in part for his sophomore album, The Cool, but it seems like a good stretch of his career was more defined by the frustration. In 2018, though, Lupe’s finally on the right wave — the Drogas Wave. Lupe dropped his first independent album last week, a 24-track conceptual piece dually exploring the drug trade and the transatlantic slave trade that cap-stoned his own trade of Atlantic Records for artistic freedom.

I really only did this album for solid Lupe fans. The PhD’s in Lupeism. It’s in no way for new fans, the casual listener, record sales, the year 2018 or radio. Just the core fans to have a ball with. https://t.co/N76F5YAeDJ

— “DROGAS WAVE” NOW PLAYING (@LupeFiasco) September 26, 2018

He’s always been a master of conceptualization, weaving thematic, if not narrative-driven connections from verse to verse and song-to-song on albums like Food & Liquor, The Cool, and Tetsuo & Youth. Drogas Wave is among his most ambitious work in that regard. The album, which he’s said was made specifically for his “core fans,” ideates what the rhymer called an alternate, fantastic history of the slave trade in which a group of Africans jumped off a slave ship, survived underwater, and spent their new lives sinking subsequent slave ships.

But he still delves into the reality of what happened on songs like “Manilla,” where he sheds light on the currency that European countries used to purchase slaves from West Africa to build so much of the western world. Looking to unite black and brown people across the Americas, Drogas Wave shows him representing for three communities of African descent cultivated in spite of western colonialism: Latinos, West Indians and Black Americans. He rapped fluent Spanish on “Drogas.” He collaborated with reggae royalty Damian Marley on “Kingdom” and rhymed in patois on “Gold vs. The Right Things to Do.” On the thrilling “King Nas,” he dedicates some of the project’s most impeccable rhyming not to God’s Son, but his two young nephews King and Nas who are coming of age in a treacherous environment for all black people in America.

The album was well-crafted and laden with thought-provoking, research-worthy bars examining the scourges that plunder black and brown communities, but it wasn’t flawless. He utilized over a dozen different producers on the project, which resulted in a few compositions that are less compelling than others. There are also choruses by Nikki Jean on “Down” and Troi Irons on “XO” that felt a tad too eager for mass appeal. But even on those tracks, the invigoration and dedication that Lupe rhymes with make them worthwhile listens.

Drogas Wave shows Lupe on the right track. While so many of his fellow rap veterans were ravenous publicity hounds this year, he spent his online time on Instagram Live, dropping what he called “super facts” about the fallacy of white supremacy and the music industry. He also apologized to people he’s insulted like former President Obama, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and others. Throughout that March apology session, he ended his statements with variations of, “I should have kept that to myself.” Perhaps he’s now in a space that he should have been his entire career: independent and letting his incredible lyricism speak for him.

Lupe always has wisdom to impart, but like his Chicago comrade Kanye West, he doesn’t always communicate his thoughts in the best way. Over time, he developed a reputation for being an easily agitable presence on Twitter. He’s gotten into arguments with Kid Cudi, Azealia Banks, and several others. In 2013, he derogated Donald Glover as a “Black” instead of a “n***a” for arbitrary reasons.

In 2014, when Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was being accused of cultural appropriation because of her put-on “Atlantastralian” accent and racist lyrics, he defended her by saying she had “a space” in hip-hop. That comment made him one of the first victims of the dreaded social media “cancel,” and he lashed out with his own tweetstorm. He tweeted, “b***h I been here on the rooftop screaming in the ears of these brainwashed a** more money on they feet than in they pocket a** n***as,” and also proclaimed, “I'm here...kick pushing you ignant a** n***az and fast trout mouth a** b***hes all the way to the promised land kicking and screaming h**.”

His retorts were based in truth, but sometimes, brutal honesty is just brutality. The tweets typified why Phonte infamously likened Lupe to The Newsroom as a “technically brilliant show that would be a lot smarter if it stopped trying to show people how smart it was.” Compared to Q-Tip’s thoughtful hip-hop treatise to Iggy, Lupe came across like a know-it-all. But at the base of his anger was a frustration with being misunderstood. He incredulously groused, “I thought I was one of the good guys.”

The son of a Black Panther, Lupe had always delivered anti-establishment messaging in his music that hampered his budding status as the “Superstar” he rhymed about in 2007. In 2011, when most of mainstream hip-hop was deifying Barack Obama, Lupe was telling CBS that “the biggest terrorist is Obama and the United States of America” based on America’s warmongering throughout the Middle East, South America and Africa in particular.

His ire toward the country’s tyranny inspired an awkward, 30-minute rendition of the Obama-critical “Words I Never Said” at an inauguration party in D.C., which the show’s organizers called “a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied.” Songs like his “American Terrorist” series display his analytical acuity when it comes to diagnosing the roots of systemic oppression and its consequences, but at that point he seemed unable to properly convey his intellect outside the booth.

Lupe has said that he felt he was “immediately blackballed” after his Obama comments. While Lasers had sold 204,000 copies in its first week, 2012’s Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album was Grammy-nominated, but sold just 128,000 records overall as of 2012. His aforementioned Twitter antics were overshadowing his lyrical gifts, his attempts to drop knowledge were being mocked or misunderstood, and worst of all, he couldn’t release music on his own volition.

He told Power 106 in August 2014 that he was “worn down” by the “nonsense” of dealing with Atlantic, and that “we’re just trying to get albums out just to get off the label.” Months earlier he told Torae that, “I don’t have a 360 deal,” so “since they can’t eat off my merchandise or my publishing or my touring they treat me like a third-class citizen.” Still, he resolved, he’d ”fight through it.”

That determination defines him. While discussing “Mission” from 2015’s Tetsuo & Youth, he reflected, “I’ve been inspired by those who are surviving, thriving and fighting.” Just like he’s been fighting to thrive, in spite of label woes, the backlash from subversive beliefs, and self-sabotage that collectively tarnished his mainstream standing. Others artists have let the industry consume them, but Lupe’s still here, rekindling a musical brilliance that his fans knew he was capable of.

On Drogas Wave’s “Jonylah Forever,” a poignant song that ideates 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, shot dead in 2013, as an adult, he rhymed about how “the coolest thing is when they offered you that high paying slot, you replied ‘they need me in the hood,’ and that's where you reside.” He then talked about her saving a shooting victim, rhyming, “and in that moment, where you gave your help/I bet you didn't know that you saved yourself.”

That powerful summation also applies to him, as an artist who helped others see the light while vying to keep his own spirit alit in a music industry that he mentally “quit” on a decade ago. He told Billboard in 2015 that “I'm happy being that somewhat sophisticated, overly deep weird guy making powerful music — but just two or three degrees away from the center of attention.”

Einstein once mused that, “creativity is intelligence having fun.” It didn’t seem like Lupe was having much fun as a major label artist. But after fulfilling his obligations to Atlantic with Drogas Light, and releasing Drogas Wave independently, he’s revitalized for the next chapter of his career — on his terms.

He recently stated that there would be no interviews for this album cycle because, “I’ve never seen myself as a star and I still don’t.” That makes sense. Stars can’t see themselves, it’s only us spectators who experience the fascination of watching them hover.

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Jack McKain

When It Comes To Both Sound And Sartorial Matters, Masego Has Upgraded To Silk

With his new album 'Lady Lady,' Masego strides into grown and sexy territory.

Masego is a silk man now, or so he tells me. He’s just shaken off the water from his body length PUMA coat, where a committed Reykjavik crowd braved an Icelandic “summer” rainstorm for him. Plastic bags are tied securely over his flashy sneakers, because he isn’t messing them up in the visible mud puddles cratering the city’s Laugardalshöll sporting grounds.

It’s a far cry from when we first met in Brooklyn, New York two years ago, where the then-22-year-old was pigging out at Peter’s Since 1969 before a packed Webster Hall show (R.I.P.), dressed in a multicolored velvet robe, busy blue Hawaiian shirt and basketball shorts that matched neither.

He’s almost embarrassed at the memory. “Why did you allow that?” he asks now, shaking his head. “I wanted the cover of The Fader and that's what I thought it would take. I was trying to out-weird n***as.” Masego, now 25, has not only learned from his sartorial flubs, but has overcome the mild insecurities that inspired them. “I was in this weird battle with people I didn't know and then I started to get more comfortable,” he says. “Get that silk.”

Masego 2.0 is upon us, and his grown and sexy debut album, Lady Lady, is the proof in the pudding. Right from the jump of the 13-track project, released on Sept. 7 (an admittedly somber day for music lovers), the “Silk…” opening instrumental makes it crystal-clear that his intention is to soothe and to woo.

His charm and playful sensuality come to the forefront on smooth tracks like “I Had A Vision,” the SiR-assisted “Old Age” (which also features Instagram comedian Renny) and the freestyled “Queen Tings” featuring SiR’s cousin, Tiffany Gouche. However, hip-hop and trap fans aren’t left out of the equation. Cuts like “Shawty Fishin (Blame The Net)," and “Lavish Lullaby” pair slick bars with enough knock and bass to soundtrack road trips as well as coax wallflowers onto the dance floor with a partner.

In the time between the release of his 2016 freebie project, Loose Thoughts, and now, Masego has seen some world. Frequent exposure to different pin drops across the globe and the creatives who live there bolstered his sound in exciting ways, giving way to some of Lady Lady’s standout selections. It’s an understatement to say that the LP’s instrumentation and production handiwork magnify his spotlight.

Take a look at the album’s supernova of a single “Tadow,” brought into full fruition during a jam session with French multi-hyphenate musician, FKJ. “I feel like the overseas travel is the inspiration. It kind of builds up and then when I get a chance to sit down, it just comes out,” he says. “I knew I was going to South Africa and then I sat down and we just free-styled, planted some beats, making stuff and then ‘Queen Tings’ was just freestyled. With ‘Tadow,’ on the plane ride to Paris I was watching a Fresh Prince marathon. You know the one where he slept with Janice? That was mad funny to me so that was the last thing in my spirit.”

Then on the album’s slow-burning title track, full-bodied lyrics are an afterthought. Instead, sensual scats and truncated mutters carried along the notes of his sax dim the lights, while velvety vocals crook the finger at his lady-to-be. "If you classy but you're reckless/Then you gon' get choose a necklace, lady lady," he coos, no stranger to slick talk.

“Everything kind of goes back to my uncles,” he says, reflecting on how the idea for “Lady Lady” came about during a family visit. “After going to Jamaica, I understand why they're so cool naturally. My Southern uncles, they got this Southern respect and there's a more pimp-ish side to my father's side and so that kind of comes together with ‘Lady Lady.’ It’s like ‘Lady Lady’ could mean… it’s like almost saying, ‘Hey love.’ It could be a potential love on that level or 'this my girlfriend,' you know what I'm saying?”

Within his short career, Maségo has remained unmarried to just one scope of music. The singer-songwriter and saxophone savant floats between jazz, hip-hop, and R&B (and the occasional trap) from song to song as freely as he pleases, but he's in his bag the most when they meld together. In his eyes, Lady Lady is the perfect cocktail of that, showcasing his creative maturation and slight pivot from the Pink Polo EP-era Masego fans are used to. “After my glow up stage is done, I want to just go off wherever Adele is chilling right now,” Masego jokes. “I want to like just be in the thick of things. I think [Lady Lady] is going to be lovely in the sense of it’s going to give you that next threshold."

READ MORE: Quincy Jones Gives Masego Advice On How To Become A Living Legend

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