Unfortunately, living under the shadow of your sibling is a problem many face, whether they be a celebrity or not. Solange, younger sister to Beyonce, had spent a majority of her time in the limelight through events affiliated with her sister (some may be familiar with the “hitting JAY Z in an elevator” scandal).
But recent events took a turn for the better; Solange dropped her junior album, A Seat at the Table, on September 30th, which soon became Billboard’s number one album, a personal achievement of hers.
Her 21-track album would usually be generalized under the R&B genre, but personally, that does not accurately depict all that the album has to offer. She features a broad variety of familiar artists like Lil Wayne and Kelly Rowland, but also incorporates new voices such as Samphra and Kaelea. Her songs pay homage to social issues or topics close to her personal struggles to “find herself.” Her track, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” expands on those who ask to touch a woman of color’s hair, but fail to recognize it is a “racial microaggression hidden under the form of a compliment,” Solange explains. Track 13, “F.U.B.U.,” is after a clothing company that was widely known around the hip-hop community, and is a power anthem for African Americans who have, and are trying, to make a name for themselves.
Aside from the context of her music, another aspect that is crucial to her variety of creative expression are her videos. The “Cranes in the Sky” video became viral on social media, which ended up being a great promotional step-up for her album. The video takes place in six settings, all around nature or rooms of minimal design, giving off an aesthetically pleasing theme that represents a natural beauty that parallels her songs. Solange’s husband, Alan Ferguson, contributed to her works by directing her videos (to whom she has constantly thanked via social media—talk about a cute couple).
A Seat At The Table has received plenty of congratulations from other artists, as well. Blood Orange’s Devonte Haynes, a close friend to Solange, commented on his Instagram, “The number 1 album in America has never been more deserving.”
I highly recommend this album to those who favor soulful music; her fluttering voice contributes to the mellow mood present throughout her songs. Solange takes R&B/soul to a new level, showing us that a raspy voice isn’t always needed from a female soul album. She really exposed her true values as an artist through her songs, but even more so, allowed us all to associate her as the independent Knowles we always knew she was.
LAURA POPESCU | KXSU DJ + Guest Writer