Jamila Woods LEGACY! LEGACY! Jagjaguwar
Perhaps best known for Blk Girl Soldier, Jamila Woods’ jazzy neo-soul debut album shook the table in the strident political times when it was released. Her sophomore album LEGACY! LEGACY! picks up where 2016’s Heavn left off. Woods is an accomplished poet and scholar outside of her work as a musician, and LEGACY! LEGACY!, an album based around 12 of Woods’ own heroes, sees her as an archaeologist of the writing of others.
BALDWIN directly considers aggressive gentrification and police brutality alongside the quieter, everyday forms of casual racism and anti-blackness. OCTAVIA paces around the colonial canon (“Don’t ever let a textbook scare you”), while on BETTY, Woods confronts the fragility of male gatekeepers, asking, “What is it with you independent men?” without hesitation. Her voice is as smooth as smoke as she slips between singing, rapping and reciting her lyrics like poetry.
Under the glossy veneer of the album’s finessed production is an empathetic, critical and deeply thoughtful exploration of race, gender, blackness and the artists who paved the way for Woods herself.