By Jaelani Turner-Williams
As creatives face restlessness and scheduling adjustments in the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles-basically based totally artist Crimson Siifu saved the initiate date of his unusual album, Negro (styled in all caps), mounted to a time that’s dearest to him — his mother’s birthday. Its promotion goes hand-in-hand with the diaristic structure of the album’s web inform, by which he introduces a melting pot of visuals, hyperlinks to samples on Negro from intimate say memos by family contributors, a clip from 1969 crime film A Spook Who Sat by the Door, and by no methodology-before-considered photos of his family. The collage-fancy nature of the album would possibly per chance furthermore furthermore tie into Siifu’s upbringing. Born Livingston Matthews in Birmingham, Alabama — home of Dark revolutionaries Solar Ra, Angela Davis, and Eddie Kendricks, who impressed a wonderful deal of the political issues on the attend of his work — Siifu has lived in a mess of environments, from Cincinnati to Original York, but has known as East Los Angeles home for the higher share of the closing decade.
At its core, Negro is a collision course of Dark punk experimentation, intersecting between jazz and rap. Or not it is a inviting listen: The album revolves around Dark worry, as Siifu raps about police corruption and community rage, with appearances by singer Reduce Hakim, producer Ted Kamal, and rapper-actor-skater Na-Kel Smith, of Mid90s reputation. Siifu fair not too lengthy within the past urged MTV News he even understanding of getting a Negro present curated by HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness creator Terence Nance.
“[Nance is] the OG big homie. [He has] one of basically the most gorgeous minds,” he stated. “I deserve to meet architects, on yarn of I deserve to win some shit [and] I’ll doubtlessly contain two acts inaugurate up, but it’s gonna be jazz and experimental acts. I need Negro to be an expertise in paunchy-develop.”
While Siifu’s catalog centers on traditionally Dark sounds, his resort to punk song is more confrontational. He dabbled within the genre on his EP fuck(demo}, four tracks of which furthermore appear on Negro, and credit a ragged female friend with introducing him to Dark punk band Outrageous Brains. Siifu soon broadened his musical rotation to enhance his stage presence, listening to hardcore punk band Point to Me the Physique, ragged Standing on the Corner member Slauson Malone, and radical Dark Arts Circulate poet Amiri Baraka. “In case you map to my reveals, I’ll be screaming. There are sure songs that don’t sound fancy that on fable, but that’s fair my power [when I’m] are living incessantly,” Siifu stated, noting his love for the polarizing, prophetic speech in regards to the uplifting of Dark liberation, “It’s Nation Time” by Baraka, who continuously collaborated with the Afrofuturist musician Solar Ra.
“I handled this album fancy I changed into once tapping into some Arkestra shit. I do know I can by no methodology win on Solar Ra’s level, but let me faucet into what he changed into once on. I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t fuck, and fair made this album. [Negro] desired to be conversational on yarn of Dark frustration desires to be heard. It’s OK to be furious. There’s a wonderful deal of stuff going on. This album is controlled chaos.”
Siifu is aloof studying to tempo himself. He’s created below diverse aliases — from his solo initiatives to B. Cool-Relieve, a collaborative project with producer Ahwlee, and his have productions below the moniker Iiye. This time, Negro wanted to be a multimedia initiate. “I truly feel fancy people deem Negro is ready to be fancy [my 2018 album] Ensley, and [they’re] going to impress that I’m not that form of artist. I’m doubtlessly by no methodology going to make the an analogous album twice,” Siifu stated. “I’m making rap albums with my homies, but I don’t know once I’m ever going to make every other solo rap album. I love gumbo. I fancy when shit is mixed.”
Siifu, who’s rising conversant in performing are living as an self sustaining artist, hasn’t contemplated doing a paunchy-fledged tour once preserve-at-home measures are lifted. He’d reasonably form for a window of time, one thing that he says is “gonna be on some gallery shit,” doubtlessly previewed by the make of the Negro web inform. Siifu wouldn’t be by myself in remodeling Negro into performative art, taking a cue from Dark artists fancy Solange, who collaborated with Nance for her accompanying After I Catch Home art film. Negro fits within that framework; Siifu has his sights on collaborating with likeminded artists, irrespective of distance. He’s staying connected alongside with his “unusual Soulquarian” collective of diverse lo-fi rap acts, at the side of Earl Sweatshirt, Mavi, Liv.e, and Mike.“ And Siifu admits to utilizing the quarantine to reflect on his job.
“Everybody’s truly taking this time to win appropriate within themselves, but all of us faucet in fancy, ‘Are you appropriate? Are you home? You acquired meals? Alright, cool.’ We’re so unfold out, [we’re all like] ‘Correct preserve within the home, we’ll stare y’all when this shit over,’” he stated. “I in actual fact contain a documentary to head with the album and I can’t enact it [yet] thanks to this shit. N—-s adapt, [so we] fair gotta develop and push thru the turmoil, regardless. I truly feel fancy Dark people fair push thru, on God.”
While Siifu admires the thriller and social-media aloofness of Flying Lotus, he furthermore appreciates how he spread out and hosted a mini Q&A on Twitter closing year to advertise Flamagra. Siifu, whose social pages are similarly some distance flung, aloof prefers to contain an occasional interview to win his that methodology across, a lot fancy his track-by-track conversation on his 2018 album Ensley. Siifu’s ingenious job is entirely grassroots, and he extends appreciation for song platform Bandcamp, which fair not too lengthy within the past waived its revenue shares for a day so artists would possibly per chance furthermore accumulate 100 percent of gross sales, which Siifu hopes will continue.
“If streaming [services] paid n—-s fancy Bandcamp [does], we’d be outta right here. Just artists would be so appropriate. Bandcamp retains meals in my fridge. [There were] times where I changed into once broke, and all my money changed into once coming from Bandcamp. It changed into once fancy $20 per week, and I wanted that.”
Siifu stated he’s today listening to Jay Electronica’s lengthy-awaited debut A Written Testimony, and he relays a an analogous message on his love for Allah and Dark culture on Negro, hoping that listeners embark on a revolution of their have. “There is a frustration [within] my people, but I need [them] to present thanks and reward whoever is your most high,” he stated. “The relaxation on your existence that it is possible you’ll furthermore be feeling is immoral, fair try to balance that shit.”