Solange Knowles Carries Melanin, Music Legacy

By Ryan Hartley, Photography Editor

One of our melanin queens, Solange Knowles, is back in the game with the release of her latest album titled “When I Get Home,” featuring themes and sounds that are prideful examples of black excellence and providing an opportunity for a discussion about equality in our modern day society.

A singer/songwriter, Solange Knowles is a beast of a creative mind with a determination like no other.

Solange poses for her press photos in release of her new album, “When I Get Home.”
Photograph by Max Herschberger

For years, Knowles continued to drop music with very little weight in terms of commercial success, especially with a disappointing result from her 2012 EP, “True.”

However, back in 2016, Knowles released her breakthrough full-length album “A Seat at the Table,” catapulting her into the limelight.

Social commentary and smooth instrumentals allowed the record to be one of the best of 2016 with a conceptual atmosphere.

With the murky, yet driving beats of the tracks included on “When I Get Home,” Solange is able to show how black entertainers can be conceptual, intricate and meaningful in their artistic decisions; qualities often denied to them in today’s world of restraint on minority groups.

The songs on the record often emphasize on moods and vibes that can only be emoted from music that truly has a message.

Knowles’ subtle voice is often associated with her songs that rely heavily on instrumental, but on “WIGH,” the songs focus primarily on more stark instrumentals compared to her past work, and her voice has to carry the weight of many songs.

Successfully, Knowles is able to carry the musicality of the album with her voice and provide tighter instrumentation in this record, something new for her in terms of stylistic choices.

Her embrace of newer hip-hop references in combination with classic R&B allows for a different type of sound.

The groovy track “Stay Flo” has a nice, soft beat with an amazingly “chill” atmosphere.

Knowles’ delivery on the track is curt, yet soothing to the needs of die-hard R&B fans.

“Dreams,” a song that has reached her top five most popular tracks on Spotify provides listeners with a heavy bass and cool instrumentation.

“Almeda,” a track many fans label the most successful triumph of the album, features themes of black culture with springy bass lines and insightful lyrics reading:

Brown liquor

Brown sugar, brown face

Brown liquor

Brown sugar, brown braids

Black skin

Black Benz, black plays

Black molasses, blackberry the masses…”

This is the track list of “When I Get Home” released on in the release of Solange’s new album.
Photograph via @solangeknowles via twitter

Arguably the most memorable aspect of the hype behind the album, is her incorporation of the outdated website

NPR reports on the record and Knowles’ use of the early social-networking sight leading up to the release of the album on March 1.

The release was preceded by a takeover of the early-aughts social networking site, where the 32-year-old artist shared photographs and snippets of video depicting contrasting facets of Southern black life, presented in her signature, simultaneously avant-garde and down-home demeanor; chromed-out cowboy boots paired with bustiers, cornrowed black beauties, vintage Cadillacs, perfectly laid and purposely wack wigs, strippers busting splits on the pole, cowboys waiting on the rails of the bullpen,” said ___

The self-directed visual for “Almeda” provided viewers with an interesting look into her own mind.

Featuring all black models, the visual sets the tone for the need for heavier representation of minority groups in our media and fits her intentions seamlessly.

Born in Houston, TX, Knowles now lives in New Orleans, LA and is outspoken of her own career being separated from family members as she has obtained a her own unique vision of music and art she wishes to create.

Billboard Women in Music awarded the singer/songwriter with the “Impact Award” in 2011, and often credits her style of artistry to influences the likes of “The Supremes.”

Solange poses for her press photos in release of her new album, “When I Get Home.”
Photograph by Max Herschberger

It is obvious that Knowles continues to affect others with her music, and will forever be a staple to the movement towards equal recognition in the entertainment industry, whilst paving her own way in a world full of generic, lackluster performances from manufactured artists.

Solange really did for the Cancers, a zodiac sign, providing listeners with an intellectual experience in music.

The album is available for streaming on all music applications like Spotify and Apple Music.