I won’t lie, I’m ecstatic this album exists. As an Eric Roberson fan–who was left desiring more at his last concert–I am happy to say that this album is restoring my faith in him and his artistry. My goal is not to undermine the obvious genius of Phonte, the former one third of Little Brother, who is dynamic on the album, but I am just so happy that Roberson is in his best form and element on the album.
A nice way of experiencing the album has been for me to think of it as the seasons of falling in love. It starts in summer when everything naturally feels lighter, easier, freer. You meet a beautiful woman who effortlessly grabs your attention–of course you’re going to work on getting to know her better. That’s how the album begins, with “It’s so Easy,” “Thru the Night” and “My Kinda Lady” reminding you of the estacy of summer.
From the first strum of melody you find yourself immediately serenaded by the seductive and sultry tune “It’s so Easy.” “Thru the Night” is the song you throw on when you have that boo you’ve been courting, and you’ve kind of been BSing and not really giving her the time of day; it’s the song you play when you decide you’re finally ready to make it exclusive. The beat is upbeat and can easily be paired with a glass of wine, or your favorite nightcap.
Then fall/autumn makes an appearance. The weather is a little crisper…all the better to snuggle. It’s almost cuffing season, her better qualities are glowing and you find yourself completely enamored with this woman. “Hold Tight” and “Grow This Love” are the songs that most accurately reflect this infatuation.
I love all the songs on the album, but “Grow This Love” is without question my favorite. It covers so much I’ve been writing, and contemplating writing, on my “Staying in Love” page of this website. Dating sometimes seems to be more complicated now that we’re all getting older, due to the fact that we’re actively building partnerships together and working on laying the platform for a solid future and foundation. Yet through all of that potential stress, the song is able to simplify it to a beautiful question, “I’m ready to grow this here love, how about you?”
Now, we move into winter. The air moves from crisp to sometimes bone chilling. If you’re from Chicago, like me, then you know exactly how brutal winter winds can be. You are somewhat comfortable with this woman, but now doubts and potential insecurities begin to rear their ugly head. Is this the woman for you? Are you making the right decision? Have you fully unpacked and dealt with the baggage of your last relationship? How can you be sure of any of it? Are you ready to love again? These ideas are expressed in the songs “Never the Same Smile” and “Waiting 4 Ya.”
Finally, the beauty of spring is here. Where things that have died are gone, and new beauty takes its place. You have processed through your doubts and she has worked through her worries. You two are willing to give it a true go to grow together, with hopefully a solid foundation that you have established in place. If you’re in this stage of relationship development, then “Lie to Me” and “3:45” are your tracks. “3:45” is the song that tickles “I see no one but you” with your tongue across your lovers body each and every time!
To bring it all together you come full circle to arrive back in the sunshine of summer with “Something” as the perfect closing number. You were wise enough to take advantage of what was before you, and you are so grateful you were able to recognize what was designed for you.
This album takes what Jay-Z and the Pedophile did with The Best of Both Worlds and goes far beyond. Imagine less hip-hop, more soul. Less let me fuck you right, more let me love you down. Imagine kissing the woman of dreams knowing that she is undoubtedly as real as what she seems (nod to J. Cole).
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes
Ms. Malcolm Hughes is the editor-in-chief of For Your Black? Conscious. She is a Chicago, IL native–from the city, not the suburbs–strategizing in Washington, D.C. She strives every day not to disappoint or defer the dreams of her 13 year old self. Because at that age, more than any other, she just wanted to see her people win. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter @fybconscious.