On our Lists this week: Ambrose Akinmusire, 4:44 and The Defiant Ones


JAY-Z: 4.44. I really had no choice, what with Kwanele Sosibo’s and Van-Go’s endless banter about it (see Page 6 of Friday). I wanted to wait for the hype wave to subside before listening to it — it’s not bad. And after watching JAY-Z’s short film Footnotes, which is about this album, I can say, as a body of work, it’s well rounded and impactful because, like Lemonade, it’s more about the embellishments surrounding the artists’ names than the music. I probably need to get used to the music. (MB)

Ambrose Akinmusire: A Rift in Decorum (Live at the Village Vanguard). The title is a really good description of what is inside. One of the reasons I hate book launches is the level of decorum involved. Ambrose feels my pain. He plays as if he had one show in which to make a statement and he nails it. I have never heard the trumpet sound as it does here. He leads from the front but his charges are right with him. (KS)

The Defiant Ones (documentary). I couldn’t care less about Jimmy Iovine’s life story, or Dre’s for that matter. My peers raised me on NWA. What is worth noting here is that Dre, perhaps a little too late, extends an olive branch to former Pump It Up show host Dee Barnes, whom he smashed against a wall in the 1990s and who still suffers migraines from his vicious act. His apology sounds authentic, and she accepts it. (KS)


Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist. A friend of mine in Australia had the career-defining moment of interviewing Professor Roxane Gay. My friend’s relentless gushing about Gay made me download Bad Feminist, her 2014 collection of essays about how difficult it can be to reconcile with the enjoyable elements of problematic and anti-feminist pop-cultural things. I’m reading an essay about the Sweet Valley High series and reconfiguring my memories of standard six. (MB)

The Lists are compiled by Friday editor Milisuthando Bongela and arts writer
Kwanele Sosibo

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