On our Lists this week: Loving Vincent, Sibusile Xaba, and Craig Mack
THE PLAY LIST
Open Letter to Adoniah by Sibusile Xaba: I don’t even know where to begin and where to end with this album, which I am enjoying in side A and side B format on vinyl. A prayer, a benediction and an ode to the other side is what it feels like.
Xaba’s voice as umhlabeli has a numinous quality to it as it draws you further and further into a deeper registration of the everyday.
Loving Vincent: A master artist remembered in 65 000 spellbinding paintings in one of the most touching and beautiful films I have ever seen. (MB)
Green Eyes by Erykah Badu: It’s the sort of week when I don’t think I have the capacity to engage fully with anything new, so I’m digging into the old stuff for a familiar vibe. I’ve always loved this song because there are minimal instruments and the lyrics are easy to sing along to. No profound reasons — I just like how Erykah’s voice and mine sound together. (ZH)
Tambourine by Chris Rock: There’s something stilted about Chris Rock’s Netflix special that is probably not at all about the content. I think it’s just his plodding temperament, where is he trying to walk the fine line between respectability and edge. After Dave Chappelle’s most recent Netflix specials and Katt Williams’s interesting, sweat-drenched one from Jacksonville, you’re dead in the water, Chris. Go hard or go home, bud. (KS)
Craig Mack (RIP). There is so much more to Craig Mack’s story than meets the eye. He was important to the re-emergence of New York on the United States rap radar, with a flow that remains original to this day. The first artist to release music on the Sean Combs-owned Bad Boy label, Mack fell under the shadow of the more bankable star Biggie, because of creative differences with Combs. He defined the essence of 1990s hip-hop futurism, with much of his debut album produced by the underappreciated funk maestro Easy Mo Bee. Rest in eternal peace. (KS)
THE READING LIST
National Geographic: The Race Issue. I read this month’s editorial for National Geographic with great interest. The headline alone was enough to make me pay attention after I stopped reading the magazine in high school because of something I had not developed the language to describe. “For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above our past, we must acknowledge it.” Vowing to do better, editor Susan Goldberg sets the tone for The Race Issue, in which the magazine unpacks the myriad ways in which, for 130 years, it has relied on and perpetuated racist tropes in writing about, photographing and documenting the existence of thousands of peoples from around the world. For now I’m reading on the website, but if I happen on a physical copy, I’ll check it out. (MB)
The Lists were compiled by Milisuthando Bongela, Kwanele Sosibo and Zaza Hlalethwa