I Can't Call It: Here - Alicia Keys

Posted On Wednesday, November 23, 2016

There are a lot of things that I don't understand about the game, but one of the biggest things I don't get is the unadulterated hate when it comes to Alicia Keys. It's like if you say shorty's name in a room full of people you can bet money somebody's gonna have something negative to say. "I don't like Alicia Keys cause she's a biter." But ummm...so is Jay Z and ya'll LOVE him smdh. "Keys be stealing other artists music." And so does your favorite producer but ya'll walk around with J Dilla Changed My Life Tshirts on. "She can't sing." I mean, nah she's not Patti La Belle but stop acting like shorty sounds like a dying cat. "I don't like her cause she took Swizz from Mashonda when he was still a married man." Yeah and so did your best friend Tasha but you're still at happy hour with her everyday and you're going to her baby shower next weekend. See, that's why I call it hate. Because if I ask folk who are their 5 favorite artists now, I'm sure I could say at least one of the things they hate about Keys about them too but for some reason it's all good when it comes to them. Ya'll see why I'm left scratching my head? I mean, is it the whole light skin thing? Is it the no make up thing? Cause don't act like "Fallin" wasn't the shit. Or when "You Don't Know My Name came on you weren't singing your heart out. And don't front like ya'll didn't rock with "Unbreakable." So seriously why the hate? Well, neither here no there cause like my dude said in "The Interview", "they hate us, cause they ain't us." I don't know, maybe ya'll used to take piano lessons back in the day but you wasn't any good so every time ya'll see Keys on the piano it brings back some childhood trauma. Maybe ya'll wanted to scoop Swizz from Mashonda and Keys beat ya'll to it? I don't know what it is but now that we got a damn nazi as president can ya'll PLEASE transfer some of this Keys hate over towards the White House? And maybe, just maybe her new album "Here" that's on tap can also help to stop some of this hate.

"Here" sets off with "The Gospel" which has Keys putting on her MC hat to break down what's going in the hood nowadays, "we all got children, products of the ghetto, momma cooked the soup daddy did the yelling/uncle was a drunk, cousin was a felon, when he got pitched, he told them he wasn't tellin/auntie was a cook her husband was a crook, cause every job he had they be payin' him off the books/ghetto university knowledge is all it took, in a tenement I was listenin' to the hook/change gon' come the spirit of Sam Cooke, when the feds comin' everybody be shook/now we doin' life like Eddie Murphy and Martin/on the chain gang I was singing into the coffin." "Pawn It All" is a BANGER that brings that bounce to the party using the Joe Farrell drum break made famous by Tribe's "Verses From the Abstract" and has Keys breaking down what she would give up to get her life back, "Kill Your Mama" breaks down how we're destroying the earth while "Illusion of Bliss" is a sick soulful gospeldelic masterpiece. "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)" is an open letter to Swizz' son about being his step mom and will probably be the national anthem for blended families, "Work On It" bangs and is about the work you gotta put into your relationship to make it work while "Girl Can't Be Herself" keeps pluggin' away at Key's "no makeup" campaign and touches on insecurities that a rack of women deal with on an everyday basis.

"More Then We Know" is so dope and has Keys challenging us to keep on pushing through these hard times, "Where Do We Begin Now" got that knock to it and has Keys wondering how the world would look at her if she was kicking it with another woman and "Holy War" is Keys challenging us to spread more love in this world. "So we can heal each other and feel each other, we can break this walls between each other/baby blow by blow and brick by brick, keep yourself open, yourself open/maybe we should love somebody, maybe we could care a little more." "Hallelujah" is SO dope and has Keys pleading to God to let her in the kingdom, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah let me in, I've been praying but paying for my sins/won't you give me a sign before I lose my mind/Hallelujah let me in" and the album ends with one of Key's DOPEST uptempo bangers ever with "In Common" which also has some of my fave lyrics, "who wants to love somebody like me? You wanna love somebody like me? If you could love somebody like me you must be messed up too." Come on ya'll don't front, that line is soooooooo dope!

But my fave banger on "Here" is "She Don't Really Care/One Love." First off, it's damn near impossible to mess up any song that samples the Little Feet break made famous by Tribe's "Bonita Applebum" but then when you add on Keys telling about a shorty from NYC who's all city who's linking with all of the wrong people for all of the wrong reasons it just makes it that much doper. "She grew up in Brooklyn, she grew up in Harlem, she grew up in Bronx, she knew she was a queen, she lived in Queens/but she don't really care, she don't really care she want those diamonds in her ears" and when the song flips into Nas' "One Love" things only get doper. I'll tell ya'll this, it's gonna be hard for the Keys haters to front on "Here" cause all it does is add to her already dope discography. And if I had to rank it against her body of work, I'd have to put it right after "Songs..." and "Diary..." And when you think about it, that's a REAL dope placement for an artists' 6th album after being in this game 15+ years. It's like L said, "don't call it a comeback, I been here for years" and the same goes for Keys but at the end of the day, haters gonna hate cause that's just what they do right?

3.5 outta 5 mics

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