Georgia Anne Muldrow is a Los Angeles born R&B and neo-soul artist. Well known for her silky, expressive vocals, she is also a respected producer, making her own music and her own beats. Her new release, ‘A Thoughtiverse Unmarred’ is her fifteenth full length album, for the first time produced by someone other than herself, Chris Keys. This record shows Muldrow on a confident crusade into the world of rap.
This shift in style, after so many soul albums, could have hardcore fans in a bit of a tizz, but she still finds a way to combine a soft and eloquent delivery, in a more ‘Lauren Hill’ style approach to rap, whilst maintaining thick harmonies and all the while delivering a consistent, brutally honest, and intelligent social commentary.
Appropriately named ‘A Thoughtiverse Unmarred’, this album is a collection of poetic observations on relevant issues. With lyrics such as, ‘Some wonder why she held her head so high, the point of this discussion is that she did not die, so strive’ she conveys a realistic, yet positive message of hopeful change for the future. Covering topics such as globalisation, race and consumerism gives this album a prophetic, almost protest feel.
The first full length song after the ‘Prologue’ is ‘Monoculture’, which discusses the potential harm that globalisation has on individual cultures. Getting stuck in straight away with a solid hip-hop beat, this tune combines rap, velvety smooth harmonies with reggae elements, in particular, consistent rhythmic, reggae guitar. This contributes more to the main beat, which weaves in and out of pushing the beat, then catching up to playing on the beat, which is so subtle that it can be quite disorienting.
‘Great Blacks’ is my least favourite on the album, as it is more ‘rap’ in it’s repetitiveness and has less substance melodically than the others. My favourite tracks are ‘Ankles’ and ‘Arkansas’. In ‘Ankles’, Muldrow mixes her style with trip-hop elements with chilling organ, a fat intermittent bass line, and a darker, break-beat sound. Muldrow also combines a good mixture of longer melodic lines vocally in the chorus, which contrasts well with the shorter, rhythmic rap in the verse, which gives me the welcome dynamic variation I’d been craving.
‘Arkansas’ uses a catchy sample of a funk/blues guitar riff that casually wanders in and out over a sustained old-school organ sound. Muldrow again combines singing and rap, with alluring gospel harmonies in the chorus.
Overall I would call Muldrow’s first attempt at a rap album to be a success. From where I’m standing – the real deal. She exudes a kind of confidence in her voice that sounds like she’s been doing it for years, which probably comes from her impressive and lengthy career in soul and R&B. I would expect this album to appeal to a wide audience as she combines elements of reggae, soul, blues, gospel and jazz into her own personal strain of rap. Even if it doesn’t fly off the shelves, you have to give her respect for trying something new after already establishing her sound.