THE LATEST IN THE SOUL MATES PROJECT SERIES, and this one packs heat! If you don't know about Amerigo Gazaway by now, you're sleepin' hard. That said, what better way to get into the Nashville based producer's mash-ups than the latest edition of his Soul Mates Series, which envisions top-notch collaborations that never were (my personal favorite, not counting this one, would be Yasiin Gaye - The Departure). This time around, the dream collab that never was is The High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone, and living legend Lauryn Hill. The title of the project nods to Ms. Simone's birth name, who changed it in order to earn a living playing more secular music. Gazaway seamlessly connects the musical dots that exist between hip-hop and the genres predecessor, soul and puts in the labor to create a "private, interior space for these women to speak the truths of their lives, both to themselves and to each other". From the opening track, which mixes the Simone classic "Feeling Good" with Hill's cover, you know you're in for a special treat. Other highlights include "Fu-Gee-La," a mix of Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" with "Fu-Gee-La" by The Fugees, "The Sweetest Thing," "If I Ruled The World" (this may be my top track cause somehow it blends Simone's rendition of "Ooh Child" into the mix), and "How Many Mics". Writer and professor Zandria Robinson, who partially inspired the project, was given the first listen and says of the album: "With Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill seated together at the table, collaboration transforms into vivid conversation, call and response, and a call to action--private, personal, and public--across space, time, and realm." Heady, but this album bumps and leaves you wanting more from the duo that never was. 17 tracks in all, self-released by Amerigo Gazaway.
- double LP pressing
- music label: Amerigo Gazaway 2019
reviewed by Roberto Pinstripe 3/2019