Mama Meshell is the Old Crone of this lot, dispensing hard-won wisdom and acid critique in equal measure on Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, finally slated for release on Maverick in June after being held for nearly a year. Like her sister sirens, Meshell aims to free yo' mind—aided by guests ranging from Wheeler to Kidd Funkadelic Michael Hampton. She attacks mental slavery, poverty, and racism in an intense tapestry comprising "Akel Dama (Field of Blood)," "GOD.FEAR. MONEY," and "Dead Ni**a Blvd. (Parts 1 & 2)." Her lessons are interspersed with sampled science from warriors like Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, and Gil Scott-Heron. Ndégeocello takes up where Tocqueville left off—action-painting the state of the union and brilliantly exploding his notion that no serious, deep art could ever emerge from this backwater colony. The Go-Go Goddess is as slap'n'pluck happy as ever, still committed to courageous jazz and blues improvisation, applying the string-drenched dark veil of 1999's Bitter to fashion a layered, visceral funk opera.

Georgia Rockbitch Peach Joi Gilliam-Gipp
photo: Marc Baptiste
Georgia Rockbitch Peach Joi Gilliam-Gipp

Marie Laveau, finishing her hoppin' John now, is pleased by the leaps of faith these voodooiennedisciples have undertaken. She darkly recollects how local Nawlinze white power and the original Doctor John— the ultimate 19th-century rock star—conspired to shut her operations down. Maman's new rocker acolytes are eluding the patriarchal whammy in its artistic guises. Fortunately for the 21st century, Joi and her peers seem strong enough to penetrate the bad boys' rock bastion and delve into its secrets—which they then indelibly put at the service of their own sonic and mystic liberation. Strutting jauntily out onto sunny X Boulevard, Mamandances the Buzzard Lope, celebrating the vengeance of all these Black Queens.

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