Remember that quote saying something about how in times of crisis, artists must go to work? Today’s artist, Cee Nario has gone to work, and the crisis in question is one that arguably dates back to 1619.
“The Boost,” is at first glance a light, fun, and danceable R&B tune. You sing along without a care in the world, but when you hear the words “hands up, don’t shoot,”…the gravity hits you seemingly out of nowhere.
Cee Nario is creating lyrical magic covering police killings over an accessible beat, and the juxtaposition hits hard. A former featured artist Young Lyonne did something similar with his track “Black Boy Joy”. And similar to that track, the juxtaposition plays a magnificent role. By giving us a groovy beat that makes everything feel lighter, it becomes a choice for us to truly focus on the words that Cee Nario is communicating. If we’re not in the mood, we can just groove along and zone out. Perhaps it’s speaking to a particular privilege that the majority of people in the USA can opt for – zoning out, ignoring calls for action, grooving without grappling?
It feels to us that Cee Nario wants to fight hatred with a combination of love, sadness and joy in this track:
“Even if you was my enemy, you gonna see eventually/ hating, discrimination,we got no time for that, come on,” Cee Nario sings before entering his upbeat chorus where he celebrates having the boost. Although on the surface it might seem simply like a bop, this track has far more complexity than an initial listen might reveal. Sit with it, bop along with it, groove with it, but then also grapple with it – it’s rare that a song gives you the space to go on a whole journey, and we’re accepting the invitation gladly.
Listen for: 2:55 is that someone mouthing a trumpet? Why is this working so damn well?
Best listened to while: Sitting comfortably where you can both groove but also listen intently
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