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Juwan Elcock’s BLK ODYSSY project is pushed by liberation. On his first album under this new moniker, titled BLK VINTAGE, -born and raised in Plainfield, NJ, based in Austin, TX- dives into his personal history as a Black musician and the world he’s grown up around. It’s an album deeply informed by individual experiences but applied to the plight of Black Americans everywhere.
Neo-soul artists like D’Angelo and socially conscious MCs like Kendrick Lamar are clear touchstones, but Elcock’s BLK ODYSSY also takes cues from the celebratory funk of Parliament who also came from Plainfield, on tracks like “Funkentology.” “All the musicians that I grew up with are relatives of Parliament members. We grew up in that culture, it inspires who we are,” explains Elcock. This potent combination of politically-charged street anthems, party-ready funk jams, and top-down, head-nodding beats makes BLK VINTAGE a sterling debut and one of the most powerful and timely releases of the year. Elcock speaks to his predecessors, but the new concoction is all his own. It’s a triumphant testament to Black power, a message to the kids that look like him that there’s someone in their corner. “The Black youth has been poisoned numb because of the shit we have to deal with,” Elcock explains. “I want to speak to our experiences and let people know it’s okay to shed that layer and really, truly feel.”
BLK VINTAGE: THE REPRISE is a broadened perspective of themes & stories discussed in BLK ODYSSY’S debut BLK VINTAGE, a concept album that tells a story of tragedy & triumph within the black community. The additional 6 songs dive into more specific stories that inspired these songs. Benny’s Got a Gun speaks on the deadly cycle of retaliation accompanied by Complex of Killing a Man which tells that same exact story from the victim’s perspective. Suicide Doors details the concept of success for African Americans from 3 different perspectives blanketed in what seems to be a celebratory bop about getting paid that. Appearances on this deluxe include George Clinton, Benny the Butcher, Mereba and Baby Rose.