What began as a mutual respect for each others immense talent turned into the partnering
of Southern Cali native iSHE with Philly resident Hezekiah, and nine (yes, nine) days
later the iSHE + Hezekiah Project was born. In a time when collaborations have
oversaturated the airwaves it's no longer news to hear of such and such working with so
and so to bring us supposed "new hotness." However, there are still artists,
musicians, emcees, and creative folk who bring their talents together in the
most innovative of ways. And it is here at this intersection of soul music and hip hop
that we find iSHE and Hezekiah whose latest offering the iSHE + Hezekiah Project is a
glowing example of this.
The 11-track digital album is chock full of surprises, taking the listener on an unexpected
musical journey. From the opening track "Can We," which introduces us to iSHE's rich
vocals over Hezekiah's jazzy production, to "Dope Game" with its' reggae feel that will leave
you deep in a slow wind searching for the nearest dance hall. However, there is significant
depth to this infectious tune as iSHE sings, "I'm in love with a man I cannot help, cause
for some reason he refuses to help himself." It was in that moment I realized
just how special this album is; its rare on one record to flow through different musical
genres without leaving listeners feeling dazed and confused, which is not the case here. And then we have tracks
like "Paradise," which features Tone Whitfield on bass, Daud El-Bakara on trumpet, and
Kwame on sax that flex the musicality of this project. I also found myself gravitating to
the rather bluesy "Pressure" featuring Range Da Messanga, with its' universal message of
wanting the one you know is oh-so-very wrong for you. iSHE croons, "I keep waiting for
you to be someone that I know you'll never be, I keep wanting for you to see that the one
you been searching for is me, thought I could change, change your ways take you from
cloudy to brighter days." If that ain't the truth of so many forlorn lovers, I don't
know what is.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention my hands down favorite song from the
album is "Stand Guard," the unapologetically sassy track that serves as a warning to anyone
who dare intervene in iSHE's relationship. I found myself singing along at the top of
my lungs as though I had a special someone to "stand guard" over. That for me is
the beauty of a great song, the ability to connect the listener regardless of the subject
matter. With a mention of "Captain Save-A-Ho" on the track, iSHE and
Hezekiah make endearing what could have easily turned into something quite crass.
And what better way to close such a lovely album than with something sexy enough to
give the sweltering temperatures a run for its' money? "Stay" is the song you play when
you want to play adult games and even begins with the warning, "This one's for grown folks,"
and indeed it is. However, the lyrics are far more on the sly almost playful side, which
makes it such a treat. Truly a work of art that speaks to the sultry side of the season -- think
warm nights, long walks, and close dances -- the iSHE + Hezekiah Project is a must have
for your summer soundtrack.
iSHE & Hezekiah iSHE + Hezekiah Project [Bandcamp]