Peace Beyond Passion was Me'shell Ndegeocello's second album and served as a stark contrast to her debut LP Plantation Lullabies, released three years earlier. The follow-up album was a bit of a departure from the blend of funk, jazz and R&B that flowed throughout her debut. Instead, Ndegeocello used it as an opportunity to expand musically and voice her feelings on topics such as racism, sexuality and Christianity. While her music was always thought to be fearless, intelligent and unapologetic, it can be said that this album marked her growth and maturity as an artist and she was fresh out of f**ks to give.
When revisiting this album, one might wonder how its sharp lyrics sprinkled with seemingly blasphemous language, racial and homophobic slurs would be received today. Even with all the brilliance and substance contained in this work, the incorporation of the names of biblical books in song titles and the edgy, and sometimes abrasive, lyrics would likely cause minor controversy today. Whether you clutch your pearls or praise Ndegeocello for her courage and honesty, the next level musicianship of this album is without question, and the content she so boldly touched on is still relevant today.
Since the release of Peace Beyond Passion, Ndegeocello has released nine studio albums and an EP. She also did the score for George Wolfe’s 2005 HBO adaptation of Lackawanna Blues and recently signed on to do the same for Ava DuVernay's smash hit series on OWN, Queen Sugar. And, if you happen to catch her onstage, don’t expect her to breathe life into her previous work. She describes tours in which she revisited her old music as, “like being a cover band of myself” and she says, “As an artist, you have to have the purest honesty. I enjoy being in the current time.”