There’s one word that comes to mind when it comes to Blue Lab Beats’ new album Motherland Journey. That word is “joy,” as it is virtually impossible not to feel it from the moment the project opens. In keeping with their signature blend of jazz, Afrobeats, R&B and hip-hop, for their third album and Blue Note debut, producer NK-OK and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM triumphantly ignore creative confines, constructing a brilliant kaleidoscope of genre-defying soundscapes.
In addition to previously released singles "Gotta Go Fast" with Poppy Daniels, “Labels” featuring Tiana Major9 and Kofi Stone, “Dat It” with Kiefer and “Sensual Loving” and “Blow You Away (Delilah)” both featuring Ghetto Boy, the album showcases appearances from a host of other amazing artists from around the globe. Though selecting a standout collaboration is nearly impossible, “Don’t Let It Get Away” featuring SoulBounce favorite Emmavie and the title track are strong contenders. The latter utilizes vocals from the legendary Fela Kuti’s “Everybody Scatter” and was recorded in Ghana alongside producer Killbeatz. Noting the track as a “dream come true,” NK-OK shares, “I really wanted to make it feel like you were in Accra, in West Africa, production-wise. I wanted to recreate all the sounds I heard when I was there.”
Though it might be hard to imagine a 17-track album as being cohesive, the London-based duo was able to do just that. Nothing feels out of place or like a drastic departure from the project’s vibrant energy. Described as “a celebration of pushing boundaries, taking risks and overcoming adversity,” the listener can actually feel the resilience and spirit that comes with such an undertaking. Given the intricate production and flawless execution, it’s no wonder that the project literally took years in the making. The album is an absolute masterpiece and will likely go down as one of Blue Lab Beats’ most classic works.
Let Blue Lab Beats take you on a Motherland Journey and don't be surprised if you find yourself getting lost in the music along the way. SoulBouncers across the pond can grab tickets now to catch the duo live alongside the Blues 100 Project at the legendary Jazz Café in London on Friday, March 11th.
Blue Lab Beats Motherland Journey [Amazon][Apple Music][Tidal]