Nailah Blackman's dirty, dazzling charisma

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I haven't felt moved to break a soca artist out of the rolling thread in a long time, but Nailah Blackman's handful of singles are super exciting and she's alarmingly charming in her videos.

Her very short discography touches a lot of T&T cultural bases without being exclusive. Here's her unabashed attempt at a Carnival anthem/history lesson, "Sokah" [I feel obliged to warn you that this video is sponsored by Uber]:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw7TpFMRD5s

That's her grandfather, originator of soca (or sokah as he preferred it) Lord Shorty, at the start of the "Sokah" video explaining how it began as a synthesis of elements of T&T's usually segregated Indian and African traditions. (Incidentally, her whole family is musical; her aunt Marge currently has a big tune with Voice: https://youtu.be/twlzqlRLpRE)

The winning combination of smut and sunshine on "O' Lawd Oye" is what convinced me to start this likely quixotic thread. Classic calypsonian dutty lyrical vibes + a fantastic rippling zouk bassline:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6XTTHm98PQ

Her most recent track is "Dame Lorraine," an ode to the mas character of the same name (gis highly recommended):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFbvlNfryNQ

If you're still here, check her solo debut from last year, "Baila Mami": https://youtu.be/jJs5zR3dWCw

Her duet with Jamaican singjay Shenseea (herself a welcome new arrival in dancehall's currently exceptionally male-dominated ranks), "Badishh," is lots of fun: https://youtu.be/heQY8otg6YA

And for completion's sake, there's her first appearance on record, singing the hook on Kes's "Workout" with what one youtube commenter called her "hummingbird" voice, which I assume they meant as an insult but hummingbirds are amazing fuiud: https://youtu.be/JOqPFQ3ndss

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 19:43 (five months ago) Permalink

I’m all for this thread, of course. Bravo!

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 19:51 (five months ago) Permalink

thank you for debolding this thread longneck :)

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 19:53 (five months ago) Permalink

Baila Mami is so delicious. I didn’t even know who her family is.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 19:56 (five months ago) Permalink

I know far less about T&T music history than JA, so getting into Nailah has also been fun on the wikipedia/google rabbit hole front as well, though I haven't managed to finish that Lord Shorty piece I linked as red bull's website color scheme makes me want to die

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 19:58 (five months ago) Permalink

Let it be known that that the other song on the Jamette Riddim is actually by Shenseea. If these two could help each other to the top it would be quite awesome.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:06 (five months ago) Permalink

This one. Not trying to derail the thread but I think it's interesting how they're sort of shadowing each other's rise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdz1gfgZY2M

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:07 (five months ago) Permalink

Linking them makes tons of sense, for sure. I wasn't really feeling Shenseea on Jamette the first time, but that's much better than I remembered. A little opportunistic, but that's par for the course with her now and I've come around to admiring her hustle at this point. I bet we'll see her on something afrobeats (Nigerian or UK) soon.

"Badishh" rules though, and their voices complement each other perfectly, in both pitch and texture; they make a believable pair of friends in the video too

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:15 (five months ago) Permalink

She's already been on Cadenza's «Parking Lot» with Yxng Bane, lol. It's cool. I would have expected it to be bigger than it was.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:25 (five months ago) Permalink

ha, totally missed that! listening now...she's great on this beat

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:28 (five months ago) Permalink

She is, though!

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:34 (five months ago) Permalink

And for completion's sake, there's her first appearance on record, singing the hook on Kes's "Workout" with what one youtube commenter called her "hummingbird" voice, which I assume they meant as an insult but hummingbirds are amazing fuiud:

I'm not entirely sold on her voice tbqh but it's definitely interesting how much her vocal style borrows from chutney. The combination of that kind of nasal delivery and unconventional scales gives it a real Indo feel. idk how much of that it deliberate and how much is just the effect of autotune tho.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 21:18 (five months ago) Permalink

that's a great point, I don't know chutney or bollywood in any depth at all, but to this novice there's a little Lata or Asha in the nasal tone.

rob, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 22:05 (five months ago) Permalink

Glad there's a thread for her! Have had this interview on my mp3 player to listen to but hadn't gotten around to it yet: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/rum-club/e/52328703

etc, Friday, 26 January 2018 01:50 (five months ago) Permalink

Oh nice, never heard of that podcast, thanks etc!

rob, Friday, 26 January 2018 14:55 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

not as head over heels for this one, but her stylistic versatility (this is kind of dubby/rootsy) continues to impress:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2Z3RrqvaxM

btw that podcast etc mentioned was pretty delightful

rob, Thursday, 15 March 2018 21:02 (four months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I've woken up every morning this week with Dangerous Boy in my head, so in honor of that, here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkHnAPG4G0o

rob, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 20:42 (three months ago) Permalink

<3

etc, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 23:40 (three months ago) Permalink


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