Together, California-based poets Ill Camille and Damani Nkosi are HARRIETT. I’ve been anticipating this release for a while, especially through Ill Camille’s extraordinary past work. Her visceral and animated lyricism coupled with Damani Nkosi’s honest poetry and intricate wordplay makes for a dense, introspective and beautifully spiritual album.
The 10 track album is 53 minutes long, which makes for a lengthy but engaging listen. The production throughout is stellar, bringing infectious grooves and a boom-bap sound reminiscent of Native Tongues and that whole sound in the 90s. It’s handled by the likes of Jack Wolff, DK the Punisher, Swarvy and Jake Milliner among others. Sonically, it is a cohesive and textured album, really bringing angelic and meditative vibes with the gorgeous keys and synths throughout, as well as the hard-hitting beats that complement the soulful sound. “Alkaligned” kicks the album with both Ill Camille and Damani Nkosi going back and forth with intricate lyricism about home and identity. The vibrant “Alive” features some smooth and silky synths as well as personal poetry from both emcees. South African singer Thandi Ntuli provides a raw and powerful hook to complement the raw aesthetic of the track. “African Chop House” is one of the favourites of mine on this album, with a groovy beat and an incredible guest feature from LA-based rapper Rippy Austin, who’s soft voice is complemented by a menacing flow and intricate wordplay. The D’Angelo-esque soul and groove on “2 minutes” is infectious, while the stunningly beautiful and angelic vibe of “Native Son” featuring the super talented Billz Egypt and Teodross Avery. The personal lyricism about identity, faith and inspiration are all wonderful. Overall, this is a densely packed album with some incredibly soulful and poignant tracks highlighting their talents as lyricists, songwriters and storytellers. Thank you Ill Camille and Damani Nkosi.
Listen to Ill Camille and Damani Nkosi’s new collaborative album HARRIETT below via Spotify and don’t forget to support!