The video for “FUNKENTOLOGY,” directed by Austin-based videographer Rashad White, features the singer in a series of rooms, each with red, white and blue coloring. A smooth, deep voice sets the song in a different direction, where a purple tone takes over the scene. While BLK ODYSSY’s high range demonstrates his excellent vocal control, a host of vibrant harmonies adds a psychedelic yet funky layer to the dynamic track. The gently fluorescent motif combined with the passionate, soulful music make for an all-around poetic experience.
“FUNKENTOLOGY” is the second song to be released off the forthcoming album, after “BIG BAD WOLF/SOBER.” BLK VINTAGE is the first album to be released by BLK ODYSSY, aka Sam Houston, since the artist changed paths to one that more accurately “reflects his own experiences and worldview.” With deliberately overt lyrics and instrumentation that spills over into all the senses, the New Jersey-raised, Austin-transplanted musician creates music about being Black in America.
“I want to create something that will be culturally impactful for my people,” the artist said in a press release. “I want to do something that is impactful on a larger scale, something that is for groups of Black people across the country.”
Paying respect to those who have come before is important to BLK ODYSSY, and much of his funky, politically charged debut draws from artists old and new. The artist says they pull inspiration from soulful R&B singer D’Angelo as much as old-school acts such as fellow Plainfield, New Jersey band Parliament-Funkadelic. Hints of deeper contemporary hip-hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar are also found in BLK ODYSSY’s music.
The new album covers a variety of themes, from heavier subjects such as violence to more easygoing ones such as love. The fervently poetic artist uses a direct lyrical approach to important issues and takes into account the enduring legacy of systemic racism that took the life of his own brother at the hands of New Jersey police. BLK ODYSSY understands the role and importance of art within his community and wants his album to create a lasting effect on future generations.
“My goal is to connect with the Black youth, and my goal is to connect with my people and speak to them on a level where we can stop suffering from happening,” BLK ODYSSY explains. “There’s only so much we can do for the dead. This record asks: ‘How can we stop this from happening again?’”
BLK VINTAGE is set to drop Aug. 27, but you can hear the new song and read the album’s tracklisting below.
What do you think of the new single and video from BLK ODYSSY? Let us know in the comments below!
BLK VINTAGE tracklisting:
- “BLK VINTAGE”
- “NINETEEN EIGHTY”
- “HANG LOW” (feat. James Robinson)
- “BIG BAD WOLF/SOBER”
- “YA NO PODIA SALIR”
- “GHOST RIDE”
- “BLK REVOLUTION”
- “DRINKING GOOD”
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