Tracks of the week Reviewed: Jon Batiste, reggie and Kota The Friend

Jon Batiste - Tell The Truth

Tell The Truth'' features on Jon Batiste’s 8th studio album “WE ARE”. Despite performing the song at The Global Citizen Festival in 2019 and again as a part of his NPR Tiny Desk set in 2020 this album marks the official release of the song. Batiste recorded “WE ARE” in New Orleans, New York City and Los Angeles. The initial drafts of the album were recorded in a six-day session with songwriter Autumn Rowe and producer Kizzo in Batiste’s dressing room in the Ed Sullivan Theater. He said the following about the album “It is a novel, and if you close your eyes, it is a movie … It is one piece,” he said. “You just listen to it in one sitting and you will leave feeling full, like a 45-minute meditation you can take every day.

Jon Batiste said these words about the song in an Apple Music interview “It’s about the advice that my dad told me when I was 17 years old, when I left New Orleans to move to New York and go to Juilliard to start my career. He told me to stay true to who I am, no matter what you’re looking for, no matter what you’re looking to do.

The song sees Jon detail a story of change his Dad experienced, and this in turn allows the song to embody foreshadowing adjacent attributes where the tracks rallying cry “He said, tell it like it is (Just tell the truth) / Love how you live (I'm talking to you) / When you doing what you do / Just tell the truth (Just tell the truth) “ can be seen to be the words of wisdom accrued and disseminated by his father, which are then absorbed by Jon’s present state to help guide him.

The song is heavily jazz and funk infused ; it leans on upbeat piano melodies, a fast paced drum pattern and unique elements such as the congas and trumpets to help cultivate this sound. The pitched up vocal inflections displayed by Jon Batiste perfectly compliment this backdrop and round out an instantaneously catchy track.

reggie - AIN'T GON STOP ME

The talented producer duo Monte Booker and Kenny Beats combined with LA-based, Houston-raised artist Reggie to release his 3rd ever single “AIN'T GON STOP ME”. It’s been over half a year since the release of his debut single “Southside Fade” which was later followed up with “I Don’t Wanna Feel No More”. Reggie’s inclusion on Complex’s 21 Rising Artists to Watch for 2021 list and his early Smino co-sign do however leave much to be anticipated from a rising artist dedicated to producing music of true substance.

On the track itself Reggie stated “For me this song really is a testimony about my life- looking back on things I once got mixed up in and counting my blessings from the other side. Some people weren’t as fortunate as me to make it through. But this isn’t the clean cut version of it that you’d be safe to say in front of the whole church. This is just raw truth.

The words present within the track clearly echo these sentiments as Reggie’s reflections on the survival of his troubled past is encapsulated by the following lines “The pain won't stop me, the rain won't stop me / I know God could stop me but He ain't gon' stop me 'cause / He the one who brought me, I don't see why my back bent / For shit that was not me when He got a planned out scheme

The instrumentation of this track is laced in nostalgia and it samples Albert Jones’ track “Reflections” to create a 70s soul sonic environment to help evoke this feeling.

Kota The Friend - The Love

The Love” features on KOTA The Friend’s latest project “To Kill A Sunrise” and follows on from his January released “Lyrics to GO, Vol 2” as accomplished illustrations of his smooth and laid back sound. This album also saw him collaborate with producer Statik Selektah, as they managed to put together a succinct 33 minute project that showcased both respective parties ' artistry.

The Love” sees Kota The Friend carefully articulate the hardships he has fallen victim to and how love acts as an overarching sense of purpose, that provides adequate reasoning for both the enduring and survival of the trials and tribulations he has experienced over the course of his life. The chorus moves to act as a vessel of metaphorical reprieve from adversity as it reinforces the idea that solace and hope can be found within believing in the concept of love. “The love keep you going when the weather getting rough / The love keep you focused when you really wanna run / The love give you motive when you feeling like you done / Like you done / Yo it's the love

The reflective nature of the lyricism is acutely apparent within the song's instrumental, as the track makes great use of sombre piano melodies and a gentle drum pattern to create a pensive and reminiscent emotive space.