Camae Ayewa’s, or Moor Mother’s, latest album would never have happened if it hadn’t been for the pandemic and the enforced isolation that it brought. It’s filled with her frustration and quiet rage at being trapped into quarantine in Philadelphia.
She turned that pain towards creation and using a bunch of instrumentals that she had from Olof Melander (the Swedish producer), she decided to escape reality and deliver the Black Encyclopedia of the Air.
And while she may not be glad that this album happened, we are. This album is a massive Afrofuturist punch to the heart with her usual healing vibe laid carefully over the top.
“We will outlast, rise up from the past, We rise up, who gon’ hold us down? / Black fist and golden crown, ancient sound / They can’t hold us down,” she sings on Shekere, the opening track and she doesn’t let up until the 13th track closes the album out.
And while Philly may not have been her ideal place to spend the end of the world, it’s definitely brought out the best in Moor Mother. This album is a strong contender for the release of the year.
Black Encyclopedia Of The Air is a new reckoning of all things, an upending of the status quo presenting us with a world of new possibilities.The Wire, September 14, 2021