The name may not resonate with the masses, but that’s not to say Janelle Monae isn’t deserving, of such recognition. Having already released an EP, Metropolis: The Chase Suites on P. Diddy’s Bad Boy imprint, and appeared in Outkast’s Idlewild, Monae already commands respect from some big names in Hip-Hop. Fusing Soul, Funk, and Hip-Hop, among others Monae is far from cookie-cutter, which her debut record The Arch Android, a combination of the remaining Metropolis suites, could prove to be a stepping stone to a more mainstream following.
Metropolis is a conceptual piece initially intended to be unveiled over four suites. It tells the story of Cindi Mayweather, an android. Monáe inhabits the cyborg skin of Mayweather, whom is introduced in The Chase Suites. After falling in love with a human she is destined to be disassembled by the “droid control”. Don’t let the concept fool you, this is music at it’s finest.
With the release of two singles last February, Monae demonstrates a more accessible sound than of that found on Metropolis. “Tightrope” is a modern day James Brown jam, featuring Outkast’s Big Boi, with killer horns and plenty of funk, it’s a wonder, rhythm and AC 40 radio stations haven’t picked it. It’s sibling single, “Cold War” is a fast-paced track, fusing rock elements with hip-hop beats and a little soul, another triumph for Monae’s ever expanding experimental sound.
The Arch Android is well worth the wait, and if Metropolis is any indication of what’s to come from the genre-bending chanteuse, you’re in for a wildly creative, fresh and highly addictive piece of conceptual music.