Yaya Bey: Ten Fold Album Evaluation

Dropping somebody near you possibly can really feel like a rupture in time. How can the solar proceed to rise? How can the world maintain shifting? The disorientation of being basically altered in grief motivates Yaya Bey’s transcendent new album, Ten Fold. “My nigga left the world and the world ain’t cease,” she quietly raps on “yvette’s cooking present.” The Queens-raised artist recorded the album within the 12 months following the demise of her father, Ayub Bey—the emcee and producer Grand Daddy I.U., who was a member of the pioneering hip-hop collective Juice Crew and a towering determine in Bey’s life. Funeral prices compelled her to maintain working and over the course of a 12 months, she made music with none agency plans. The outcomes, whittled all the way down to 16 tracks, are snapshots of an artist shifting by means of loss as she navigates monetary and emotional precarity and the vicissitudes of romance. It’s a finely detailed portrait of grief that additionally celebrates the fullness of life.

The ripples of Yaya Bey’s day-to-day are small, however in her delicate palms, they’re strikingly resonant. Ten Fold hardly ever dwells on the previous, selecting as an alternative to mark the passage of time by cataloging the sentiments that sprouted alongside the way in which—unhappiness, defiance, pleasure, frustration, satisfaction, love. Masterful sequencing and economical writing (most songs are beneath three minutes) permit Bey to be as nimble as ever. After saying the grief that “weighs heavy” on her, she briskly wipes her tears to have a good time her blooming potential on the pocket-disco tune “chrysanthemums.” She finds “fly shit” on the thrift retailer on “east coast mami” to venture the arrogance wanted to make energy strikes. Relationships fizzle and develop; hire stays too rattling excessive. Collectively, the album seems like a Black girl simply attempting to get by.

In line with her 2022 breakout album, Bear in mind Your North Star, Bey pulls from the hotter colours of a Black musical palette—Soulquarians-style neo-soul, upbeat funk, home, and increase bap. The manufacturing, assisted by Corey Fonville of the genre-melding jazz-hop band Butcher Brown, feels cozy and self-soothing. She faucets into familiarity, but resists complacency. The album opens with the simmering melancholy of “crying by means of my enamel,” which like its non secular ancestor “Didn’t Cha Know,” carries a world of feeling within the easiest of phrases. The place songs like “no person is aware of” on North Star described vivid characters and scenes, Ten Fold’s tales are summary, unfolding like an prolonged interior monologue. The spare home beat of “sir princess dangerous bitch” is demo-like, and its round chorus (“The gorgeous factor about me/Is each little lovely factor/Is on its approach to me”) sounds just like the type of made-up tune you sing to maintain your self afloat. Directing the affirmations inward permits Bey to skillfully sidestep platitudes: emotions come up spontaneously and inconstantly from all throughout the emotional spectrum. Even the songs explicitly about different individuals really feel insular, just like the blooming romance of “gradual dancing within the kitchen.” The sunny reggae lower has the gossamer high quality of a daydream or a gaze directed towards a lover.

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