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Written and recorded in a firestorm of creativity during the mastering phase of Lukah's upcoming double LP with Real Bad Man, Permanent Blackface is a monstrous vignette displaying the true power of Lukah's songwriting and the technical brilliance of his team. The album flashes before you like a lightning strike illuminating a barren cityscape.
Introducing himself as Mr. Blackface, Lukah identifies the true artist's responsibility to hold a mirror to the listener in order to confront and disarm taboos. In both content and music, the record balances vulgarity and introspection, the horror of silence, and the comfort of colossal, discordant sound. Over 12 songs the celestial, often blood-soaked color palette of soul and R&B that gave emotional weight to Why Look Up and Raw Extractions has been scraped away like a charred skeleton. With a small cast of voices consisting entirely of Lukah's immediate family, and production duties handled in-house by WALZ, Deener, Hollow Sol, Cities Aviv, SB11, and Lukah himself, the record has the intimacy of a theater production. The only voices present are Lukah, joined by his mother providing scat vocals, and his grandfather discussing the Jungian self-hatred of the colonial project and its terrifying repercussions for contemporary Black Americans, with a fitting invocation of Dr. Frankenstein's monster. The beats here are reminiscent of noir, 78rpm swing and big band, evoking the underlying horror of a pre-Civil Rights movement America, where segregational binaries inverted folk tales through the white terror of ghosts, the black "spook", and mythic themes of fate and free will. The whiplash of shifting perspectives keeps your head on a swivel in way only Lukah's superior pen can elucidate. Will it trigger anger that first voice you hear on Permanent Blackface is Judy Garland singing "Sweet Chariot"? But isn't this just Lukah speaking through her, announcing he's got "The Southin his mouth"? As the internet endlessly debates intention and appropriation in our artistic history, the insignificance of this small sample is put into perspective: another white pebble in a black ocean of Lukah's creation. "If the sun don't shine today / pray the sun come out tomorrow...pray the sun pierce through the sorrow"
The album introduces an unnamed character beset by disposition. As the story's scope increases, the gaze of the mirror shifts. How would white society feel if historical roles were reversed? How does a presumed white listener experience the trauma of interacting with police?
A1. Burnt Cork Face
A2. Exceptional Negro prod. Deener
A3. Child in Iron Collar prod. Walz & Bohemia Lynch
A4. Spook’s Blues prod. Cities Aviv
A5. Melanin Child prod. SB11
A6. Grease Paint Tap Dancer
A7. Black(s) N Control prod. Walz
B1. A Colored Night prod. Lukah
B2. A Black Man’s Worst Fear prod. Deener
B3. Beautifully Blackface prod. Hollow Sol
B4. Fly Blackface Fly prod. Hollow Sol
B5. Shoe Polished Face
Vinyl previews are digital mock-ups, final product may differ from this preview.