Maya Angelou Meets Funk and Hip-Hop in "On Aging" (audio) (Premiere)

by Brice Ezell

21 October 2014

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more creative way to celebrate the legacy of Maya Angelou than to put some slap bass behind her evocative spoken word poetry.

While the world lost a legendary writer and public figure when Maya Angelou passed earlier this May, fortunately many have found creative and heartwarming ways to celebrate her legacy. Perhaps most creative of all is the forthcoming album Caged Bird Songs, an album that pairs Angelou’s spoken word pieces with hip-hop musical backing. Below you can stream “On Aging”, a track where Angelou’s wise musings on getting older are met with a surprisingly well placed slap bass that could have been straight-ripped from a Rick James album.
Angelou’s grandson, Colin A. Johnson, tells PopMatters about the record: “The music on the album really is a journey. It touches on numerous different topics that Grandma lived around—the playful, the fun, the love, the passion. There are also some deep songs about some things that are going on in our community and our world. So it really does talk about a number of things she cared about greatly.”

Johnson founded Caged Bird Legacy, which collects the various interests and passions of Angelou for all to view on the web. The site also links to the charities established in Angelou’s name, including Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

Caged Bird Songs is out on November 4th through Smooch Music. You can pre-order the album at this link.

Photo by Chester Higgins Jr

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article