Afriqua Celebrates the “Unifying Power of Black Culture” with Debut Album
'Colored' LP is out October 4 via R&S Records.
Colored is described by the Belgian label as “a celebration of the unifying power of Black culture through the prism of electronic music.” Thematically, it bridges the past and present milestones of Black music from their Southern roots to their most modern incarnations. “The overarching theme,” Parker says, “was reconciling this branch of the Black musical tree with its origins. It’s not divisive, it’s about celebrating the rightful origins of the music we all enjoy.”
Inspiration is drawn from seminal records in the canon of Black music, including work by Quincy Jones, Roy Ayers, and Weldon Irvine, who also hailed from Hampton, Parker’s hometown in Virginia. It is, however, described as a distinctly “un-nostalgic” album in that these classics served more as archetypes of musical achievement than bases for imitation.
Parker wrote the album over a two-year period at a number of studios across Europe and the U.S., including Octagon in London, moon in Brooklyn, Funkhaus/Saal 3 in Berlin, and ICP in Brussels.
Sonically, the album is a “natural culmination” of Parker’s stylistic spectrum, spanning from house and techno to experimental and abstract electronica. It features collaborations with J.Cole collaborator Salomon Faye, Belgian Afro-pop vocalist Zap Mama, LCD Soundsystem bassist Tyler Pope, and Parker’s brother, producer, and songwriter Ruven.
Growing up in Virginia, Parker was exposed to a niche of local electronic music pioneers including The Neptunes, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot, artists whose early-2000s contributions to the movement are often overshadowed by their pop leanings. “The Virginia sound,” Parker says, is far more intrinsic to his process than the oft-replicated models of American house and techno: “Black electronic music doesn’t have to be from the Midwest—this isn’t from Detroit, this isn’t from Chicago. It’s from Virginia.”
The album follows two EPs by Parker on R&S, namely 2017’s Aleph and 2018’s Vice/Principle. Its bespoke album artwork was created by Atlanta artist Eric Mack.
Colored LP is out October 4 via R&S Records, with “Space Dookie” (Ft. Big Farma) streaming below.
01. Tema (ft. Ruven)
07. Upstream (ft. Zap Mama)
10. Native Sun
11. Go Tell It (ft. Salomon Faye)
12. Whatever Means
15. Space Dookie (ft. Big Farma)
16. At Last