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“If I was not Black this record would be a number one. And my label has said this. It’s crazy we just left Billboard and actually, they said the same thing. We said, ‘Oh if you were Taylor Swift or somebody this record would be number one.’ What I did love about Billboard was that they said ‘How are y’all going to make them play this record because it’s amazing? How can we help? How can we get them to accept the record?’”
Kimberly Michelle Pate is an advocate for herself as an African-American female artist and because she believes in her craft, others do, too.
I had the pleasure of attending K. Michelle’s listening event earlier this month in New York at the Agora Gallery. How fitting is it that her third and most highly-anticipated album comes out just before the close of Women’s History Month directly following Black History Month. Some might not care for K. Michelle, as she portrays herself on television or as she’s depicted on the blogs, but there is no denying that she is supremely talented.
With More Issues Than Vogue (Due March 25) it’s clear that the third time’s a charm. The album, which she credits to “giving zero fucks and Jack Daniel’s,” is the greatest body of work we’ve received from her thus far. It’s clear that being true to yourself as a creative being always pays off, just consider J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive or Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. To wit, K. Michelle posed this question in the trailer for the second season of her hit reality TV show K. Michelle: My Life: “Why can’t I just make my own genre of music?” Well, that she did.
Because K. Michelle refuses to put herself in a box there is something on this album for everyone; no matter their sex, age, nationality or demographic. So much so that my mother, who joined me, is convinced that K. Michelle’s ode to her hometown “Memphis,” that she classified as a country record, is going to end up on ABC’s smash television show Nashville. Talk about crossing borders. That evening I realized why being yourself is the best thing you can do in life because amazing works like More Issues Than Vogue can come of it.
The album begins with “Mindful,” produced by T-Pain.
“I got my own money. Ain’t nobody giving me shit/ I’m the original. I’m the one that be cooking that shit/ She keep saying that I’m stealing I’m gone look at that bitch like, Who that?/ Security, tell that bitch to move back. ”
K. Michelle rides the beat like a seasoned lyricist but she reminded us that she’s been rapping since her 2012 mixtape 0 Fucks Given. The track is comprised of a beat that you can “slide” to but it’s laden with raw bars and a flow that your favorite rapper couldn’t carry. But this is only the beginning.
The third record on the album, my personal favorite, is “Ain’t You.” Once K. Michelle said she was going to play it I lost it for a moment and she had to tell me, “You know I’m from Memphis. When I see people moving too quick I get on guard.” I heeded the warning but as soon as the song came on I got lost and found myself singing at the top of my lungs going word-for-word with K. Michelle. I must have been doing way too much because she pointed the mic at me and asked if I wanted to sing. I declined but continued to vibe out.
“I got my own shit, don’t want your money, nope/ I drop a hundred bands like it’s easy money/ These niggas is tryna shoot but you go the layup/ Ain’t none of them telling the truth but they fucking your day/ I done dodged so many ceremonies could’ve had 50 mil in alimony/ Give you everything. What you want from me? You know.”
K. Michelle revealed, "Men always say they date me. They say they know me. All types of stuff and they've never even been in a room with me. I'm flattered but I'm not. So I did this record that basically just said, you know when you get a man, he asks you about all these men. So my man was just like, Who is that? And what about him. Well he said.... And I said, these dudes mad cause they ain't you. They just fucking up your day. Chill out! After I told him that. This song came about." No further explanation needed.
“IF IT AIN’T LOVE”
When K. Michelle introduced “If It Ain’t Love,” she expressed “We should be allowed to sing anything that we want to sing. But Black people can’t go to Top 40 with their record unless they’re gyrating and doing some stuff. You have to know our struggle. We (artists) are not lying. We are telling you the truth. We are told we cannot sing certain things because we are Black. Listen to your radio stations. You do not have any Black love on your radio stations, do you? They say, ‘It doesn’t fit the format.’ Well fuck your format cause your format is fucked up and so are you.” K. Michelle is always going to do what’s in her heart. “If It Ain’t Love” is full of soul and intention that depicts how authentic and genuine love is not only possible but absolutely necessary.
“SLEEP LIKE A BABY”
The closing track is “Sleep Like A Baby,” which K. Michelle admitted was a fan favorite and one of the first songs she worked on for this album.
Her robust, sultry voice belts out: “I can't believe you/ You shared what's mine/ Laying underneath you, I know she slept good/ Can't get no shut eye, maybe I should try counting your lies/ Should I wake you up and let you know/ I'm breaking every night while you sleep like a baby/ While you sleep like a baby.”
K. Michelle revealed the conception of the song. "You know how you and your man get into a fight and he goes to sleep and stuff. I was just like, 'You really gonna go to sleep cause I promise you, you probably don't really wanna go to sleep.’ And you look over and be like 'OMG he sleeping good!' So honestly, no lie, I was doing my normal, drinking Jack and I just got over to the end of the bed and I just like remember writing in my phone and singing and having the concept in my head."
Even before its official release More Issues Than Vogue is a success. After spending a little over an hour with K. Michelle and experiencing the entirety of the reality that comes across in her music I am truly an even bigger fan of hers than I was before. You can tell that she is extremely involved in every aspect of her music career. This album is K. Michelle’s life in song. Let’s be real, in life there is always something: relationship drama, haters, and the ever evolving journey of finding yourself. K. Michelle covers it all in her true to self "It is what it is" manner.
More Issues Than Vogue will officially arrive in stores and online Friday, March 25, and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes. Please know that K. Michelle is watching the charts already expecting for her fans to support this project. As K. so eloquently stated "One thing about a song is it always finds a home." So, my question is, what songs will reside with you?