The summer of 2010 was a huge one for me. Two events took place, setting the foundation for what would become the most influential relationships in my life for the years to follow. This stands true to this day.
The first event; a tour through central Canada with two hiphop artists; Kelvin and Jay Mizz. Though we didn’t have the name then, this tour was the genesis of KIDS. Since then, the relationship built with these young men (including newest addition Munro) has been beneficial in an artistic, even business sense, but really we developed friendships that became central supports in my life. From this album, to day to day living, I am very grateful that I have had these gentlemen in my life.
The second event; a trip to Northern California to attend a week long seminar/retreat on education and ecology. I was sponsored by a friend due to my work at the time in downtown Vancouver with Directions Youth Services. During this trip, I got myself into some unexpected trouble with a local girl and I’ve been foolishly in love ever since. The first song I wrote upon returning home from that month long summer trip, was ‘Black Madonna’ and from that song I wrote an album.
This album/Mixtape is essentially an interpretation of the last three years of my life, which is kind of funny considering the last song was written approximately two years ago. She has the depth and breadth of an album, but the production ranges from original beats by Kelvin of 4am Styles, to original beats from YouTube producers, to jacked beats from within the industry. Whether or not it’s an album or Mixtape, it’s definitely a work that holds a lot of weight for me personally. I have a few other projects in the works but I don’t think any of them will come close in terms of intimacy. Some will be much more polished, some more lyrical, but none will be as raw and open.
I look at this work as a sort of sacrifice. The Black Madonna herself, young men offer their lives, lost in her love and initiation. An initiation through the darkest parts of their being. And in turn, through their death, they are reborn, initiated, a new man, enlightened. Now I’m not saying I’m enlightened by any means, but this album went through a similar process to manifest itself and I definitely underwent my own growth throughout the experiences that inspired the creation of this record. A culmination of sacrifices, to offer art, to offer life. Art, in my view is some sort of non-sentient life form, because real art, is most definitely alive with something, magical let’s say. But everyone pitched in with their own sacrifices helping make this come to fruition. From the beats, the guest appearances, my pops and Munro throwing down on the art work. Kelvin, putting in countless hours and applying himself creatively to enhance the record and bring it all together as well as possible. For a producer working without the bed tracks for the beats, he was limited in his mixing abilities but he definitely did a great job in my opinion and I’m very thankful to have had such a close working partnership. Mizz is and has always been ready to help however he can, anything technical, digital, musical, media related, he’s always there, guiding me through it, getting his hands dirty or both. Besides KIDS, I have features from friends/artists who have not engaged the industry with their arts, but have kept it to themselves for private enjoyment. This too, I find reflective of the Black Madonna spirit. Again, the beats, how they were selected, where they came from and how Kelvin had to work with what he had, this as well is in that same spirit.
There are a few themes that run through the album. Clearly there is a love story aspect, but it is a transcendent relationship, what I mean by that is that it takes place on various levels/planes of existence, multi/inter dimensional so to speak. Or at least that was the intention. There is also the question of; What is reality? As the line between waking reality and the dream state is blurred the question of being awake becomes literal as well existential. Though such questions remain unanswered the album itself has a high self awareness, knowing that it is only its perception of itself that it knows. And leaves you wondering; If he dreamed it all, but woke up relating to his dream like it was real, what actually happened? Or, did he even wake up? Is it all really a dream? Or, did the dream reflect the reality? The work asks this question repeatedly to no avail.
There is also an Egyptian thread woven throughout. From hints in the intro song, ironically entitled ‘The End’, to blatant references such as ‘Book of the Dead’. There is an amalgamation of many spiritual, religious, mystic traditions, Egyptian being in many respects the father of all, it feels most appropriate to gravitate back to the roots. Christianity being the prevalent cultural standard of religion and with the recent surge of new ageism and resurgence of mysticism, such influences are clearly asserted within the works as well. The Black Madonna is associated with Isis and this parallel is hinted at multiple times. In fact she is also associated with the Magdalene which is stated in the title track along with other feminine divinities. Essentially there is one great mother/lover. For some it may seem odd to place those two words together, especially in this context, but such a notion, however understandable with today’s social preconditioned discomfort at the thought, would be to grossly overlook the inherent oneness in the nature of existence.
With such amalgamations there is an attempt to unify all religions under the common threads that run through all, with emphasis on reasserting the feminine back in her rightful place in the spiritual hierarchy. There are moments when rather than praised as divine the feminine is degraded, this is no glorification or attempt to put the feminine ‘in her place’. This is the unfortunate but all too real playing out of boyish behavior in the all too heavy game of love. All expressions/songs are their own, there is the arrogant moment, hubris, jealousy, anger, frustration, depression. None are glorified, but all presented as they are. Authentic embodiments of those faces of the character. One must see themselves for what they are. This is the Black Madonna’s methodology, making her initiate face his dark side and journey through it. Personally, I relate to my works like this; My catalogue is a reflection of my life, the highs and lows. Though certain behaviors are gross in various ways, my catalogue would be a dishonest & incomplete, an idealized, self aggrandizement, if I were to look back and not see these moments scattered amongst it. I hope they become less and less frequent and that such a progression can reflect the growth, the true evolution of myself. But this is yet to be seen.
This relationship encapsulates my physical love, in flesh and ambition, my philosophic/spiritual questions and pursuits and the experiences and ensuing ebb n flow of confusion and clarity that come with all such endeavors. The synthesis of all these preoccupations bordering on obsession, is the crystallization of these 23 tracks, 72 minutes and change. My personal fascination with the album can be summarized by the saying “Everything is everything”. I have never seen that phrase more clearly than in my reflection when looking into the Black Madonna. And now here she is, with the help of my friends and inspired by a chance meeting on a chance trip to a place I had at that point never been before. It feels appropriate to release it on Valentine`s Day, my gift to all of those who show love by supporting the music, an album that`s a love story. For what it`s worth, I put a lot of love into this one. With the release date I can`t help but think of the lyrics in the chorus of the title track. The lyric stands true more than ever on the release date even though it was the first lyric written for the entire project. “This is for my heart, Mother Divine, the Goddess. The Magdalene, Mother Mary, the Black Madonna`s…“
There is an extraordinary enigma in the present moment. It is the convergence of all that has ever been and could ever be and the potential of every second could unlock any and all of eternities secrets. It lies beyond fathom and especially explanation. The mystery is and she lives, with love, through death, beyond the flesh, waiting for you.
Again, I’d like to thank the whole KIDS/33KIDS family, for everything, all the support, assistance and contributions along the way. As corny and or cliche as it may be, I really couldn’t have done it without y’all.
So I’ll send you off with this gem right here… If you check the album out you will see its relevance immediately.
The album will be downloadable for free @ http://jakubevolved.bandcamp.com/track/she-knows donate something if you want.
Feel free to shoot me any questions about anything if you feel that way.