After a year that saw the death of his childhood friend and collaborator Prince, and the unrest in his hometown Minneapolis in the wake of the murder of Philando Castile, Andre Cymone's latest EP is a plaintive, painful, beautiful statement of purpose. Opening with “Black Man In America,” Cymone delivers what is easily his best song in decades, maybe ever. “Hot Night In The Neighborhood” recalls the murder of Mike Brown, repurposing Lovin' Spoonful's “Summer In The City” as a protest anthem. Cymone seems to be hinting at a late career transition into a protest singer, and it looks good on him. The EP wraps with a funky take on Leonard Cohen's classic “Hallelujah.” The cover really shouldn't work half as well as it does, but Cymone strips the song of the maudlin sentimentality it's acquired over the past 20 years of coffeeshop covers and injects new life into the classic. Cymone has always taken his time and waited till he had something to say to record—his 27 year hiatus from music can attest—but on Black Man In America, Cymone's voice is unquestionably urgent.
By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK contributor
Andre Cymone explains:
“This is our moment to put our time money and talents to work for the people and for the kind of future we know we can achieve. It's time to be bold and go on record, put our resources, gifts and money where our mouth is and let history know we did not stand in silence at this crossroads, that we wrote songs, played shows and did all that we could do to let the people struggling know there are artists and so many others out here willing to sacrifice and do what we do to give their unfortunate realities a voice and refused to let anyone or anything stop us...”
You can buy the EP on bandcamp. https://andrecymone.bandcamp.com/album/black-man-in-america-ep