Brow Beat

Listen to Solange’s First Album in Eight Years, a “Meditation on Being Black in America”

Solange Knowles.

Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images.

It’s been eight years since Solange released her last full-length studio album, the Motown-tinged Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. In that time, she’s dropped a ridiculously good EP, carved out a persona as the free-spirited and “edgier” younger sister of Queen Bey through her daring fashion and meticulously crafted Instagram account, and been consistently outspoken about American race relations.

It’s clear that these last eight years have led her directly to her new album, A Seat at the Table, which landed on Apple Music on Friday. A “confessional autobiography and meditation on being black in America” (per the editor’s notes), Solange’s album is soaked in soulful social (and double) consciousness and songs and lyrics that feel ripped from headlines and personal tweets. (“Don’t Touch My Hair” is the title of one simmering, thought-provoking track.)

A Seat at the Table features collaborations with The-Dream, Q-Tip, Lil Wayne (who, ironically enough, recently said he believed racism doesn’t exist anymore), and Solange’s parents, Matthew and Tina, the latter of whom declares in a brief interlude,

It really saddens me when we’re not allowed to express that pride in being black and that if you do, then it’s considered anti-white. No, you’re just pro-black, and that’s OK, because the two don’t go together.