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Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid

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Album Review

After ten years in the game, with enough headline fodder to drum up major attention for the group — including extremely explicit musical content, consistent on-stage nudity while supporting the Gossip and CSS, and contradictory lifestyle choices (Shunda K., a God-fearing Christian, briefly became Muslim and married a man after coming out as a lesbian) — NME listed Yo Majesty as one of the top up-and-coming bands of 2008 and the burly Jewel Baynham (Jwl B.) and thuggish LaShunda Flowers (Shunda K.) signed to the British heavyweight Domino Records, home of Arctic Monkeys, Tricky, and Franz Ferdinand. Seemingly a strange fit as an American rap duo, the girls used their new international connections and paired up in the studio with producers Basement Jaxx, Germany's CLP, Switzerland's Mercedes, Sunship, Radio Clit, Dee Kline, and Hard Feelings UK. Released soon after the Yo Kryptonite Pussy EP, which is also known in some circles as the "dirty" EP, hot electro beats, lust, and rage fill their expectedly X-rated debut Futuristically Speaking...Never Be Afraid. Starting with "F****d Up," a threatening little restraining order of a number, Jwl B. yells "You blame me for fuckin' up your car, I sliced your tires and I ripped out your seats" over an out of tune, distorted guitar and a syrupy beat. An exhausting rant of a song, fortunately they change gears and tone down the animosity here and there to keep from burning out listeners. "Leather Jacket" shows the girls' silly side as they diss a fashion flawed hipster, and "Night Riders" strikes a political chord by tackling the issues of racism and drug abuse without ever sounding overly preachy. But no one tunes in to hear Yo Majesty wax on a provocative level, and they're wise to this. Dancefloor fun is the cornerstone of the record, and the primary lesson to be learned is that there's nothing wrong with grindin' and shakin'. Big bottom crunk singles "Club Action," "Party Hearty," and "Booty Klap" feature Southern-style tongue twisters spat at a pace that would feel fitting in an 8Ball & MJG, Mystikal, and Twista freestyle session. Apt wordsmiths, they have blistering lyrical chops for women or men, and their beat selections are an energetic combination of hot Miami Bass and chilly 8-bit architecture that sounds both futuristic and derivative of old school. Think Spank Rock vs. J.J. Fad, Peaches tag-teaming with Luke Campbell, or DJ Assault against Salt-N-Pepa in a steel cage match. No, make that a mud-wrestling match.


Formed: 2000 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

Tampa, FL-based group Yo Majesty -- Shunda K., Shon B., and Jwl B. -- turns upside down the male chauvinist standard in hip-hop music with a hardcore female bravado. Adopting an almost punk approach to a hybrid of Southern crunk and '80s-styled electro, the openly, and defiantly, gay trio gained notoriety in the 2000s for their sex-filled rhymes and boisterous and unbridled live shows. Rappers Shunda K. and Shon B. started out as a duo named Yeah Majesty before they were rounded out in 2000 by gospel-raised...
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Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid, Yo Majesty
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