Somi – “The Wild One”

Somi, “The Wild One,” from Petite Afrique (Sony Music Entertainment)

Somi’s latest record is personal, emotionally direct, politically poignant and stylistically progressive. Borrowing heavily from neo-soul, R&B and African pop, Petite Afrique flourishes in an aesthetic niche that harnesses the spontaneity and expressive range of the jazz musicians involved within the structures of intricately arranged songs. Somi’s vocals are delicate yet visceral, and her lyrics are equally powerful, illustrating the gentrification of Harlem’s African immigrant community. —Asher Wolf


Our Song of the Day is “The Wild One,” a dense yet surprisingly buoyant tune in which Somi’s serene, cool-headed vocal melody threads its way through a spiky rhythmic landscape of woodblock, shaker and HighLife-style soukous guitar. The lyrics speak to personal independence and cultural pride. “She likes her tea with milk and rum and spices” Somi sings. “She wears her hair down and brags about her vices.”

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