MHYSA - Fantasii (LP)
Prolific as one half of the Philadelphia performance and sound art group SCRAAATCH, fantasii finds MHYSA in full flex, exploring the titular notion of fantasy via themes of vulnerability, denial, and Black femme agency. MHYSA’s songs speak a contemporary language of rattling, clattering club drums and synthesizers, underscoring her spoken, sung, and sampled vocals with a throbbing presence. This is club music in the most essential sense of the word: it contains not only a sense of place, but of solace, and most clearly, resolution. MHYSA describes fantasii as being similar to an inverted Dante’s Inferno, where instead of journeying deeper into Hell, the album is the soundtrack of Mhysa traveling in the opposite direction.
Of fantasii, MHYSA says:
"This debut album is an epic poem, like a reverse Dante's Inferno, where I take the listener higher, upward through my hopes, dreams, inspirations, and desires. It represents my love for Black women and femmes, as the stories are all told from our perspectives. When writing the album, I kept asking myself: what are the fantasies of Black women and femmes? What do I feel denied because I am a Black woman? Many of the songs I wrote for the album reflect those questions, as they show the protagonist wanting to be vulnerable, to be loved, wanting to fight, to be glorious, to have power, and to own their body and sexuality.
"The album's primary material is the Black woman's voice (including my own). I thought a lot about the Black women and femmes I admire, and their music and our shared Black history that continuously builds the pop culture landscape. Janet Jackson, Donna Summers, Beyoncé, TLC and Prince are all referenced, and my friend Diamond Stingily, a poet and artist from Chicago, did a freestyle for the album. There's a skit featuring Harriet Tubman (as performed on the show Underground) as well as a song for Doris Payne, the notorious jewel thief. Being a Black american woman from the american south, I wanted to draw on my roots and my history. My grandfather was a gospel blues musician and "Glory Be Black" is almost a gospel blues song, only it was written for the wayward. "Bb" was styled after 90s r'n'b songs and "STROBE" is a rap song made for the strip club.
"Anti-White Supremacy statements are expressed (especially on "Minty's Interlude"), not in a way that is meant to inform or raise awareness, but to acknowledge that Black people have been terrorized globally since the advent of slavery. I'm not giving up my rage, but I need joy so much more, I need my spirit strong in this battle and so do other Black folks. There has been a war going on our whole lives, a war that started when the first slave was brought to shore -- and we have been living, regardless. This album is for Black people (and Black women and femmes especially) that want to live and rejoice because we are still alive, even if the war is far from won."