Bahamadia - Kollage (2xLP - 140g Vinyl)
The entire Kollage project was recorded at D&D Studios, and the ties to Gang Starr are keenly felt, with DJ Premier producing five tracks in addition to the killer songs Guru had already produced with her. Working with the cream of the mid-90s East Coast sound, Kollage is, accordingly, a record that demonstrates a varied musical taste with disparate influences, as Bahamadia has previously stated: “The title Kollage was a reflection of my state of mind. I first got interested in music from playing my parents’ and grandparents’ records, as well as what I heard on the radio. I wanted Kollage to reflect that diversity both lyrically and sonically."
With intelligent, poetic lyricism and a laconic verbal style bursting with both warm texture and deceptive energy, Bahamadia’s flow was as inspired by Aretha and Nancy Wilson as it was Q-Tip, Schoolly D, and Lady B. Swaggering out the gate, "WordPlay" finds Bahamadia confidently showcasing her considerable old-school battle-rhyme skills over a Guru beat that utilizes an infectiously bouncy bassline with splashes of sultry jazz horns and a Jeru vocal snatch for the hook. Up next, the quietly shimmering and ruggedly beautiful "Spontaneity" is one of the most alluring on the record, Da Beatminerz crafting a brilliantly soulful and jazzy soundscape for Bahamadia's effortless vocals to float across. It's followed by "Rugged Ruff", where the rapper carefully constructs a swift off-beat flow over Premier's raw jazzy fire.
With smooth spacey synth vibes overseen by former Geto Boys producer N.O. Joe, "I Confess" is, without question, a fly love song and soothing (p)-funk groove. "UKNOWHOWWEDU" is an airy, chilled tribute to her hometown. Produced by Ski Beatz & DJ Redhanded, it rides a gloriously mellow break. It's a true Philly anthem, shouting out a who’s who of the entire city’s scene. Early banger "Total Wreck" follows, presenting a murky Guru instrumental elevated by jazzy horns. Bahamadia invokes the title's suggestion, firing her brilliant bars more aggressively than we’re accustomed to. More Beatminerz-brilliance comes in the way of "Innovation", an opportunity for the MC to invoke Freestyle Fellowship in her forward-thinking and literary verses. "Da Jawn" features hometown buddies The Roots, with Black Thought gliding into a back-and-forth with Bahamadia over ?uestlove’s warm, snapping percussion. With the strut club banger "True Honey Buns (Dat Freak Sh*t)", DJ Premier provides some laidback vibrant boom bap for Bahamadia to share a wild, cautionary tale about a night out with her girl, Kia.
Fan favorite "3 Tha Hard Way" is a hypnotically sinister cut, with Bahamadia, K-Swift, and Mecca Star taking star turns to coast over DJ Premier’s raw beat, whilst the tender "Biggest Part Of Me" is a heartfelt stunner dedicated to her son. Incredibly, only the European and Japanese CD versions of Kollage were released with the brilliantly breezy “Path To Rhythm”, featuring Ursula Rucker. Whilst ostensibly a "bonus track", it's anything but, to our ears. Very much in sonic conversation with KRS-One's stretched-out sleeper classic "Higher Level", it's absolutely essential so we had to include it, appearing on wax for the first time here, exclusively. Quite a coup.
Somewhat predictably, whilst Kollage was released to significant critical acclaim, it suffered from disappointing sales. In the intervening years - and for far too long - it was a criminally underrated record, an increasingly hidden gem. We hope this double LP reissue - which looks and sounds amazing - will go some way to correct this. This 2024 Be With double LP re-issue has been mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis, cut by Cicely Balston, and pressed at Record Industry. It's too bold and beautiful to remain overlooked and underserved.
True Honey Buns (Dat Freak Sh*t)
3 Tha Hard Way
Biggest Part Of Me
Path To Rhythm
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