Just ask any elder of the black community: Black faith is unwavering. And yet, at a time when blackness is up for grabs by the masses, Solange reminds us that the ownership of black culture by black people can never die. It is for us, by us, forever with us.
On “Almeda,” the stand-out track on the artist’s fourth solo album When I Get Home, Solange draws heavily from the roots and traditions of her Southern black culture, specifically the influence of her hometown of Houston. Produced by Pharrell, frequent collaborator John Kirby, and Solange—and featuring a clever appearance by Playboi Carti—“Almeda” is a reinvented ode to the Houston-born chopped ’n’ screwed genre.
Steady, trembling, synthetic percussion rattles underneath the track as Solange sings about the things which remain black-owned: black braids, black waves, and, especially, black skin. Others may imitate, but they can’t claim what was never theirs. Repetition is used two-fold here, both in the traditional production style of “chopped ‘n’ screwed” and as a means of emphasis on her lyrics. She seems to imply: In case you forgot, let me remind you.
“Black faith still can’t be washed away/Not even in that Florida Water,” she states definitively. A unisex cologne water known for its spiritual properties to cleanse negative energy, purify, and calm, it is no match for the strength, the binding universal force of black culture. “Pour more drank, drank/ Sip, sip, sip, sip, sip,” she repeats. We can continue celebrating, continue reveling in the power and beauty of ourselves.