wax Poetics

Free Soul

Georgia Anne Muldrow branches out with Madlib on Seeds

published online
Originally published in Issue 52
By David Ma

Photo by Charles Sicuso.
Photo by Charles Sicuso.

    “Everything I want is here,” sings Georgia Anne Muldrow on “Husfriend,” a track off her latest and perhaps most striking work, Seeds. It exudes confidence and couches important themes into its blues, soul, and psych sound. Produced entirely by Madlib, it’s an ode to Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield according to Georgia, who speaks like she sings—with stern ease. She asserts: “I make music in the tradition of anyone who wasn’t scared; anyone who understands that music is dialogue in the same way freedom songs were. I make Black music. That’s something I am very proud to be a part of.”

    The daughter of guitarist Ronald Muldrow (who contributed immensely to Eddie Harris’s '70s albums), Georgia was the first female artist signed to Stones Throw. She then developed a record label, SomeOthaShip, with her husband, rapper/producer Dudley Perkins (also known as Declaime). And 2009 saw dual releases that largely helped define her sound, Umsindo and Early. Both showcased emotional truths and versatility that, according to her, channel back to her father. “He didn’t get mad at me when I was banging on oatmeal cans when I was three,” she laughs. “It continued, and I played drums in my elementary school jazz band. I think that’s why at the start of my career I sometimes over-wrote or over-sang, ’cause my folks had real high standards in music. It seems like they didn’t really like anything,” she jokes.

    Georgia often plays many of the instruments on her songs and writes earnest, socially cognizant lyrics. SomeOthaShip certainly is an extension of her sensibilities, pushing projects in the tradition of artists “who speak their piece.” “Something that’s as earth-changing as music—something so important as it is—needs outlets so that all voices are heard. There are some people who go into their homes and have no music on. Man, how could anyone live like that?”

    Dudley corralled Madlib to SomeOthaShip for Seeds, and the rest quickly unfolded. “I don’t usually get produced by others,” Georgia says. “I’ve done a few collaborative projects, but this was just easy. I simply vibed over those beats. We weren’t in the studio planning everything out. We don’t have to do that or have the time,” she says, laughing. As she puts it: “It gives others a magnifying glass into our culture. It’s more of an anthropological thing to me. Madlib and I made this album with a lot of confidence in our hearts and in our minds.”