As I mentioned on several occasions before, one of my favourite things in life is to discover new music through artists I appreciate and support. Another thing I love is when I have a chance to collaborate with said artists, but also when MCs and producers I know decide to work together. Now, if you consider John Graham’s new album Magic: Blanc et Noir ticks all the boxes, you will easily understand that it became an instant favourite as soon as I started listening to it. Let me develop all this a bit more… I first heard of John Graham thanks to Prosthetik Intelligentz, a group I greatly appreciate and who used my voice on their project The Sounds & Wonders EP with GravityMovement. This lead me not only to become familiar with John’s music but also to be part of his new project. Finally, when I read the tracklist and saw that Shade Cobain and Prosthetik Intelligentz’ very own Doom Got Beats produced some songs on the album, a huge smile appeared on my face. The smile of course remained when I pressed play and discovered the beautiful music they both created.
At a time when many so-called artists rely on public image and trends to be “successful”, it is quite reassuring to know that others still decide to provide the listeners with music that is the result of creative self-expression and hours spent working on their craft and honing their skills. With Magic: Blanc et Noir, John Graham presents a concept album dealing with the constant contradictions and going back and forth you can find in life and within yourself. The introduction by yours truly actually gives you a good idea of what to expect and I am really happy to say that John and I were on the same wave-length when it came to how we considered the album. Clearly one of his most personal and honest works to date, Magic: Blanc et Noir is compelling by its bluntness and willingness to say what others don’t even dare to think.
While some listeners may be taken aback and view some of the tracks as controversial, I can’t but praise the MC’s courage and openness. Among the most striking examples I could cite is Uncivil Rights, where he explains how reality usually differs from what people think or are made to believe in terms of civil rights and equality in the United States. On a more personal note, Not In Love is a heartfelt statement about relationships which is once again a way for John Graham to show how you can never see things only in “noir” or “blanc”. In love and in life, nothing is ever guaranteed and feelings are some of the most difficult things to nurture and maintain. Another track that develops a similar idea wonderfully is Love & War, whose title sums up the message quite well. Deirdra Copeland’s voice is pure beauty and reinforces the emotional appeal of the lyrics. Going even deeper within, Addictions is probably one of the most personal tracks of the album and it is quite impressive to see how the MC is baring his soul. The lovely instrumental only enhances the power of the song and makes it one of my favourites. Another special mention goes to All Seeing Eyes, a beautiful message to his wife and son which clearly didn’t leave me unmoved.
Taking us on a journey through life and love, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and failures, John Graham never censors himself and offers an authentic and inspiring message of hope despite the hardships. Every single song is a way for the listener to reflect upon society and politics, relationships and family, while enjoying the enchanting soundtrack created by the various producers. More than ever, I am grateful to know so many incredible artists who help me keep faith in the future of music and maybe even humanity…
Now that you know a bit more about Magic: Blanc et Noir, I invite you to listen to and download the album via John Graham’s Bandcamp page, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy and please spread the word!