by Petula Caesar
Every now and then I get to be a cool kid. It’s an experience I enjoy, not because I wasn’t a cool kid in high school (I wasn’t), but because in the Baltimore performance arts scene, being a cool kid can often mean being around genuinely talented and cool people. This was the case this past Saturday at Above Ground Studios in East Baltimore, where I had the pleasure of being part of a group of folks invited to a listening party for Blaqstarr’s latest project, an EP called “Moan Her Lease Her.”
photo by Michelle Antoinette Photography
“Moan Her Lease Her” is not just an EP – it is a multi-media project that includes videographic and photographic components coming together to offer perspectives on sex work and sex workers. “Moan Her Lease Her”is meant to stimulate discussion about the world’s oldest profession and how it is viewed by participants and well as outsiders. Of course this means that layers of sensuality and sexuality and even pain need to find their way into the music. Blaqstarr does successfully weave those elements into the songs on the EP through dark sounding chords and low pulsing notes that grind against the faster-paced Baltimore Club music elements of his sound.
Blaqstarr has also incorporated spoken word into this work with collaborations with Baltimore-based poets Temple and LOVE The Poet. LOVE The Poet in particular is a very astute choice for collaboration – years as a successful professional spoken word artist and as a nationally touring feature poet with the Punany Poets has definitely prepared her to contribute great poetic commentary on the topics that spring up in “Moan Her Lease Her.” In addition to vocals, she shot photographs that are part of the “Moan Her Lease Her” body of work, including the image on the promotional flyer.
And the project itself? After listening this past Saturday to the tracks in very raw form, I would say in many ways it is classic Blaqstarr, but in other ways it is a different version of him. I encourage you to come check this special project out for yourself at the video/EP release party on Thursday, June 16th at The Impact Hub Baltimore at 10 North Avenue. The event takes place from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. And when you come, listen out for a track called “Honey”.