When I first heard Alessia Cara's track "Here" I was like "who let this into mainstream music?" I thought the big wigs spent all their time trying to keep this type of introverted, party-hating introspection off the airwaves. It was the first pop song I could relate to since the Moonlight Sonata.
My second thought was that Alessia Cara's full-bodied, soul-dripping voice would shine brighter than diamonds singing the hook on any and all hip hop tracks. I guess that illustrates the lack of understanding I have when it comes to the genre of R&B. Regardless, others seem to agree as, back in February, Logic dropped a verse over a relatively unaltered edition of Cara's "Here." It was sort of what I had in mind but felt more like a mashup of two songs rather than a collective effort.
Today, however, emcee Lyric Michelle has blessed me with the collaborative effort I was waiting for. Alessia Cara may not have recorded the vocals with Lyric Michelle in mind, but the way Michelle intermingles both the content and quality of her words with Cara's creates a facade convincing enough for me to believe they collaborated.
Chicago-born, Housten-bred, Lyric Michelle is said to be returning from a hiatus with the release of her "Here" sampling "Wanderlust." I myself was not aware Lyric Michelle had already come and gone once, but it appears OK-Tho wrote about one of her tracks back in 2015. That was off of her then-upcoming debut project MissDirection which ended up dropping back in February. As of now, I cannot speak to the quality of that project, but based off "Wanderlust" and her categorizing herself as a recording artist, I expect good things.
Now, as for "Wanderlust" itself. Taking Alessia Cara's vocals as its base, NYC producer Lucian bolsters the beat with boastful horns, bubbling synths, and clean claps to pleasing proportions. In the verses, Michelle reinterprets Cara's lyrics. While still wondering why she is where she is, the "here" in question is her home rather than a party. She loves her city and the family within it with all her heart. Even so, she cannot ignore her unshakable need to traverse the globe, rocking shows in exotic lands and meeting her devoted fans.
In the accompanying video, we see shots of Michelle rapping her ass off to hyped crowds at a series of venues. It is essential to note that the band backing her is really real, live in the flesh, and not just a laptop plugged into an aux. While one does not need a live band to rock a proper hip hop show, a live band is a classy and admirable extravagance enjoyed by only the realest of
rappers recording artists. As you can see from the video, Michelle really does belong onstage performing for her people, it is there that she is home, even if being at that home means being away from another home. Press play and get a taste for what one gets when attending a Lyric Michelle musical showcase. And, as for MissDirection, I'll get back to you on that one.