Tulsa Shines: Fire In Little Africa’s New Album
by Adam Townsend
“Shining” was the lead single from Motown signee Fire in Little Africa’s self-titled album. With a smooth, luxurious jazz instrumental reminiscent of The Alchemist, the four artists featured on the track focus on standing out within the context of a world determined to oppress them, and the bloodied history of Blacks in Tulsa going back to the era of prosperous Black Wall Street and the Race Massacre of 1921.
With the steady and bass-heavy instrumental, artists Steph Simon, Dialtone, Ayilla, and Jerica ponder the success and persistence of Black people despite the perception of Blackness in a racialized America, and touch on the importance of building a strong community to embrace a more solidified Black entrepreneurial presence and transmute centuries of suffering and trauma into a monument of excellence.
The track immediately draws comparisons to New York rap’s unique combination of grimy and realistic portrayals of inner-city life. Fire in Little Africa’s music recalls The Griselda Collective, known for their soulful samples and hard hitting and complex lyricism, that details their ascension from poverty and introduction into opulence and luxury. These themes are integrated into the Black experience unique to Tulsa, with lyrics flexing the resilience of the historic Greenwood Avenue and its growth into a prosperous district within downtown Tulsa, and how they have transcended these obstacles against all odds.
Despite centuries of racial discrimination and injustice, Black expression that inherently challenges the established white hierarchical structures within Tulsa ultimately offer a snapshot of wholistic self-expression within a community building upon its roots, piece by piece.
You can read the full album which was released today, Friday, May 28th.