Published Jan 29, 2019Admittedly burnt out and unsure of her next musical move after completing her trilogy of Goldenheart, Blackheart and Redemption, DAWN made the decision to go home. Having been displaced from her native New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a visit to her relocated parents' place proved instrumental to writing music inspired by the sounds and culture of her upbringing.
Describing the LP to Exclaim! as "a love letter" to her hometown, new breed finds DAWN paying homage to her Ninth Ward roots in sound and style. Without any obligations to an overarching concept this time around, it stands as her most direct effort yet.
Peeling away the futuristic sonics that dominated the aforementioned trilogy, DAWN continues to blend her myriad genres in their more natural forms. She tips a hat to the electronics of albums past on the title track and "spaces," before unabashedly leaning into funk with the one-two punch of "dreams and converse" and "shades."
Perhaps the biggest surprise is "sauce," a piece of smouldering R&B co-produced by Hudson Mohawke and Cole M.G.N. The former eschews his signature sounds to fit DAWN's world seamlessly, backing her sensual lyrics with hazy soul samples.
Vocal samples add further context to DAWN's roots: her father Frank Richard is heard at the end of "spaces," ready to sing his New Orleans anthem "Groove City" with band Chocolate Milk. Chief Montana of the Washitaw Nation can be heard on outro "ketchup and po boys" throwing "150 percent" support behind DAWN and her vision.
It is DAWN's own voice that remains the most powerful. As an arpeggiator boots up on "spaces," DAWN recounts, "I had so many men in power telling me I was too brave, too confident, too black, too ugly, too thin. That girl believed 'em, but deep inside, the girl from the Nine said fuck them."
She faces the industry machine she was once beholden to on the stunning "vultures | wolves," comparing the execs to the latter creature. "I hear the wolves dressed in suits selling dreams like bait in dress shows," she says in silence before singing, "They show their teeth like white pearls coated with meat / From all the girls they'd like to eat."
Through it all, DAWN continues to wear her undeniable confidence and independence on her sleeve, proclaiming on the title track, "I am the new breed / But your crown don't fit me." (Local Action)