Solange pays homage to hometown on hypnotizing, well-received album


Courtesy of Creative Commons

‘When I Get Home’ came as a gift to fans on the first day of March.

Solange Knowles surprise-released her fourth studio album, “When I Get Home,” at midnight last Friday. The album was preceded by social media posts that included photographs and videos of what was seen as a takeover of Black Planet, a social media site from the ’90s that gave the black community a safe space to engage online.  

The 19-song album is an undeniable homage to the city of Houston, Knowles’s hometown. There is a heavy Houston influence throughout the album. In fact, tracks “Almeda,” “Beltway,” “Binz,” “S McGregor (interlude)” and “Exit Scott (interlude)” are named after prominent streets and a highway in the Houston area. Scarface and Phylicia Rashad, a rapper and actress both hailing from Houston, are even featured on the album. This is a big deal to many as the 32-year-old artist is bringing Houston flavor into the mainstream arena.

From the genius marketing that generated buzz to the raw talent, “When I Get Home” has the potential to be more successful than her critically-acclaimed third studio album, “A Seat at the Table.” Maintaining the space city theme, Knowles incorporated the phone number of Mike Jones, a Houstonian rapper, into her marketing strategy. By dialing the number 281-330-8004, fans could listen to song snippets while anticipating the full album. Following the release of the album, she announced nine events in Houston, Texas.

Despite the running time of 39 minutes, “When I Get Home” feels like a journey through a cosmic dimension. Knowles’s angelic voice coupled with bass-thumping beats demands attention. Most songs barely reach three minutes, but are definitely interconnected as some end right where another begins. The entire album is a true work of art and must be listened to from beginning to end in order to gain sight of the bigger picture: Knowles’s narrative about a marginalized group of people.

This album resonates with people for many reasons. There are plenty of notable collaborators. From Tyler, The Creator, to Gucci Mane, to Pharrell, to Metro Boomin and Playboi Carti, “When I Get Home”  has genuine range. However, some fans feel as if the album is missing a few vocals from her older sister, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

Another aspect of the album that made listeners adore it even more is the intersectionality of unapologetic blackness and feminism. “When I Get Home” represents Knowles. She even released a 33-minute visual titled, “A Texas Film” to accompany the album. It features depictions of what home means to her and begs the question: What would your visual for home be?

“When I Get Home” is currently available on Tidal, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, iTunes and more.