There are few issues extra emotionally gutting than being deserted by a romantic companion throughout your first being pregnant. Properly, perhaps the ladies he cheated on you with gloating about it on social media. On 2021’s Nonetheless Over It, Summer season Walker aired her soiled laundry, calling out her ex for being a liar, clout chaser, and deadbeat, typically over his personal manufacturing. “I wanna begin along with your momma, she ought to’ve whooped your ass,” she sang. Now, some boyfriends and infants later, she’s much less fascinated by writing about life resembling an episode of Love & Hip-Hop. She’s discovering serenity.
Navigating romantic love is a hellscape for Black girls; degradation and fetishization appear pre-programmed into your life script. It’s why artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Metropolis Women undertake confrontational, borderline misandrist personas as fits of armor. Walker is aware of that sustaining a tricky exterior will get exhausting, and the title of her newest EP, Clear 2: Tender Life, aspires to consolation and ease. On the wearied neo-soul of “Hardlife,” she longs for somebody to supply for her, jealous of ladies “with they ft kicked up/They usually glass in hand.” Black males had been a supply of animus in her earlier discography, however on the slow-grooving opener, collaborator J. Cole presents flattery and gratitude: “I’m sendin’ you, SZA, and Ari my love/Y’all holdin’ us down, y’all holdin’ the crowns,” he says in an “audio hug,” a naked minimal gesture that fashions Walker’s present bar for the boys in her life.
Progress isn’t linear; Walker nonetheless indulges in some thrilling dysfunction on “New Kind,” the place Infantile Gambino performs a lover who can barely afford dinner at McDonald’s but nonetheless finds a method to criticize her physique and selections. You possibly can inform there’s one thing a couple of fixer-upper that she finds irresistible, however when she invokes one other infamously good-for-nothing man, Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone,” it’s as a result of this time she has the knowledge to differentiate between a worthy companion and a time-waster. She is of course hilarious, an undeniably compelling orator. She feigns apathy to get a person to chase after her on “Pull Up”—“Cease touchin’ me, I’m gettin’ out”—however is unable to hide that she’s a giggly romantic at coronary heart: “You humorous, I really like you too.”
Trudging by her messy private life and rising on the opposite aspect, Walker fashions progress for the individuals who noticed themselves within the jilted narrator of Nonetheless Over It. “We’re going to evolve mentally, spiritually, bodily, financially, um, emotionally,” she resolves on the spoken-word nearer “Agayu’s Revelation,” backed by twinkling pianos and lightweight woodwinds courtesy of Solange, Steve Lacy, and John Caroll Kirby. For Walker, the “mushy life” isn’t simply poolside wine spritzers: It’s studying out of your errors and creating self-compassion. Don’t attempt to spin the block on her till you’ve received clear chakras and a closely annotated copy of all about love.
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