Aside from the fact that she’s Beyoncé’s sister, most people know of Solange Knowles through the infamous, post-2014-Met-Gala elevator-fight video between her and Jay-Z. Now, with the release of her third album, A Seat At The Table, there’s another reason to know who she is. Clocking in at 21 tracks, the album is a patchwork of stories that document the struggles of being a Black woman. The breathy “Weary” tells a tale of being exhausted with the world; “Mad” — which features Lil Wayne adopting a very uncharacteristic, lethargic flow — is an anodyne piano ballad wherein Solange, almostly cheerfully, coos about how devalued Black women are in our society; and “Don’t Touch My Hair” is a diatribe against trying to change or question a Black woman’s appearance. Thanks to the varied production and Solange’s breadth of vocal styles and lyrical deliveries, the music is more distracting than the messages, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. What’s even more impressive about the record — aside from the sheer number of quality songs — is that Solange wrote, arranged, and co-produced every track, as well as served as its co-executive producer alongside Raphael Saadiq. Her sister might be (arguably) the most famous woman in the world, but that certainly isn’t stopping Solange from leaving her own mark.
With Fantastic Negrito, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, at Starline Social Club in Oakland. Donation; starlinesocialclub.com