Listen: Big Boi lends a hand to Janelle Monae's 'Tightrope'
The song is the first single from the New York-by-way-of-Kansas City artist's full-length "The ArchAndroid," due May 18. She's worked extensively with Big Boi, exec producer of the set, since signing with Diddy's Bad Boy imprint and Wondaland Arts Society three years ago. His influence is obvious on the track, with that same Outkast party sound thumping behind it, but Monae's graspable, soulful wail blends with rock 'n' roll and funk, making it altogether hers.
Of Montreal guests on the album, and Nate Wonder, Chuck Lightning, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Monae herself co-produced.
"Tightrope" and another track "Cold War" can be streamed via her website and downloaded below.
It's kind of amazing that it's even taken Monae and Atlantic this long to release a full-length record. With only an EP to her name, she's opened for No Doubt on tour and played several major music festivals at least over the last two years.
I've personally witnessed her block-rocking spirit on two occasions: one at South By Southwest last year and once as she performed with Of Montreal at Lollapalooza. The first time, she got the cross-armed industry crew dancing. With the latter, she pulled off an amazing David Bowie cover and crossed the stage with a handful of colorful balloons. Those balloons were, like, her spirit, and stuff. She's light-hearted, immensely talented, very beautiful, and doesn't feel like your typical dress-a-doll pop tart. She has her gimmicks and shenanigans, sure, but I'm starting to get the feeling 2010 is her year.
Download "TIGHTROPE" (FEAT BIG BOI):