“CXFFEE BLACK” Album Review
By Gerald Olufemi-Lamar Darling
Bartholomew Jones, a.k.a Bart Jones, a.ka, “Mo”, a.k.a a local saint of ethereal sounds, smooth black “cxffee”, and unapologetic blackness, uses their God-given gifts and talents to bring to us one of many of their magnum opus’s with the drop of his debut album, “Cxffeblack”.
“Cxffeeblack” is a amalgamation of the soulful (and probably caffeinated) energies of Bartholomew and some of the friends and family collective the “Cxffeeblack” movement, manifested into a track-list that feels like the emulsification of D’Angelo’s Funkadelic’s, Solange’s airiness, and Outkast’s “alt” dirty south hip- hop energy. So, in other words, VERY BLACK, and VERY GOOD music.
While we can compare the sounds of Bartholomew Jones and the collective’s sounds and reverberations to other renowned Black Musical Alchemists of our generation, the full message and mantra of Cxffeeblack would feel drowned out in the “sugar and cream” of comparison. The “X’ in Cxffeeblack is not only for the sake of the aesthetic of the album, its purpose is indicative of the deeper, intersectional narrative that Bartholomew has at the center of their moment and brand. In an interview with Edible Memphis in May of 2019, he conveys the simple yet profound purpose behind the “X” in “Cxffeeblack”:
“the ‘X’ variable God has placed on humanity to create a better sum…and how black people have historically used ‘X’ to replace the sugar and cream they were given as a last name during slavery. Most did this until they found a connection with their origins powerful enough to become their new family name. The X served as a fulcrum to connect them to their natural notes as humans, and that’s exactly what we wanna do as well,”
That mantra and the energy that it brings fully manifests itself into a melodic and metaphysical form in every single track that Bartholomew Jones and friends produced. Each lyric, beat, vibe and flow truly come together to become a better sum. Just as one drinks their coffee black, (as they should), the origins, flavors, notes meld together in a rich an smooth, single origin album that one must enjoy while partaking of their favorite brew at the crib with the boo, with the fam at the cookout, or at the local cxffee spot. There is a track for every moment and curated aesthetic that speaks to the narrative that Bartholomew and the Cxffee Black collective seeks to manifest and put out into the world.
Some of my personal favorite joints on the album to “catch the vibes” are
Track 1: Cxffeeblack-if you’re feeling some ethereal, airy, and Funkadelic notes.
Cxffee I recommend: A light and fruity Ethiopian, or A bold but grounded Rwandan
Track 3: Guji Freestyle-for some trap beats, strong sounds, or if you’re trying to start a mosh-pit.
Cxffee I recommend: An Ethiopian Guji-probably “Guji Mane” (Shameless Plug), pulled on Espresso, to be drank immediately after it has been served. (Proceed with caution not because it will change your life for the better-that’s a given. I am just not responsible for the reader burning themselves for consuming piping hot cxffee)
Track 6: “Down” (feat. Demire and Renata)-When you’re trying to rejoice in hard times, you need a vibe you can turn up to, and remind yourself it’s gone be alrite.
Cxffee I recommend: A Congolese, Ecuadorian, or Peruvian roast-something strong, subtle, present and reminds you why you should stay black, and drink your cxffee black.