Alicia Keys has a lot on her plate ahead of her sixth album, Here, which fell on Friday (Nov. 4). From hard-hitting hip hop tracks to stripped down acoustic ballads, Keys pulls no punches on the 16-track attempt geared toward commenting on global affairs of the heart, head and soul. With a series of five interludes that capture spoken word poetry and in-studio chatter with some of her famous buddies, the album dives deep when it comes to dissecting some of the pressing problems Keys sees around her.
The first shot across the bow is the powerful second track, “How we ever gon’ live/ If we ain’t gettin’ money how we feedin’ the kids?,” she raps. “It’s a revolving door, brothers be doin’ biz/ I know it sounds wrong but the dope’ll be what it is.”
“Is there any saving us?/ We’ve become so dangerous,” she questions. “Is there any changing us?/ Even for the sake of love?/ How you gonna kill your mama, when only mama’s gonna love you to the grave,” she sings on the Bob Marley-like song about undying maternal love. The worldwide search and struggle for love comes through on the slow-burn “She Do Not Really Care 1 Luv” and Keys busts out some gritty blues wailing on “Illusion of Bliss.”
The album also features “Where Do We Begin Now,” where Keys sings in an almost whisper over a booming heartbeat rhythm and finger snaps and the album-ending call to seek love above hate and division, “Holy War.”
The Voice coach observed the record’s launch on Thursday night (Nov. 3) with the BET broadcast of her October Times Square show in New York featuring help from Jay Z, Q Tip, Nas, Questlove and John Mayer.