Yo Majesty Futuristically Speaking... Never Be Afraid Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

...will more than reward those brave enough to try it.

Sophie Bruce 2008

Ready your ears, if you can, for the mind-blowing, astounding, sonic boom that is Yo Majesty's first full release. This Florida duo takes the attitude of Kelis, mixes it with M.I.A. and Missy and takes it to the limit… before pushing right through it.

Though they've been making music since 2000, it's only in the last 12 months that things have really taken off for Yo Majesty. Since signing to Domino Records, performances at SXSW07 and supporting The Gossip and CSS have led to complete media hysteria. NME put them in their 'top 11 bands of 2008' and they also featured in a list of 'the 25 most exciting artists in America right now'.

It's fair to say this is not going to be a release that sinks without trace. But if anyone can handle that wave of frenzy and the accompanying pressure, it's Shunda K and Jwl B. Rapper Shunda first met gospel singer Jwl in a club –their fitting philosophy is ''church in the morning, club at night''.

Don't be fooled by their gender: there is nothing girly about this Basement Jaxx co-produced album. Opener F***ed Up is pure expletive-ridden vitriol, with lyrics screaming, ''hit me I want some attention'' juxtaposed with soppy ''I love you''s. Take the rage in Kelis' Caught Out There and multiply it by ten.

These are punchy, lyric driven tracks on the whole – though there are some great melodies like Buy Love and Don’t Let Go. The album title is fitting - this could be the soundtrack for a film set in 2500 AD where women rule. The oozy bassline on Never Be Afraid certainly feels out of this world.

They may look like they’d be more at home outside the school gates, but don’t judge a book by its cover. They've been compared to Public Enemy and Outkast and credited with ''coining a female equivalent of macho'' but Yo Majesty are making and breaking their own boundaries - like a new improved Salt n Pepa for the Noughties. This brilliant, powerful hip hop never hits safe territory; it's a challenging listen which will more than reward those brave enough to try it.

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