27/30 r&b soul

sudan archives – natural brown prom queen

“I’m not average,” says Brittney Parks, a lot. Natural Brown Prom Queen has a confidence proportionate to the Ohio native’s vision. The instrumentals don’t merely embody her celebratory themes, but urge them further, like a tennis match in which both players secretly support themselves and the opponent. This is as clarified as neo-soul, hip-hop, or R&B comes, eschewing a lyrical washiness that can accompany such precise, luxurious production. Park’s robust freedom daubs many of the clubbier tracks, tantalisingly dripping onto some of her quiet, fancier moments. The atmospheric breaks focus on little other than self-belief. This is indubitably a peak, but there’s no descent in sight. 


A favourite: ‘Ciara’

‘Natural Brown Prom Queen’ is out now via Stones Throw Records.

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