This record represents so so much. I was 24 years old, doing my absolute best fucking up and making a rapid and haphazard exodus from New Orleans to the Bay Area. I was really struggling a bit with race. Young, black, angry, pissed off in general but really in an especially bitter place with white society. Me'shell was on this real unapologetic black rock funk shit that my soul needed at the time. "Plantation Lullabies" is a refreshing departure from New Jack swing and not really a part of but more on the fringes of what would soon become known as "neo-soul".
Me'Shell displays a confident, intellectual, sexy kind of cool that I can't remember seeing or hearing from any other female artist at the time. This record is, to me, in so many ways about the Black experience. She is not afraid to speak directly to our community, about our community and directly to White society about White society.
Her beauty cannot be measured with standards of a colonized mind
Darker than blue darker than her blackness
Unblemished her features broad and striking
She cradles his body with her large hands
Her fingers stretch endlessly into his world of pain
Her caresses warm and penetrating she loves the black boy
His existence predestined to be one of no remorse compassion
Or the delusion of equality
But the love he gives (a doxology for her)
He praises and cares for what he can never be
There's such purity in a love that is essential to the loving of one's self
Read more: Me'Shell Ndegéocello - Untitled Lyrics | MetroLyrics
If I speak about it from a bass playing musician's perspective I have to say that Me'Shell approaches the instrument in the same way that I do when I'm in an artist's role as opposed to being a sideman. The instrument is a bit player in a much larger play. Me'shell is absolutley bad ass on bass. Amazing tone, feel, note choice.... I mean all of her little "flavor packets" that she plays are just 'on'. Always 'on'. I love this record from start to finish. Everything she speaks sings, plays and the time in my then very young life that "Plantation Lullabies" represents.