Mollywop is a multifaceted ensemble whose new album ”Stand Up,” shifts from R&B to funk, rock to soul and hip-hop to reggae. Led by guitarist/singer Malik Yakini, the group creates a music that is, above all else, galvanizing and set on addressing longstanding societal issues around race and equality.
Along with Yakini on guitar, the band features Aisha Ellis, Ufuoma Akil, Zion Israel, Ayodele Bakari, Simone Winter, Solar Liquid, Venus Sky, Isis Damil and emcee GMAC.
Listen to the group’s single, “Rock That Funky Beat,” by clicking on the player above. The full-length album “Stand Up” will be available July 26.
Every member of Mollywop uses their unique talents and energies — from drum fills to organs and groove-casting basslines, ferocious guitar growls and incantation-style melodic phrases — to channel something together, and that something is a disruptive force that addresses issues that have long gone unanswered by the drone of the status quo.
While the album would please fans of many genres, the lyrics provide an urgent message. Some songs (“Celebration of Life” and the title track) are affirming and healing, while others (“No Justice, No Peace” and “Dumb F**kery”) are wearier dissertations that underline a can’t-wait-any-longer frustration against the ways in which the deck has been stacked against people of color in our society.
So yes, Mollywop have always manifested a variety of genres, but it’s never been about where they fit sonically. It’s about who finds them. The Hendrixian guitars, the reggae rhythms, the danceable percussive arrangements, that’s what can bring an audience together. But then the earscan be opened to the message in the lyrics. If you read the album title to yourself, it shouldn’t sound like a command, but rather an invitation, an encouragement, a chance for a widened perspective: Stand up.