Jamila Woods “Heavn” (Closed Sessions)
Jamila Woods is a Chicago-based poet, educator, playwright, and community activist. As if that weren’t enough, she’s also a singer possessed of an airy, languid voice that is the centerpiece of a fantastic new track, called “Heavn”.
Woods enters cooing modified lyrics from The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”, calling for a “trick” that “makes you love someone”; that “makes the winters warm”. The response is a paean to the joy of lasting love, free of (and in the face of) societal constructs and restrictions. Taking a hand, Woods leads a dynastic journey to a past where “great-great-great-great-great-great” grandparents “didn’t need a ring or a broom” to make their love eternal, the refrain “I don’t want to run away with you/I want to live our life right, here” providing comfort.
The track is a welcome throwback to the early days of the so-called ‘neo-soul’ movement, at the intersection of spoken word and hip hop. “Heavn” glides along a looped, propulsive tribe vibe instrumental sampled from The Roots’ Dilla Joints cut, “Eve”, the mix reminding me of personal favorites like Ambersunshower, touching down via a prolonged outro. Transportive.