I had more or less given up on hip hop for a good few years. I was taken in by the blissfully raucous noise that is riot grrrl as a teenager and since then I have found a home for my feelings and emotions in growling distortion and the twang of tight guitar strings. I’m like the guys from Flight of the Conchords, I can only express myself through music (except I don’t write witty comedy tunes, just a sparsely updated music blog). Try as I may I can’t say I’ve ever found a home in hip hop like I did with riot grrrl, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up all hope of finding it. I always have time for someone who wants to shake me by my shoulders and scream “what are you talking about hip hop is the future”. Futuristic hip hop duo THEESatisfaction did just that to me.
THEESatisfaction, Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, are a spaced out, jazz-infused hip hop duo that are a step and half ahead of the rest of their contemporaries. The duo are both musical and real life partners. Listen to any THEESatisfaction song to hear their closeness in every melody and every beat. Irons delivers a silky lyrical rhyme for Harris-White to take and inject a kind of soul Aretha would be jealous of into every nook and cranny of the song.
Their style is minimalist, some songs, such as ‘Bitch’, are just a few simplistic beats and vocals. The duo takes cues from acts such as De La Soul, Erykah Badu and that type of early 90s hip hop that was influenced by jazz, funk and spoken word poets. ‘Do You Have The Time’ samples an addictive falsetto vocal, which is apt since the band spend the rest song singing about getting high and “chilling out easily”.
Along with a love of capitalisation, something that makes someone like me who edits copy for a living very anxious, THEESatisfaction also love to pay homage to their roots with songs like ‘On What It Means To Be Black’ and ‘I Nigress’. They are a powerful sight to behold as well. They command the stage with just a laptop to keep them company, clad in dashikis and afros Angela Davis would be proud of. I almost want to email them just to ask them hair tips. So Catherine how do you get your hair to stay so strong? Stasia come on girl be honest. You’re using a special conditioner in that aren’t you? That’s not just a wash and go do.
It may seem strange but the idea of a hip hop duo that consisted of two black women who shied away from weaves, fake nails and butt surgery, and they were also stridently political seemed so amazing to me I had to check again just to see if I hadn’t imagined it. I love that I can listen to a band and know that they represent a part of myself that is rarely represented well, if at all. THEESatisfaction have just realised their debut album on Sub Pop that is full of fuzzed out, laid back soul and they know how to rock a dashiki. What’s not to love about them.