BEHIND THE MUSIC

FR333's newest EP - TH3 Body Out Now!

I’m pleased to announce the release FR333’s latest EP: TH3 BODY.

LISTEN HERE

My co creator, XOA, and I put our blood, sweat, tears and coins into this sonic ritual and we can’t thank our collaborators enough for their contributions. TH3 BODY features RyanNicole and Honey Gold Jasmine. It was mixed by the talented Jeffrey Kolhede and mastered by Gabriel Shepard. XOA and I also spent a good amount of time recording and strategizing in the local music incubator known as Zoo Labs. So much gratitude to the staff at Zoo Labs. Big ups to the supremely talented Oakland music community, a community that we’re blessed to be a part of!

TH3 BODY, like our last release (TH3 MIND), begins with an intro poem. Hidden in between the lines of this poem is an escape route. What makes this musical journey different is that TH3 BODY charts sensuality and sadness. It channels trauma so it can be faced. It honors the sacred feminine self. In essence, it is Goddess Trap in all its glory! Welcome to this new wave.

Th3 Body is avail on Soundcloud and Bandcamp

But what’s also behind this creation, for me as a vocalist, is a journey in bodily excavation.   

 “The body

naked as birth

dancing in the mirror

feeling like a flirt”

Cultivating a sense of self-confidence is a constant struggle. We live in a world that thrives off of our self-doubt. On a personal level, I appear to be strong, and perhaps when I was a child, I was more courageous. But I am a deeply sensitive woman. I am an Empath. There was once a time when I adored everything about my body, when I relished in my flesh and bones.  Neglect, chaos, and other traumas interrupted this beautiful time, and I was conditioned to forget how beautiful I could be. Instead, I learned to survive. It was what I had to do. Our minds may give us clues about a trauma loop, but our skin is a literal map of what happened. And although we’d like to imagine ourselves to be advanced, we’re still the same Homo sapiens that struggled to make sense of a predator or threat, often in one of three ways: fight, flight or freeze.

Freeze

In the song “Peaches” I pay homage to the pop star of the same name. I reimagine her classic track, “Fuck the Pain Away.” That song will always remind me of being a high school girl in Seattle. A child of Grunge, a real city girl, a little odd, well read, clinically depressed, working class and rough around the edges.  I was just beginning to delve into radical politics: racial equality, women’s rights—I mean, I’m from a place where protestors clashed with the WTO. But the personal politics lived in my marrow. I was growing into my black body too. I remember being asked “what are you?” too many times to count. I remember being cat called, being deemed exotic. I remember the horrors too, like seeing my father’s bloated corpse in a casket at age sixteen. I tried to mourn but there was never enough time. I remember longing for connection, for someone to care. I remember my first relationship—unfortunately with a Narcissist who manipulated me and devalued me. “Fuck the Pain Away” was a soundtrack to my grief stricken sensibilities, sensibilities that I hid so well. I had the woo powers but not the faintest idea how to manage these fragile ego having humans known as cis men. I remember feeling shame about sex, about figuring out how it worked, about saying no or yes or “I just want to be close.” Shame about standing up for my myself when I was assaulted or violated.  Then best friend Sara would put on the song “Fuck the Pain Away” by Peaches. We’d dance in her West Seattle bedroom. It was weird. It was about not giving a shit, about being in full freeze mode. A kind of numbness. It was catchy. It unabashedly and explicitly detailed sexual escapades. I was hooked. 

 The body

her body rises each morning

and a world unfurls

the playground of her brown skin

a place where rage often waits

unsuspecting

a volcano erupting in her memory

and she’s running towards it

gathering all the ashes of her former self

Fight

What’s worse than harm that stems from someone else’s actions? Self-betrayal. We betray ourselves by not standing up at the first intuitive sign of harm. We are taught to have amnesia. And best believe that forgetting is one of the oldest and most terrifying responses to trauma. We learn to forget in all manner of ways.  Our minds bury what we fear we can’t quite fathom. It doesn’t help that Gaslighting is so common these days. People would rather avoid dealing with reality than speak candidly about harm. One of the ways we break free from a cloud of smoke and mirrors is to go to war.

And whether the predator is psychological or physical, my first response has often been fighting. My body says throw blows. Says kick and scream and get someone to hear me. My Mars tendencies glow vivid, reminding the world that, if there is a war to be waged, I’m on the front lines. But battle after battle has often left me so wounded that the line between fact and fiction becomes blurry. It’s like that scene in Random Acts of Flyness when the black woman is playing a video game meant to represent the experience of existing in the world, she’s shooting at everyone—the white supremacists, the dudes that verbally harass her, but then an elderly man says hello and she accidentally shoots him too. The screen flashes: “friendly fire.” And of course she loses.   

In the track “Gut Feeling” I rap about the self-betrayal that occurs when women are conditioned to forget their magic. This happens in all manner of unrelenting ways. The beat is purposefully war like, a battle ensues. The purpose of the song is to remind folks that feelings do indeed matter. Logic is prized, but what we feel in our gut is also a sort of superpower. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Oakland native, RyanNicole, ever since I moved to the town almost ten years ago. Having a feature from this incredible woman is a literal dream come true. She goes IN!

“Self

esteem

scream,

‘I am not an apology’

as soon as she walks outside

stares

some bodies thrive

some bodies are afraid to exist

to be alive

and woman

and femme

how dare she demand respect from him

how dare she walk that block like it’s a runway in Milan”

Flight

The getaway. The people could fly. Could run. Could avoid or escape or just move. Running away from a situation is not always avoidance though. Sometimes it is important to create some distance between yourself and the harm. Ascension.  Words and creativity and utterances. Let me tell you a not so secret: my raps are spells.  Every time I write, memorize or utter a rhyme, I channel and connect with non-linear time. I flirt with death. I play pretend with my inner child. I conjure the infinitely rich present moment. I imagine a future brimming with freedom. I was led to believe that, as a mixed race black woman, I am an outsider in my own house of bones. Many of us battle with being seen in spaces that were originally built as our own refuge. We are the source though. I’ve struggled with being shut out of this complex ceremony called hip-hop. Each time I spit a fire verse, I remember who I am. I remember that I’m a master of ceremony, a sorceress wielding a potential healing mechanism, one that some of my ancestors helped create. I give birth to movements.

In the song “I Gave You Life” I join Honey Gold Jasmine in a homage to mothering. It is also a warning to all fuck boys. Don’t forget who gives life. Although I am not a mother myself, my ability to conceive is infinite. I view my nurturing capabilities as one of my greatest magical abilities. Honey Gold Jasmine’s gorgeous voice centers and solidifies the sacred connection all black women can cultivate. Tap in.

“He meant no harm

‘Hey ma!

what’s your name’?

How could she explain?

My name is FR333”

Th3 Body

In essence, our bodies can help us unearth all that is buried deep. Our bodies provide clues. Listening to our bodies is crucial. We all have eyes that collect stories, lips that linger on unspoken truths.  Forgetting our bodies makes us numb. We fail to see a glitch repeating and recreating itself, a spiral leaving us spinning in the same sequence of events. Maybe the host of characters changes, but the same sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach persists. 

FR333’s new project, TH3 BODY, has taken me from the voices inside my head, to a humming in my very cartilage. As much as I like to call myself an artist, somehow I still forget to feel. I am still working on feeling. I hope you are too.