Published Mar 30, 2020Hustle, thy name is Witch Prophet. The Ontario-based artist, also known as singer-songwriter Ayo Leilani, has been relentless in forging an independent career for herself and this latest ten-track outing is no exception.
With DNA Activation — the followup to her 2018 debut The Golden Octave — Witch Prophet not so much eschews genre so much as she gives it the gasface, before proceeding to conjure up hip-hop, jazz and soul essences in a potent sonic stew. The thrust of the album is a metaphysical one: she sings of obsidian, which is truth-enhancing, which is all you need to know about where her head is at.
Teaming up with DJ Sun Sun bears sweet fruit and most time it goes down easy. DNA Activation is biblical and mythic in scope — with lyrics sung in English, Amharic and Tigrinya — drawing upon her Eritrean roots and North American musical sensibilities. While "Etmet" comes off a tad too relaxed, too dreamy, the thump of "Musa," the dissonance of "Roman" and elevated points like the keys-driven "Darshan," the '90s jazz-soul of "Ghidon" and the urgency of "Tesfay" carry the project over the top.
Witch Prophet is operating — artistically, conceptually and strategically — on a different plane, saying as much as she describes her drip in "Tesfay."
DNA Activation is power and powerful, reflecting all of Witch Prophet's musicality and passion to all those ready to receive it. Bow down to the Queen indeed. (Independent)