Love Song for Angie Stone,
A Review of Mahogany Soul
By Marvin X
Now Angie Stone is my kinna [kind of] woman: strong, aggressive, bold, but a believer in men to her soul; a shit talker in the tradition of Betty Wright; soulful sister, mature, acknowledging her roots with Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Curtis Mayfield, indeed, her rendition of the Makings of You made me an Angie Stone lover forever-that slow touch she put to Mayfield's classic outdoes the originator, and us OGs recognize Curtis as the undisputed Master, but then comes Angie tearing up Makings and spitting it back at us with that soft, feminine touch known universally as impossible to resist.
Of course, Brotha is her monster: a praise song to all and every black man, no matter what class, from the suites to the streets to the prison gates, Angie says she loves us and recognizes us, with all our positives and negatives, she wouldn't give us up for all the world. What a challenge to Black men, what a baton to catch and carry forward after the Million Man March. Brotha is an answer to my poem For The Women, a similar unconditional recognition of all women. I've been waiting for a poetic answer to the poem that has humbled me to the extreme when women have cried as they read it, finding it hard to believe a man wrote it. Can we wonder what motivated Angie to express her unconditional love?
In my case, it resulted from being a dog-as we know, every dog has his day, so mine came and I learned from it and try my best to be a better fellow, a nice guy, having learned what goes around comes around. Maybe Angie learned the same, or perhaps she was never a dog, merely a good person all her life. Of course, soul sister sings the blues like every person in love who's waited for the beloved to return home, to be right, faithful and committed, but we know the real deal is that some of us are dogs and me make the beloved sing those sad songs late into the night-while we're out and about "smoking Kronic" and sharing the wealth with some undeserving wretch.
In 20 Dollars she refuses to play the co-dependent, seeing through the dope fiend's scheme of empty promises and lies about needing twenty dollars, which we recovering addicts know is but one of a million lies dope fiend's tell to satisfy their habit. What U [you] Dyin' [Dying] For is for the suicidal, unable to move on when all the sand has run out of the hourglass. Let it go, she pleads, she doesn't want you no [any] mo'[more]. Very hard for many lovers to let go, rather claim the lover as chattel property, willing to take their own life or another's behind rejection when in all probability it was our fault shit got funky in the first place.
MAD ISSUES is for the sick suckers out there, podnas who need therapy real badly. Don't be like me when you get into the bad habit of shooting yourself in the foot, seek help! "Confused in the brain, don't say my name," she sings, "You got mad issues-time has come to leave well enough alone." IF IT WASN'T is funk supreme, it don't get any funkie, except her sampler of the Ojay's Back Stabber, WISH I DIDN'T MISS YOU, a classic what goes around comes around. Disappointment, heartache, but "One of these days it's gonna [going to] happen to you, missing a love like [I]'m missin you." It's truly amazing what new lyrics can do to the classic rhythms.
Angie, of course, is part of the new crop of female wailers, Lauryn Hill, Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Aliya, Alicia Keyes, Mary J. Blige, but of all the above, Angie stands out with the most mature voice, the most grounded in the blues/soul tradition. Welcome to the Soul Train, Angie.