Janelle Monae has quickly risen to my favorite “diva” among her contemporaries, however she is much more than that. In only her third album she has really peaked as an artist and her ever growing and critically praised Hollywood acting career further prove that she is a “true tour de force” and can do it all. She reminds me of a futuristic Lauren Hill if you will. As a matter of fact when she says she is from the future I believe it. The scope of her talent and depth of her art whether singing, dancing, or acting seem extra terrestrial, otherworldly, and hard to define and categorize when considered in the context of her fellow modern entertainment peers. As a matter of fact her recent admission of being “pan sexual” sums it up best and truly personifies thos multi-faceted being from another time and place, that we call Janelle Monae.
Just like her first two albums, the production and structure is cohesive, entertaining, and captures her wide gambit of talents from beginning to end. Actually this third effort is the best one yet and I think she pulls this off by the going in a confident and explicit direction with tracks like “Screwed” and “Pynk”. The opening and title track “Dirty Computer” produced by the legendary Brian Wilson, lays a brilliant foundation for what is to come on the album. Not only does the analogy of her being a virus laden computer afflicted with the filth and dirt of cyber sin brilliantly sum up the modern onslaught of information we deal with today, it also sets the tone for the aforementioned more explicit version of Monae that we get to witness. Each track is a show case of this women’s incredible array of artistic skill such as “Django Jane” in which she brilliantly displays her vocal prowess as an MC and with one track easily eclipses the efforts of fellow female MCs like Cardi B and Niki Minaj, not to mention a whole generation of modern male Soundcloud, dare I say “MCs”, or “rappers”. Her choice of production and ability to capture the producers signature sounds like on “I Got the Juice” with Pharrell cannot be understated and never seem contrived or derivative of that producer. Her work with her mentor, the late, great Purple one continues, the long legacy of beautiful, talented divas that he was able to discover and groom, and as a matter of fact she establishes her position as the best among them.