INEZ is a Pittsburgh producer, audio engineer, and singer-songwriter whose long-awaited debut, Voicemails And Conversations, dropped this week.
Voicemails And Conversations is a sonic diary of INEZ’s hopes, fears, desires, and growth; it’s emotionally honest and vulnerable, but maintains a sense of confidence and self-empowerment at the same time. The album’s undisputed victory lap is “Queen,” featuring Miami’s QueTheGuitarist. The song is a robo-funk jam built around INEZ’s absurdly catchy dun-dun-dundun vocal sample; the bassline follows the cadence of her voice, and emphatic stabs of guitar add both muscle and flair. INEZ treats her voice with an effect that makes her sound like cyborg royalty, and proceeds to urge Black women and girls whose “names are too hard to pronounce” and whose “hips are too wide to fit in them clothes,” to “straighten your backs” and “collect all your checks,” putting doubters on notice that “we’re stepping on necks.” QueTheGuitarist closes things out with–what else?–a killer guitar solo that no doubt left their fretboard smoking. “Queen” is an ecstatic, defiant dance party, the highlight from an album full of strong moments.