Rapper Bilal Abbey recently released Crash Landing, a brief work that draws parallels between love and space exploration.
The release kicks off with “Copper Skin,” a collaboration with vocalist Mani Bahia that begins with the kind of grainy countdown you’d hear in a Tom Hanks movie, setting the stage for Bilal’s exploration of Planet Romance. Backed by a pillowy instrumental, Bilal exhorts the titular “copper skin woman” to “take me to your home world/invite me to stay,” adding layers of blissed-out ad-libs to his tunefully dazed opening verse. After Bilal drops a poetic spoken word interlude (“I pick up the pieces and put them back together again with glue from my skin/The rich deep melanin complements the clay”), Bahia parachutes down with a sung verse of her own, discussing a relationship fraught with tension. Using some artful, downright hypnotic turns of phrase (“You and all your energy gotten us intertwined[…]Your promises opened wide[…]I’m tired and more than tried, the liar immortalized[…]You be trying to make it like I had no care inside”), she addresses the pair’s issues, but offers one last chance at forgiveness. In all, the two artists offer a compelling look at the two sides of love, the flight and the crash landing.