Self-proclaimed "Queer Black Diva and underground popstar for the cyber resistance" MHYSA's new LP fantasii is exactly the heady, riotous, powerful, dreamy summer album we needed. One-half of Philadelphia performance duo and sound art group SCRAAATCH, MHYSA culls together the sounds of nightclubs, bedrooms and churches on their first solo LP.
"So many pics it's like I got my own strobe light," MHYSA intones on "STROBE," the album's first single. "I pull up to the club walk right in, muthafuck a line. Soon as I hit the dance floor, people pull their phones out. Somebody broke their neck tryna see what all the fuss about." MHYSA told the FADER that the track is about "black women and femmes specifically, that are still living and finding ways to make joy while being systemically oppressed."
MHYSA continues, saying "the album's primary material is the Black woman's voice — including my own. I thought a lot about the Black women and femmes I admire, and their music and our shared Black history that continuously builds the pop culture landscape. Janet Jackson, Donna Summers, Beyoncé, TLC, Harriet Tubman, Prince and notorious jewel thief Doris Payne are all referenced on fantasii. and my friend Diamond Stingily, a poet and artist from Chicago, did a freestyle for the album."
As a "Black American woman from the American south," MHYSA says she "wanted to draw on my roots and my history. My grandfather was a gospel blues musician and 'Glory Be Black' is almost a gospel blues song, only it was written for the wayward. 'Bb' was styled after 90s R&B songs and 'STROBE' is a rap song made for the strip club."
MHYSA's music expresses a desire to dismantle white supremacy, but not in a way that aims to educate. The artist rather desires to "acknowledge that Black people have been terrorized globally since the advent of slavery. I'm not giving up my rage, but I need joy so much more, I need my spirit strong in this battle and so do other Black folks. There has been a war going on our whole lives, a war that started when the first slave was brought to shore—and we have been living, regardless. This album is for Black people—and Black women and femmes especially—that want to live and rejoice because we are still alive, even if the war is far from won."
The official release party for fantasii will be held tonight at GHE20G0TH1K in New York City.