*This is an album review of Empress by Ray BLK*
*All lyrics came from genuis.com*
Empress is Ray BLK’s debut album; it is essentially all about self-love, and I am one hundred percent here for it. This is one of my favorite albums that I’ve listened to this year, even though it was released last year; I just felt so empowered listening to it.
It is deemed explicit (just thought you should know).
DURATION: 29 minutes
1. Run Run 3:32
2. Paradise 4:26
3. Got My Own 3:06
4. Girl Like Me 3:27
5. Mama 3:11
6. Empress 3:41
7. Don’t Beg 4:23
8. Just A Kid 3:54
The entire album is freaking spectacular. “Run Run” and “Mama” are both powerful songs that evoke intense emotions in me for very personal reasons (reasons that I don’t want to get into right now). “Paradise” has to grow on me. I didn’t hate it; I was just a little iffy about it upon my initial listen. I really want to focus on the remaining five songs with lyrics that scream self-love and empowerment.
Everything about this song screams “GIRL POWER,” and I love it, such as in the lyric “Call me Miss President, ’cause I’m a boss.” I also love when she sang, “I’m Jenny from the block, now Jenny gotta lot.” I am a sucker for songs that make references to other people/events in pop culture, and this was a reference to Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny from the Block.” “Got My Own” is an anthem for women who don’t rely on a man and women who need to know they don’t need to rely on a man– I hope that makes sense.
I don’t know how right this is, but this song is about telling a guy the kind of girl he needs to pursue when he’s going after the wrong girl; that’s the vibe I got from it (I could be completely wrong). If I had the guts to sing (more like play since I have an awful singing voice) this to a guy I’m crushing on, I would; I think this song is perfect for that. The first lyric of the song is “Six foot two with hypnotizing brown eyes,” which scarily describes the guy I have a crush on; it’s very spot on.
Anyway, you kind of get the vibe I was talking about when she sings:
“(A girl like me)
You should be pursuin’
(A girl like me)
Make you wonder how I do it”
The song still has a girl boss, independent vibe, which is evident when she sings “(A girl like me) / Only one in a million, if you treat me like I ain’t, trust me I could get a new one.” To me, it kind of says, “Don’t get it twisted. I don’t need you; you need me.” There are other lyrics in this song that give me that vibe, such as:
- “But I could teach you things, baby call me your professor”
- “If you playin’, then I’m done”
- “Yeah, you need a girl like me”
A final note about this beautiful song: there was another reference (maybe allusion is the right word?) when she sings, “But I’m MJ bad.” That was kind of a play on words that references one of Michael Jackson’s hit songs “Bad.“
This was the first song by Ray BLK I heard, and it quickly became my anthem for Valentine’s Day. Out of all the songs, this is definitely one of the top ones that screams self-love and self-worth, such as when she sings the bridge:
“When a woman knows her worth
She waits for someone she deserves
Even if it hurts.”
When I first heard the first part of the chorus, I was immediately hooked:
“I don’t want to settle for less
‘Cause I’m an empress
I need the best
Not the runner up
‘Cause that’s what I deserve”
Once you listen to this song, you’ll know it is obviously about a relationship and her coming out of the breakup on top. Again, it’s empowering, especially for a woman. This is evident in the lyrics:
“Don’t cry, don’t beg for me
‘Cause I’m bigger, better, brighter, higher
Wiser, harder, stronger, no longer yours”
Ugh. I love these lyrics. This song could easily be applied to any awful relationship, not just the romantic ones.
The song starts off with the lyrics:
“My fake smile is so good I believe it
My fake laugh gets louder every time
I’m so fake, but you never see it
You’re so blind that you think I’m fine.”
When I first heard this verse, I almost cried because this was literally me two years ago; I’ve come a looong way but still have ways to go.
Moving on, the bridge in this song is so beautiful; it’s a nice telling off to the man who keeps trying (the zit that won’t quit). Most of the explicit lyrics are in the bridge so I won’t write them, but there is another reference made: “Ah, to the left, got me quoting Beyoncé.” Ray is referencing “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé.
This is the final track on this glorious album, and the entire song is beautiful. Besides the second verse, this song really speaks to me. The monologue at the end warmed my heart and is something I absolutely needed to hear, especially at this point in my life while I try to thrive (because right now, I am merely surviving). I don’t want to write it out because it’s a little lengthy, but it’s reason enough to listen to this song. The chorus of this song describes the current 19-year-old college me:
“Well, they don’t know ’bout your story
Your life has only began
No, they don’t know ’bout your story
Don’t let them say how it ends”
Ray BLK’s album Empress will forever be one of my favorite albums. I am so hooked on Ray BLK, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
If you take a listen, I would love to hear your thoughts.