It’s been three years since Chicago-based group Growing Concerns Poetry Collective released their fantastic debut album WE HERE: Thank You For Noticing. That album was not only an immensely enjoyable project, but a great introduction to the group as a whole and the individual members; each one getting a decent spotlight throughout the release. Growing Concerns Poetry Collective is made up of three multifaceted artists: rapper, poet, curator, and actor Mykele Deville; poet, actor, filmmaker, and educator McKenzie Chinn; and interdisciplinary artist, musician and educator Jeffrey Michael Austin. It’s been a long wait for a followup with so much talent in one spot, but with the release of the single “Shout Across Mountains” and the announcement of the new album BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES, that wait finally comes to an end.
“Shout Across Mountains” drifts into being with gentle instrumentation that leads to some incredible flows from Deville and Chinn. Growing Concerns Poetry Collective’s music always has something to say and this song is dense with its message that celebrates Black culture in all its glory. The chorus of “We full-voice people! We shout across mountains people” rings out beautifully even as the song begins to focus on how people try to silence the entire culture. Chinn’s verse in the middle of it all starts off with struggles of trying to conform to what others find acceptable before revealing, embracing every part of her history no matter how subtle or loud it is.
The accompanying music video, directed by Talia Koylass, is incredibly affecting and works perfectly with the song. Featuring footage from recent protests, police brutality/killings, the video keeps these important moments in the spotlight. The entire song circles around the the fact that despite all these hardships, the Black community won’t be lessened, silenced, or taken for granted.
After a damning few lines about “vultures imitating,” Deville ends the song with an exaltation of the culture. “You sip and savor our verses” utters Deville towards the end of the song, embracing the fullness of Black culture as he concludes with “we out here making shit last.” And it’s undeniable because after a single listen, it’s impossible not to listen to “Shout Across Mountains” over and over.
You can pre-order Growing Concerns Poetry Collective’s BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES over on Bandcamp now! We highly recommend you check this diverse group and support them!