PG County's very own Christina Shaunta, formally known as Dutchess aka Backwood Sweetie has released her first EP after an amazing three-album run. Featuring production and soulful sampling from Gunnar, Skip The Kid, and engineering from K!NG jvmes.
Christina Shaunta came back hot onto the scene with the record Christina Shauntay released in 2021 based on her god-given name after her 6-year hiatus from music. Her debut under the name Backwood Sweetie was greatly and widely received by fans of hip-hop and great storytelling. In years prior she was known as Dutchess or Dutchie and would make self-proclaimed “Smoking music”. But in those years of her break and her experience becoming a mother to two babies and seeing the injustices that took place from 2019–2021 as she stated “I got mad”. This is when saw a tonal shift in her music and in the subject matter where her music became more conscious. After releasing Christina Shauntay and undergoing a rebranding Sweetie has since released three full-length albums leading up to her most recent EP Ancestral Aspect.
The intro track Black August serves as a call to arms for Black male empowerment very reminiscent of an early Funkadelic intro. A poem laid over beautiful instrumentals curated by Gunnar making great use of old “You are the original man, extraordinary, enslaved, and degraded becoming the product of a system meant to destroy the black family”. Sweetie talks of the plight of the black man through this country's history and the beauty of blackness. The beauty in all types of black people, freedom fighters, political prisoners, and babies born into poverty. She ends the song by saying “Ancient black nation, a mighty and glorious people, black is strength in numbers strength in knowledge black is civilized blacking out the white man lies black man is god and mother nature is the black woman”. A phenomenal opener that allows the listener to be warmly introduced to the EP’s sound.
Righteous Name is a very autobiographical story of Sweetie’s life and experiences as a long poem spoken word over a soulful beat. In her interview on the Dont Sleep on the Couch Podcast, she cites being taken by the storytellers of hip-hop such as Pac and Nas. She definitely delivers on those inspirations with well-crafted storytelling and lyricism. The project is empowering, warm, and the most carefully crafted 11 minutes you’ll hear all year. This EP is an excellent introduction to the sonic universe of the Backwood Sweetie and her stellar discography. Stream Ancestry Aspect on all streaming platforms now. - Elijah Morgan