Solange Knowles

A Foray Into Funk and Endless Soul

February 24, 2023

Hirschberger, M. (2019, March 6). [Solange, grounded in Texas]. The Guardian.

Solange Knowles, sister of legendary superstar Beyonce Knowles, is a critically acclaimed musical talent heralded for her introspective meditations on the black experience, experimental and often ethereal interpolations of R&B music, and dreamy sense of fashion that pays homage to black culture. Following the success of the synth-pop ballad “Losing You,” a single from her breakout EP True, it became immediately apparent to musical critics and audiences alike that talent was something that ran in the Knowles family. A far cry from the socially-conscious lyrics and trippy experimentation of her later albums, True was more of an easily-accessible love letter to late 90s and early 2000s styles of pop and R&B, integral to popular culture at the time. Her sweet and soft vocals, the funky, bass-heavy production fused with synths and a warm, sentimental lyricism, made her standout among the rest.

It was on September 20, 2016 that she unraveled her magnum opus: an album by the name of  A Seat at the Table. Her first full-length album in over eight years, Solange had since shifted her focus towards pushing the boundaries of R&B. Although she still weaved characteristics of earlier R&B into this project, she blended it with a sense of melancholy and brutal honesty that was desperately needed from the genre at the time. She wasted no time in her lyricism with her piercing critiques of systemic racism, often lamenting the infantilization and vilification she faces as a black woman. “I got a lot to be mad about,” she asserts on the hard and heavy Mad. As it stands, A Seat at the Table is her most critically acclaimed album, with magazine Pitchfork Media including it on their greatest albums of the 2010s list. 

Finding inspiration in the spiritual beauty and culture of Houston, Texas, Solange took it a step further with her album When I Get Home which was accompanied by an emotionally arresting short film music video that referenced so much of Texan culture it would take hours to fully unpack the historical contexts unlying all of them. In this soundscape dream of lyric and soul, Solange invites the listener to a far-off land dripping with atmosphere. She makes heavy use of sampling and interludes to streamline the album into a full on auditory experience, complete with glossy vocals and a psychedelic production style, courtesy of famous producers such as Tyler, the Creator and Pharrel Williams. 

To put it lightly, Knowles’ musical endeavors are a gift to the black community. Not only does she pay homage to many of the musical genres and aesthetic motifs she utilizes, she transforms them; she mixes them together and twirls them into their own spellbinding beauty. Besides, if no one talks about the black experience, who will? One thing is for sure: Knowles is a voice perfectly suited to do the job justice.



P. (2019, October 8). The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s. Pitchfork.

Solange. (n.d.). Album of the Year. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from

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