In a double dose of #itchysilk bias we look at our writer Khalil Anthony and his project June Bug. While you might know Khalil for his writing exploits with #itchysilk, he’s also a performer, producer and writer (to add to his many credits).
June Bug the album represents Chicago raised Khalil’s musical love. It sees Khalil unleash that that musical verve with heavy doses of aplomb. On production for the album is Malik Crumpler. You might remember him, he’s one of our writers. A little while back in fact we looked at his freshly released single Baytrified where he dropped some bars. Here Malik is vocally mute (ostensibly) and allows his productive skills to ‘speak’.
In this nine-track album released on the 08 07 18 it is, on the surface a type of a nod to the late great Prince. The opener Pink Elephante evidently taking some inspiration (it seems) from the diminutive musical demi god. With the unofficial release date for June Bug falling on Prince’s born day (7 06 58) and the subsequent musical content, it’s hard to resist such a notion.
As you proceed through the project, Khalil Anthony jumps unabashed into a plethora of genres-something that Prince did with huge success. Prince was a musician first and this allowed him to be freed from the shackles of genres. Explorations of funk by Khalil evidenced by the track Mama Mama. But we also get a bit of pop come 80’s energy in the mix with God, Champagne and 17 Cigarettes. From high energy Khalil then launches with Vertically Challenged. It’s a track which is akin to a slow jam rnb but then at about 3:31 the track slowly changes into something where high-life sensibilities can almost be heard: In the background a guitar riffs with abandonment.
While the Prince connection is evident, the project is full of ‘June’ references which allow him to also give further nods of approval to others who have had an impact on him. From Walter Junie Morrison (1954-2017) who was a producer for the oh so funky Ohio Players(1959-2002) to the familial nod to his cousin Donnie June Bug Walker who he describes as “the coolest cat in my childhood”.
The project shifts through genres, has an experimental edge and is brave in its intended exploration. Importantly while this is an album for people to hear there’s a real personal core to the project. In it Khalil and Malik join forces for something that is funky and cool.