Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Britney Spears all have something in common: they’ve worked with Louis York — Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony — to create hits that their fans will continue to play from years out.
Now, it’s Louis York’s turn. After dropping an EP triology and a few singles, the genre-blending duo has released their debut album titled American Griots via Werido Workshop.
It also features guest appearances from poet Caroline Randall Williams, country singer Jimmie Allen, R&B trio The Shindellas and more.
Speaking on their unapologetically black album, Harmony told Rated R&B, “We really wanted to highlight the fact that black people started all of American music — rock & roll, country, R&B, and what people consider pop and jazz.”
He continued, “Part of our mission was to talk about the history of music and the influence we had on all genres of music. In order to do that, you have to show and prove.”
American Griots is an ode to Black musicians and artists who pioneered what we refer to today as American music. Although the album contains a mix of different genres, it flows in a way that makes the listening experience seamless.
Just hours before releasing American Griots, Louis York tweeted instructions on how to listen to the album.
“WARNING: For most intense eargasms, please consume this album from beginning to end. Avoid jumping around or skip songs on first listen,” they said. “We want you to get the complete journey from opening to closing…like a great story. Extreme feelings may occur.”
Well, you heard them. Stream American Griots from start to finish below.