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CD REVIEW: Wayquay - Tribal Grind
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Wayquay
Genre: World
CD Review:
You may (or may not) be surprised to learn how easily soul fits in with Native America beats and cries. More hip that Prince, go directly to ‘Open Fire’ and root around the dirt. Unearth the cool, dark bass beat, witness the man/woman words of ‘in the heat of an open fire / I appeal, I object, I conceal, I’ve been burnin’ / in the heat of an open fire.’

Then immediately check the jiggy beat of ‘Smoke Signals’, squirting 70s sounds with a jazz sax among the dance pulsation. Catchy and sultry as Hell on a warm afternoon. ‘Inner evaluation, role reflection / opinion of self’, those are the smoke signals she’s sending. Get the message?

If you’ve not yet heard of Wayquay, prepare yourself. Her video for ‘Navigate’ (that howling, rhythm-wicked track 6) won Best Music Video at the 1999 Native American Music Awards. Rap dominates it, but they are words that need to be said, in a power-kitten attitude that doesn’t strike you across the face with a message too much. If anything, it’s like listening to rhymed bar talk, and you gotta love her. ‘So when ya want the truth / ya had enough of dr. suess / ya been so tight but your lover so loose / no advice to be given / it’s all a part of livin’ / it’s like that.’

She’s been called ‘Lady Unafraid, living with one foot in the past and one in the present’, and that’s her. She not ugh, she heap vixen, her of the private ocean, rowing to hip hop, trekking the waterfall with magic dance moccasins that no know holes. And how.

75 minutes of this and you’ll Know who really belongs in this country. Musicians like Wayquay. Her ‘Amber Waves’ is slightly choleric in a disguised sense, full of cadence, replete with sexy vocals, even a floating bird call between the synths.

More than World, Novelty, going further than funk, Wayquay proves history and now can co-exist, and can pour reservation excitement without spilling a drop.

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