Photo by N.M Dawit
Music has always been a remedy when the road gets rough. Mereba's debut album, The Jungle Is The Only Way Out, is the perfect representation of these trials and tribulations and the strength that comes when you find the silver lining. Best known for her collaboration with Grammy-nominated 6LACK as well as up-and-coming artists J.I.D and EARTHGANG, Mereba has pushed the boundaries of R&B and established herself as a voice of the future. Pulling influences from Lauryn Hill, Joni Mitchell as well as Stevie Wonder, the songstress has built a career based on her brilliant ability to write, rap, play guitar and produce.
These skills are the ingredients of an incredible debut album and one that is set to stand the test of time. But The Jungle Is The Only Way Out doesn't just feed our souls with its infectious hooks and poetic lyrics; it gives us five incredible life lessons as well.
Life Will Never Push Us Past Our limits if it's Not Something We Are Capable of Growing From.
It's no obvious revelation that life is difficult. There are good moments and then there are bad moments and a lot of confusion in-between. We constantly wonder why we keep having to dodge one metaphorical bullet after the next. But Mereba reminds us that nothing comes to us that we cannot tolerate or grow from. As cliche as it is, we find strength in the moments that test our patience and our perseverance. "Black Truck," a haunting yet groovy is bound to be the anthem for finding our silver lining. As she sings, "I've been through the fire/ I've felt embers down my spine/ and I've said 'world would you please have some mercy on me" and "I'm not sorry/ stay sick cuz I follow my gut/ they said I was pushing my luck/ now Ima push me a matte all black truck," we cannot help but feel hope.
We can find comfort in her harmonious vocals as she preaches the truth: it's okay to push your luck, stay true to who you are, and you will reap your rewards. And with a rap towards the end that proclaims "don't be takin' bullet wounds that keep you in your room feeling less than empress/ just keep it cool/ painting up the city with my hue," we can hear the passion in her voice and the message she begs us to ingest.
We Need to Learn to "Toss Back Time Like Shots."
"On The Rocks," a spoken-word interlude emphasizes what we need to learn to do more: learn to let time go. Time is relative and "nothing loved is lost." Sometimes we need to let ourselves be a little wild and free and bathe in the mirage of everlasting youth.
Photos: N.W Dawit
Don't Let Anyone Play Games With Your Heart.
In a society so driven by the ability to switch romantic prospects each passing second, the songstress stresses the importance of finding your worth and accepting that there is no room in your heart for others to make mistakes. It's either 100% devotion or nothing at all. "Stay Tru" is the epitome of empowerment, giving us a glimpse at her musical influences and her fantastic ability to blend alternative and R&B. She croons, "don't play me like a fiddle/ keep another love with me up in the middle/ no, stay tru like a true one do" and "I'd rather sleep with no one beside me/ than with a ghost with a heart that froze/ don't get it twisted or I'll have to dip.
You Are in Control of What Controls You.
Many people forget the most significant aspect of life: we are in control. As we get older, we fall for the fallacy that we are stuck in the passenger seat with no power over what happens to us. But Mereba pleads us to see that we are actually in the driver seat, living a life that doesn't have to be spent "dodging the devil", but eradicating him completely with the way we live our lives. "Dodging the devil" is another spoken-word confessional, supported only by reverb and sounds of nature, with a faint gospel choir.
Raw and honest, the track captures Mereba brooding one important takeaway "you're wise now though, know it/ don't plan a seed in your mind if you do not wish to grow it" and "all that will try you is designed to unwind you, define you/ but you do get to decide if its tide will capsize you/ the devil's been lied to, the devil can die too.
There Is More to Life Than Material Wealth.
"Kinfolk" is a downtempo song, featuring a mellowed out guitar riffs and Mereba's smooth and heavenly vocals. Dark and sulky, the song covers the importance of finding light in those we spend our time with. She sings, "Don't you see, we/ got what no money could measure and we could be free/ if we'd peep the hidden treasures" and "Not gon save my love for no rainy day I'll never find no peace that way." She poetically captures the importance of acknowledging that we cannot save our love for rainy days, that money doesn't stand a chance next to what our "kinfolk" and that we are wealthy when we find our hidden treasures.
For more from Mereba, be sure to revisit her performance captured at our Baño Flaco event.