Jamaican icons Sister Nancy and Grace Jones are expected to help Janelle Monáe nail her artistic vision for her upcoming Reggae-leaning album titled, The Age of Pleasure.

The 14-track project, which the singer describes as a “love letter to the diaspora,”  will feature Jones on its sixth track, Ooh La La, and Bam Bam singer Sister Nancy on its ninth, The French 75.

Slated for release on June 9, the album will also feature Nigerian singers Seun Kuti, Clay, Ghanaian singer Amaarae, American actress Nia Long, and rapper Doechii. 

Grace Jones, who just turned 75, is known for her songs Pull Up To The Bumper, Libertango, and Slave To the Rhythm. She recently appeared on Beyonce’s Renaissance on the track Move with TEMS.

Sister Nancy, 61, recently collaborated with New York rapper/producer MIKE, on a new Reggae song titled Stop Worry. A younger sister to veteran deejay Brigadier Jerry, she has the distinction of being Dancehall’s first female deejay.

Her most famous song is a remake of Toots and the Maytals’ winning Festival song Bam Bam, which is the most sampled Jamaican song of all time, having been sampled more than 80 times across genres.

Janelle Monáe’s look at the 2023 Met Gala.

Janelle Monáe, 37, has been bold about her revitalized zeal for adventure, and following the internet-breaking release of her single, Lipstick Lover, which sampled Mad Cobra’s Flex.

In an interview with Rolling Stone on Monday, the Glass Onion star stood firm on her newfound artistic freedom, telling the publication: “It’s not about an album anymore. I’ve changed my whole f#@$ing lifestyle!”

The star further alluded to the inspiration behind Lipstick Lover, which – as depicted in the song’s jaw-dropping music video, seems to have come from a rather risqué party.

“I have a whole spreadsheet with 50 to almost 100 experiences that I had at this party. I’ve been a ‘Lipstick Lover’… I’ve had moments where if me and a girl or an energy want to engage, you’re going to see lipstick. I remember how it felt when I got kissed on my neck with red lipstick. I remember how I went to bed feeling… I remember how the person looked. And I was like, ‘That’s a f#@king song.’”

Monae’s love affair with Jamaica and its music aside, Rolling Stone revealed the singer may have caught the bug for her upcoming album in the moments just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Monae would attend the popular, pre-COVID globe-trekking party series, Everyday People, where she was exposed to a range of sounds from the Black diaspora. She tells Rolling Stone, “….at these parties, the music spans innovative mixes of Afropop, Caribbean gems, House, and Hip-Hop.”

Capitalizing on those influences, Monae got to work on new music, and in the end, The Age of Pleasure, which she describes to Rolling Stone as a “Blackity-Blackass album”, was born.

“It was inspired by all of my friends, my community of folks who are from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, the Caribbean, Atlanta, L.A., and Chicago,” she explained. “Seeing all of us together in our Blackness, in the love that we had in our eyes for each other… People from the continent f@#k around with trap from Atlanta… I love how the diaspora – we – talk to each other.”

The album is “not about a fight”, declares Monae. “It’s about living in an oasis created by us for us. Even with everything going on in the world, this is our moment to breathe together, unapologetically taking this beat to enjoy — to hurry up and live.”

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