Jasmine Barber has always been a beacon of spirituality and healing in the Chicago artist community. Known by her moniker J Bambii, her EP Retrograde came just in time for people whose souls need a hug and a breath of fresh air. 2018 has been a long and trying time filled with highs and lows for black women, people of color and releasing past traumas. Fresh off of the the blood moon eclipse, it’s a time to shed both darkness and light, which this new EP emphasizes.
Retrograde is a jazzy introspective project where J Bambii takes a step back to examine factors that may be responsible for holding her back from unlocking her full potential. This three song EP is an incredibly bare exhibition of honesty and reflection that belief in self may sometimes be temporarily suspended.
She is not just speaking for herself; these are common human traits everyone shares, some more than others. The Boom-Bap type, head nodding, foot tapping, production has air that leaves enough space for J Bambii to explore universal idiosyncrasies that have even the strongest people victims of their own thoughts.
Sensations such as nostalgia and anxiety are the main topics. On the first track, “3pm” she talks about running away from feelings of inadequacy and the results of being inside of your head too much. She presents the idea that if we fall back too deep in nostalgia, it can delude the human desire of freedom. Not only does she recognize the causes of self-sabotage, but she also reclaims her confidence, and offers solutions.
On “Double Air Mattress,” she expresses the millennial growing pains of too much time on the internet and being connected, and finding peace within the struggle and connecting with self. She questions her role as a queen or a pawn, but also concludes with, “Just keep going, you can use some more practice.” which is solid life advice for everyone.
Get more practice with Retrograde below.