Over the past month, we’ve been raving to anyone who’ll listen about the debut album by Janelle Monáe. For the uninitiated, Monáe is like a more masculine Andre 3000, with more than a dash of James Brown and her album, The ArchAndroid, is already in the running for debut of the year. Over eighteen tracks it manages to mix rock, hip-hop, R&B, English folk, Peruvian jazz, right-wing Christian flamenco and Swedish death metal. It’s basically amazing.
For reasons we’re still trying to fathom out (and it may have something to do with the fact she’s signed to P Diddy’s Bad Boy label), the album hasn’t done massive things in America. Thankfully, this didn’t stop the producers of the BET awards from booking Monáe for a Prince tribute they were organising to honour him getting some big award. Below is Monáe’s breathless, hyperactive version of the classic ‘Let’s Go Crazy’. Please note Prince’s expression throughout:
This is one of her own songs, ‘Tightrope’, performed live on Letterman: