Strong Arm Steady MC and Sa-Ra producer collaborate on new album for Stones Throw. 14-track album Neighborhood Wonderful is produced by Shafiq Husayn, featuring Thundercat, Anderson Paak, Chace Infinite and others !White Boiz formed initially out of mutual admiration, when MC Krondon would show up to performances by producer Shafiq Husayn’s Sa-Ra collective on the humble—unannounced, with “something good to puff on and good conversation and good vibrations,” Shafiq recalls with a laugh. The seed for collaboration was Krondon’s birthday in 2011, when the two chopped it up at Shafiq’s home and began a year and a half of conversing before any music was recorded. Deep talks on race and the state of blackness in white America placed them on the same page mentally, which allowed the musical connection to fall into place with early recordings and appearances on separate solo projects in 2013.
Neighborhood Wonderful sets those talks to music—a 14-track conversation between the two, and also among master teacher Moors and every day hustlers and ghetto fighters. At times Afrocentric and Blaxploitation, and occasionally simultaneously so, the album is an exploration of lives and neighborhoods that are known to be dark, yet possessing brilliant dualities that make us who—and why—we are. When Krondon raps “Me and Shafiq like Farrakhan meets Flying Lotus,” it’s in the midst of lines centering on both the streets and the spiritual. The overall approach is an all-inclusive “one nation under a groove,” but the street knowledge in the music and the recorded conversational interludes go beyond just the funk.