Tuesday’s Tunes: H.E.R.’s “I Used To Know Her: The Prelude” is Transcendent

Let this profound sexiness carry you through this sun-soaked week.

California native Gabrielle Wilson, also known as H.E.R., is making moves towards an official debut album with her dreamy yet insistent I Used To Know Her: The Prelude. Her impressive track record thus far includes collabs with fellow NPR Tiny Desk hero Daniel Caesar, a global tour with Chris Brown and most recently, the creative input of Bryson Tiller and DJ Scratch. This collection of resonant R&B essentials is a powerful testament to her range and vision as an artist.

Starting from a place of unrelenting reflectiveness, “Lost Souls” dives into some incendiary territory, taking on subject matter like self-realization, legacy and even taking a stab at the hypocrisy surrounding the current administration in American politics. H.E.R.’s silky smooth vocals tackle the sacred territory occupied by greats like India.Arie, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys and a heavy Lauryn Hill vibe. Meanwhile, the signature swagger of DJ Scratch mirrors these retro R&B icons with a jaunty rhythm and warm organic chords.

“Against Me” is the next track with a similarly powerful focus on messaging and lyricism. The song rings with careful contemplation; in a transcendent moment, she recites: “To my women with the utmost respect, intellect / We often forget and neglect intuition can see through illusive intent, listen to it.” She goes on to detail the nuances of male intimacy and her perception of sincerity in love.

Her relatability rings through the entire album, capping off with the supremely soul-soaked “As I Am,” which declares a fittingly rich sense of self-love in the midst of romantic confusion. Grab a listen to the entire album on Spotify and catch her magic first-hand on tour later this year.