Maxwell drops Shame video and talks Embrya 20 years later
Veteran R&B crooner Maxwell released his latest single and video “Shame.” Maxwell co-directed and co-wrote the treatment for the Shame visuals along with Bush Renz, who directed the “Kill Jay-Z” video.
The video is a representation on how people in society view the beauty of women. in the video shows black women wearing veils with their face covered. The video was is showing how women of color and some men are being shamed of their looks. Maxwell wanted to honor how beautiful black women are in particular and also other women of color. The single Shame will appear on Maxwell’s long-awaited Night album that completes his 2009’s Blacksummers’night.
Maxwell sat down with Billboard to talk about his second studio album 1998’s Embrya and how it’s been 20 years and it being a slept on classic.
“I remember that time when Embrya was completely abandoned and this whole neo-soul thing, which I felt like all of a sudden it was this grassroots, underground movement of kids like myself in their 20s who loved hip-hop and appreciated hip-hop for how it sampled so many of those old records, and we wanted to actually be those old records as new kids. It became a trend. So in 1998, when I unveiled this album with all these strange titles and colons and sub-text titles, people were scratching their heads and wondering well maybe it’s because I don’t have an afro anymore and that’s why things aren’t so great. It became a marketing thing and not a creative thing.
Now when I look at records and I see so many artists out here who have these very specific titles that are very unique and very uniform. It wasn’t something that was done in 1998. That was the era of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, JAY-Z’s Hard Knock Life. So, it was very disappointing to me. It made me question myself, question my intuition. But years later, it’s nice to feel the validation — especially when we’re on tour right now. We have a moment when we play these songs, and I’m so surprised at how many people tell me, “When Embrya came out, it got me through college!” It’s almost like they want to let me know, “You weren’t wrong. You were just being an artist; you weren’t trying to be a formula.” That’s a nice feeling to have after all these years.
Now when I listen to Embrya, I can hear so many things from SZA to Miguel, The Weeknd, to whatever. And they come up to me and they’re just like, “Bro, thanks for putting out Embrya!” That’s a nice feeling.”