A love affair that has lasted more than 18 years, through six kids, six albums, tours, trials, tribulations and a mortgage, Kindred the Family Soul is the true embodiment of #RelationshipGoals. And like most successful couples, everyone wants to know what’s the secret to making it all work. While the group doesn’t give away all their trade secrets, they give us insight into how to make not only their love work, but how to thrive in life with their new album, Legacy of Love.
On their sixth album, Aja and Fatin Dantzler touch on a number of legacies. First, there’s the obvious legacy: the couple has been making beautiful music together for more than 16 years. They also have a growing family who last year starred in a charming Walmart commercial. In addition to raising their family and singing as a group, the dynamic duo are also building a legacy by going independent, forming their own record company and controlling their own destiny. Finally, there’s the legacy of soul, with much of the music on this album inspired by soul legends such as Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, James Brown and many others who’ve left their indelible footprint on the genre. It is against this backdrop that Dantzler and Graydon explore black love, black lives and black music.
The album opens with the enchanting opening interlude, “Love is... Pt.1” featuring their daughter, Lanaa Dantzler. Mommy and daddy whisper about all the good things about love against a soundbed of serene drums, guitar licks against a backdrop of horns and sea sounds, letting baby girl delivering a spoken word piece that does not only mom and dad proud, but gives rapper Common a run for his money.
While the love birds lull you into the album with the unassuming intro, they go straight for the jugular with the first song, “Welcome to My World,” with Aja boisterously singing, “I’ve never been no dummy, but I’ll be vulnerable with love.” Similar declarations about love are made on the title track, with the two stating that they “walk with confidence and no experience.” More than just sweet nothings, Kindred share hardy truths about making love work against a backdrop of live instrumentation, soul samples and original production courtesy of the duo and their production partner in crime, Vidal Davis of the production team Dre & Vidal.
Of course, Kindred’s love isn’t reserved for just the couple and their kids, but they spread it around to their family and community. The first single "All My People" is dedicated to the idea of family, making sure all your cousins, play cousins and brothers in the struggle are safe and sound and making sure there are future prospects. “If there’s enough for one, there’s enough for two / It starts with me and it starts with you,” Fatin reminds us.
“All My People” also hits on another theme of the album: upliftment. Kindred wants everyone to feel encouraged in their daily lives and struggles. “Get There,” a song about being between a rock and a hard place and trying not to take a sledgehammer to either, explores hoping against hope and fighting the good fight just one more time over mellow soul production that could be the theme music to a blaxploitation movie.
The album closes on the '80-ish, "Moving On." Here, the Dantzlers reminisce on their past experiences, give thanks for tender mercies and pledge to keep going despite any challenges that come their way. The production of lighthearted drums and synths makes a great backdrop for their message. However, it's the harmonies that close the song that bring it together, creating a pillow soft soundbed to rest your worries.
Legacy of Love is grown folks music, but not in the sense that it’s music devoid of modern sensibilities, but in the sense that it’s music about real life. While the album is built on old school soul, the group has crafted timeless tunes that speak to the black experience in any age. The album fluctuates between pithy declarations about love to spiritual ballads to help getting over life’s challenges. The real legacy of love is how it props us up when we’re down and propels us to be better and do better for ourselves and others.