If you’re ever in South Side Chicago and in need some spiritual guidance, be sure to DM Jasmine Barber (@oprah_gucci) for a tarot card reading. She’s the voice behind the brilliant new hip-hop EP, Retrograde, credited to her musical alias J Bambii. Featuring production from Wun Two, emune, and Norvis Junior (aka Nelson Bandela), these three rap songs express a kind of wisdom and worldliness that feels way beyond her 26 years. There’s an effortless poetic power to her words, a deeply personal honesty that make raps like the opening line to “Anxiety” especially poignant (“Pharaohs in my marrow/ The sun rising my spirit/ Wanna be happy but apathy, I been near it”).
Aside from dealing out divination through tarot, J Bambii is also the curator and founder of The Brown Skin Lady Show–a Chicago organization that promotes black female representation in the local arena of holistic and spiritual wellness. It’s the same enterprising attitude and verve that lends an unforgettable quality to her music. On the EP’s final joint “Double Air Mattress,” J Bambii spits soul in a stream of consciousness style that sounds robust, commanding and perfectly imperfect.
Listen to J Bambii’s recent conversation with Chicago’s Central Air Radio, where the rapper discusses themes to reflect upon in 2019 through tarot, below.