Compelling narratives are important, especially when making plot-driven records. And while it is the norm to insert said narrative through lyrics, there is something particularly special about album skits. Converting 2D concepts into full auditory 3D IMAX experiences, these interludes contribute to both the plotlines and listeners' experience – they’re also fun to act out once in a while. So, here to offer your next breakthrough monologue, here are 6 immersive album skits you should check out.
“This morning, my man exclusively introduced me to some good extra loving….”
Starting with a personal favorite, Jill Scott’s “Exclusive” might be one of the most memorable skits out there.
Spoken over rhythmic synth phrases and percussion, she recalls an uncomfortable interaction she had at a market that morning. Without sparing any of the saucy or petty details, from the price of her orange juice to her reservations towards her cashier – who, plot twist turned out to be the woman whom her man was seeing on the side – she perfectly sets up the plot for the following track, “Gettin’ In The Way.”
“Can you roll my window up…”
While Tyler, the Creator does have a slew of entertaining and story-driven skits out there – particularly from his Wolf era – there is something special about the break in “2Seater.”
A divider between his usual muddy verse, and melodic outros, he breaks the song in two halves, placing us in his two-seater as his irritated passenger requests to have her window rolled up. Leaving the listener to determine whether or not her wish was fulfilled, he, instead, slides into a high pitched appraisal (“But I like it when your hair blows…”). The song then ends with another backhanded yet comical skit reminiscent of the ones found in Wolf.
“Be yourself and just know that that’s good enough…”
While we are considering Ode Future alumni, Frank Ocean also happens to have two interesting skits on his album Blonde. One third of the album completed, Frank pauses the Blonde experience to deliver a warm, finger wagging voicemail from a concerned, but caring mom. Urging her child to call her back, she passes on some words of wisdom and motherly advice concerning peer pressure and self-confidence. While it feels like an abrupt change in pace, “Be Yourself” makes for an intriguing skit you can’t help but recite along whenever it comes up.
“This is the year of greatness bruv, and bein’ free…”
Backtracking into ethereal territory, we have FKA twigs’ “meta angel.” While there are many impactful and equally memorable skits on this album, “meta angel” perfectly coincides with the themes of growth, energy, and community found on the record.
Heard at the beginning of the song, a voice clip featuring twigs, and a couple of unidentified friends, delivers a message along the lines of the classic “new year new me.” As she expresses her yearly goal to get out of her shell, her friends hype her up, telling her, “this is the year!” One of many relatable bits on the album, “meta angel” speaks to Twigs’ desire for rebirth and cleansing from the past. But also serves as a gentle reminder to listeners to wish and will the same for themselves.
“This is DJ Crash Crash, and I’m here at Dark park Metal Shoppe getting my chrome polished.”
Queen of Afro-futuristic world-building, it is genuinely no surprise that Jannelle Monae’s 2013 album The Electric Lady, features only some of the most immersive and story-driven skits.
An ode to barber shops, which were often used as safe meeting spaces for civil rights activists, “The Chrome Shoppe” places the listener back into the album's compelling plot. Narrated by radio host DJ Crash Crash, he, along with Melanie 45221 and Assata 8550, invites listeners to tune into a special event. Warding off any Bounty Hunters looking for Cindi Maywheather, the skit leads seamlessly into the following track “Dance Apocalyptic.” If you’re looking for your next go-to sci-fi adventure, this is your sign to check-out The Electric Lady – if you haven’t already, of course.
“You’re the worst thing that ever happened to me…”
Ending with a new addition to the album skit universe, we have “WAKE UP CALL” off of Brent Faiyez’s most recent album, WASTELAND.
While the music is definitely a focal point of the record, there is something that feels almost necessary about the skits on this one. Since the album dropped, some of the conversations I’ve had about its subject always fall back onto its melodramatic skits. And speaking of drama, I think it’s fair to say that, “WAKE UP CALL” is the most shocking and oscar-worthy one of them all. Following a string of tracks and interludes highlighting toxic relationships and displeased partners, the prequel to the finale completely dims the mood, as we’re faced with a complicated situation gone bad. Listeners discretion is advised, you're in for a crazy ride.