Jamil Rashad returns to his roots on his forthcoming album as Boulevards. Although he’s lived in both Los Angeles and New York, Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud pays homage to where he got his foothold. “This is home,” Rashad shared of the release. “This is where I’ve learned the most. North Carolina doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves, but there are all these amazing people doing it a very particular way that is very inspiring. It’s always been at the center of so many different scenes—soul, country, jazz, hip-hop, indie rock. I wanted some of that dirt on this record.”
The latest single from his home-inspired album features country musician Nikki Lane and is called “Better Off Dead.” Even though recognizing one’s provenance comes with a lot of love, the demons don’t straggle far behind. “I wrote this song about coming off a week-long bender,” Rashad shares about the new single. “The question I used to ask myself was what’s worse, the pain or the hangover? So many times after my binges, I would want to contemplate suicide and not be alive. During the following days after the pain I inflicted on myself, I would just want to leave earth and not go through it. The same goes for withdrawals from alcohol. I would have the worst migraines and the worst shakes from withdrawals. So I’d rather be ‘better off dead,’ than deal with all this pain.
“I came across Nikki Lane’s discography while I was writing the record,” he adds. “I’m a fan of weird vocal textures and she has this raspy, soulful voice that I heard on her album Highway Queen. I wanted female vocals that weren’t traditional like you hear on today’s modern funk and soul collaborations. I knew the texture of her vocals would play the part and fit nicely with my style.”
Listen to “Better Off Dead” below, and pre-order Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud here.