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Athens News Matters: ACC Commissioner Mariah Parker, aka Linqua Franqa, has a New Album Out

ACC Commissioner Mariah Parker, aka Linqua Franqa
ACC Commissioner Mariah Parker, aka Linqua Franqa

After gaining local and national attention following their labor movement anthem, “Wurk,” Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker is not only tackling politics in city hall, but in their music as well. Under the moniker, Linqua Franqa, the rapper released their sophomore album, Bellringer, last week — targeting issues like racial justice and worker’s rights, along with Parker’s own experiences with mental health.

Bellringer’s thirteen tracks showcase Parker’s particular style of conscious hip-hop reminiscent of the flow of 90s rap, but with a more complex vocal range than in their previous music. It’s filled to the brim with features from a musically diverse set of local musicians. Kishi Bashi, of Montreal, Pip the Pansy, and Wesdaruler all make appearances as well as nationally known figures like punk-rock’s Jeff Rosentock and political activist Angela Davis.

“Overture,” opens the album with dramatic violin arrangements and Parker’s slow, lush vocals that are quickly followed by rap verses on racism and police brutality, setting the stage for the rest of the record.

The title track, Bellringer, screams from the rooftops as they take a deeper dive into experimental rap -- chock full of sound layering along with Rosenstock on percussion and background vocals. Through this harsher sound, the artist refuses to be silent.

“Sometimes I Hate This Town” fuses jazz influence with traditional rap vocals from both Parker and hip-hop artist Dope Knife, hailing from Savannah, Georgia. The powerful sound contrasts their deeply personal lyrics that hone in on their own experiences with therapy, prescription medications, and methods of coping.

With its beginning of chirping crickets and the sound of windchimes, “Lovetap,” embodies a warm southern night, making you feel like you’re sitting on the front porch with Parker. As the song channels a newer neo-soul spirit, their voice, along with guest spots from Night Palace and Four Eyes, transports you from conventional hip hop into a new space - one that showcases Parker’s evolution as an artist

Although Linqua Franqa is not a new name in Athens, their music continues to evolve and establish who they are. “Bellringer'' is not easily defined, and its diversity as it explores the nuances of hip-hop, rap, R&B, neo soul and jazz is its strength. The record is more than just a hip hop record, just as Parker is so much more than a hip-hop artist. Rooted in activism, this kind of record is as multifaceted and complex as the artist that produced it.