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Derrick Freeman & Smokers World Releases 'HoTel' Single from 'WhiteSplain'

“HoTel” is from the politically charged album, WhiteSplain due June 24.

Derrick Freeman & Smokers World Releases 'HoTel' Single from 'WhiteSplain'

Today, New Orleans based famed drummer, Derrick Freeman & Smokers World released their latest single, "HoTel" from the politically charged album, WhiteSplain due June 24.

The cleverly titled track, "HoTel" is a fun, bluesy parody with a cheeky play on words. Freeman's creativity and versatility in the lyrics balances the heavy social commentary on the 8-track album.

In discussing the song, Freeman said, "Good ole gut bucket blues. This song is old school New Orleans. Tongue in cheek lyrics mixed with Fats Domino type horns. Guitar ala Gatemouth Brown and drums ala Herman Ernest. We all have pain. Sometimes you have to just belt it out. This song resonates with everyone. It's what roots music is supposed to be."

The collection of songs from WhiteSplain transforms the chaos of the pandemic and the political dysfunction into danceable tunes with lyrics that don't gloss over the problems we're facing. It also includes lighter numbers that provide some relief from the stress of the lockdown.

"Like everybody else, I had to readjust," said Freeman in discussing the shutdown during COVID-19 and the making of the album. "I was also going through a divorce. I worked some non-musical jobs and visited my friend Jason Butler in San Francisco; George Floyd happened and I had a lot of feelings to get off my chest. Jason's a master drum programmer, so we wrote 'Who's Next,' referencing Floyd, BLM and all that. When I got back home, my friend Leslie Smith called me. She asked why I wasn't making music. I said I was too distraught. She had a few choice words and lit a fire under me, so I contacted the crew and we started jamming and writing."

Freeman expands on the version of "Who's Next" that features mellow guitars and smooth keyboards played over a laid-back hip-hop beat to set up a rap verse that references Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery and other victims. Freeman's rap contrasts white privilege with the lives of working-class Blacks, adding a reference to Rosa Parks and The Civil Rights Movement. The chorus, sung by Zena Rue Fiya Moses, rides a smooth melody, asking the question that's on the mind of many in the Black community - "Who's next to fall..."

The politically driven record continues on the title track, "WhiteSplain," with New Orleans legend, Ms. Erica Falls who delivers a passionate plea to white people on the horn driven funk where she asks them to understand their social, political and economic impact on the Black community.

"A lot of my lyrics are provocative and Croce deals with some of the same issues in a humorous way. It's almost like pre-gangsta rap," said Freeman.

"Smoker's World is the anchor," Freeman continues. "The other groups are tentacles of that project. I use the same 13 musicians for all my bands. Everybody's versatile. They're jazz cats, able to play in any style that's called for, depending on the venue and the circumstances. That helps me out when it's time to start the creative process."

Listen to the new single here:

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From This Author - Michael Major