💽 GRIP by serpentwithfeet

💽 GRIP by serpentwithfeet

Josiah Wise, better known as serpentwithfeet, has long celebrated Blackness and queer love with his angelic voice and irresistible production. His latest album GRIP centers the joys of gay nightlife with what follows after leaving the bar. The record follows the loose ark of finding love in the club, and sways between dance-friendly bops and songs of slow, airy beauty. If Blood Orange deconstructed Beyonce’s Renaissance, we might end up with the sweaty gospel and tender yearnings of GRIP.

In the nocturnal, bass-heavy tracks, the tempo hovers around a disco pulse of 120 bpm. It leaves me wanting some four-on-the floor bangers. Instead, songs like â€śDamn Gloves” or â€śBlack Air Force” (animated by a stellar Mick Jenkins verse) score the drama and attraction of the dance floor.

Others like â€śHummin” and â€śEllipsis” are cast in the soft light of the morning–or mornings after:

It’s the sixth night of our one-night stand

Should we dismiss the feels or make a plan?

What will people say, what will people say

When they find out that you gave me a nickname

…Wise sings on â€śDeep End.” 

These sweet sentiments make a nice counterpoint to the many suggestive lyrics. I love how Wise handles unabashed sex talk and flirtation with the same muscular delicacy as the little moments that make a relationship special.

Across GRIP, serpentwithfeet braids swooping flamenco guitar, sinuous low end production, and his astonishing vocal range into different and surprising patterns. True to his name, this music slithers and writhes between gut, heart, and head—but damn if you don’t want to dance to it. 

One More Thing:

I’m taking a deeper dive into the P-Funk catalog, in particular the records illustrated by Pedro Bell. I’m amazed at how his art and George Clinton’s music work together to create a complete world with its own mythology.


Tierra Whack’s new album comes out this month! Since her 2018 visual album Whack World, I’ve loved everything this incredible rapper and artist has worked on: singles, fashion lines, even a lego collaboration! [Ed note: this was also my second* most anticipated album of 2024*—super stoked for this. It drops 15 March.]

—Will Kaplan

Writing artist based in Queens, NYC


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