Anjimile: “The King”

Anjimile created “The King,” the title track of his debut album on 4AD, almost solely using acoustic guitar and his own voice. These two instruments, humble in their ease and accessibility, are reintroduced as gargantuan, almost terrifying forces as he returns from a three year absence with observations on being a Black trans person in a cruel country. The effect is immediate, a whiplashing storm you can’t look away from.

“The King” begins with a choir of voices moving swiftly in an ecclesiastical dance. Anjimile’s voice, appearing over a minute later, is booming and omnipresent by comparison, like a god speaking from the clouds above. He labels silence as the mark of Cain amidst Black Death, invoking recent years of racial unrest. “What don’t kill you almost killed you/What don’t fill you pains you, drains you,” he sings gracefully. Beneath this, Anjimile plays razor arpeggios on acoustic guitar; they’re sharp and quick, disappearing like tendrils of lightning bolts. There’s always been power afforded by watching and waiting: Now, on “The King,” Anjimile finally steps to the throne and speaks.