When the line "nobody puts Baby in a corner" rang across packed movie theatres in 1987, there was a visible shift in the air, a gear that began to turn alongside every young woman's audible gasp of excitement . It set a pop culture precedent for years to come—a clear cut reference to be used whenever describing the dangers of limiting any individual to a pre-conceived notion; to their own corner. The emotional catharsis that followed when Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey's characters finally succeeded in completing their now signature jump, when they defied their boundaries and left their respective corners, became a high that many of us still chase in our daily lives, with none more so than the marginalized communities of America.
Following the death of George Floyd earlier this summer, a lot of artists took to their social media pages to post their heartbreaking reactions, some even took to the streets to march in solidarity, while others took to the studio to express their pain in the only way they knew how. When newcomers We the Commas wrote "The RZN"—their own personal response to Floyd's death—it was with the sole intention of simply processing their thoughts, without any real motivation to release it out to the rest of the world. But a chance listen by their barber changed their minds, reminding them of the impact a sincere message dressed up in melody can have, of momentarily forgetting about the corner you've been put in, and running head-first into the jump.
Rather than scream in frustration, or wail in pain, brothers Lenny, Jordy, and Cam speak calmly; harmonizing in unison, adding weight to their words with every verse as if they're training for a lifting competition. Floating on top of sparse piano keys and soothing kick drums, their verses are piercing, not with insults or taunts, but with honesty and tired questions: "I don’t wanna deal with this no more / people looking at me like I’m dangerous/ can’t you just see what’s in my heart/ or maybe that’s too much to ask." But through it all, they still manage to find a smile, allowing it to come up whenever they speak to their higher power above, knowing that within their faith, within their trust in each other, they are safe.
Growing up in a beach town, they never quite fit the aesthetic expected of them in their own community, nor the one expected of them out of it. But within that conflicting mess, they've found a space all their own—a crafted landscape of luscious R&B and vintage jazz set across a calm, bonfires-at-the-beach background—a sound they proudly coined as 'surf alternative R&B.' They may be young (one brother is still in high school), and they may be unexpected, but the one thing that they refuse to be is whatever you want them to be. Because nobody puts We the Commas in a corner.
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