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Black Girl Magic is Honey Dijon's glorious homage to dance

"Black Girl Magic"

Release date: 18 November 2022
Honey Dijon - Black Girl Magic cover
18 November 2022, 19:00 Written by Chris Todd

Born in Chicago but now a Berlin resident, Honey Dijon, has seen her stock rise considerably since the release of her excellent debut LP, The Best of Both Worlds back in 2017.

It’s a rise which this year has taken her to the pinnacle of pop through production duties alongside Defected records A&R head, Luke Solomon on Beyonce’s Renaissance album. With one cut in particular, "ALIEN SUPERSTAR" racking up serious streaming heft, alongside her re-edit of "BREAK MY SOUL" placing it in its rightful place alongside the beats and strings of Madonna’s iconic 1990 track, Vogue, Honey owned Summer 22.

Black Girl Magic is a love letter to the dancefloor, the coming together and the joyful abandon that ensues, but it’s also about the fight against oppression, against racism, transphobia, sexism, homophobia, and it's drenched in the history of dance music.

Whether that be the day parties at Printworks in 2022, euphoric 1989 raves soundtracked by Marshall Jefferson Ten City remixes, Sylvester deep-cuts from 1985 in the Hi-NRG clubs, those Grace Jones albums created with Sly & Robbie at The Compass studio in Nassau in the early eighties, or ecstatic Philly Soul extended cuts from the mid-seventies.

Honey’s DJ sets are a lesson in not only musical history, but also what can be possible armed with a pair of headphones and a turntable, and that manifests itself in its music. Musically, Black Girl Magic is a house record, but it's what the music channels that makes it much more – it’s about groove, but just as important, it’s about feel. "Love is a State of Mind" evokes hedonistic nights dancing to Danny Tenaglia in the late nineties at New York super-club Twilo, "It’s Quiet Now" is a hi-hat away from a killer Junior Vasquez remix, while the jacking cut "Downtown" is elevated into space-disco territory with uplifting synth chords, her impeccable production touching on those milestones of the past, whilst remaining the epitome of what works in a club right now.

Constructed like one of her DJ sets, the first half is about the build, there’s early Chicago house with a sweet soulful vocal from Cor-Ce on "Stand", soaring string-led disco ("Everybody") and zero fucks street-sass on "Drama".

But for those who like it darker, the techno workout "C’s Up" is a fierce collaboration with house music legend Mike Dunn and comes across like a sequel to iconic dance cuts like Adonis’ "No Way Back", or Frankie Knuckles’s "Baby Wants to Ride" – they’re hard and sleazy as hell, resulting in immediate rewinds to experience the heat all over again. Darker still, a lost weekend in Berlin’s Panorama Bar is encapsulated in the chaotic bedlam of "La Femme Fantastique" to perfection.

A casual dance music fan may find the lack of variety in terms of tempo somewhat cumbersome, but if you look at this through the prism of Honey Dijon as a DJ it makes total sense. As one of the best DJs on the planet, this is a heart shaped look back to the sounds and to the experiences that have shaped her as a DJ, an artist, and a person, and she’s gloriously unapologetic about that.

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