Photo: Jheyda McGarrell

Janelle Monáe – Float (feat. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80)

“Float” is like an opening scene to Janelle Monáe’s new musical era. The singer-songwriter and actress wants her latest single “Float” to be the song that champions champions and she wrote it with that in mind.

“Float” is inspired by many unrelated things, like the way Muhammed Ali used to talk “shit,” the movie 1974, Jane’s evolution, Mary Poppins’ umbrella, Aladdin’s magic carpet, Bruce Lee’s mighty philosophy on being “shapeless, formless,” and becoming one with your surroundings, to be like water and several other things.

Before fans got to hear “Float” in its entirety on February 17, snippets of it have been played for as far back as late 2022 as promo material for ABC/ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime campaign, with Monáe also narrating the ads.

In an interview with Malika Andrews, Monáe confirmed that the song makes her see basketball stars just rising above it all to make that winning dunk. She said, “I remember writing the song with my producers, and us being like, this is the song that athletes, no matter what field, specifically though basketball… We want them to listen to this song in the locker room before they go out and play their big game.”

She added, “This is the song that allows people who are great to truly float into their greatness.”

And why not? The song has truly uplifting lines like: “it’s hard to look at my resume, hoo, and not find a reason to toast.”

The song is about realizing that you’re bigger than your enemies and that you’ve done things you should be proud of. Even when there are doubts, even when people are giving you negative energy, Monáe wants you to let it all go and “float.”

At the beginning of the song, she sings about someone who “used to walk into the room head down” before they had an epiphany and now they “don’t walk” but “float.”

“Now I done had several epiphanies over some breakfast at Tiffany’s / Had to forgive all my frenemie, they are not who they pretend to be / I had to protect all my energy, I’m feelin’ much lighter,” she raps in a low-key way that fans immediately fell in love with.

The swag in her voice and the song’s vibe serves as a fresh reintroduction to an artist that fans have waited patiently for years to hear a new piece of music.

Even though it isn’t accompanied by a music video, it’s still the serve fans are expecting from the artist famously known for her visionary sound.