The musical journey of Topaz Jones has been a joy to hear. Early boom-bap collaborations with Thelonius Martin eventually began to incorporate jazz and house influences. Then 2016's Arcade revealed Topaz's skills as a enigmatic frontman and vocalist, diving deep into modern funk and soul with hits like "Tropicana" and "Winona." He's back at it in 2018, having released a series of A Side/B Side EPs—Toothache/Zoom was followed by Nectar/Pleasure Pain Passion, and today we're premiering "Cotton Fields," the first half of the final A Side/B Side.
It's a crazy song in the best of ways, a mélange of genre and emotion that's some of his most ambitious work yet. Topaz has previously confessed to being an Outkast fanatic as a kid, and it's magnificently apparent here. "I remember the first time I put on Stankonia and The Love Below," he said, "Sitting there and dissecting 'A Life In the Day of Benjamin Andre' forever, trying to pick apart what makes this so dope."
There are plenty of those moments on "Cotton Fields"—the squishy Parliament synth, the backing choir, the chord progression that won't decide if it's major or minor, the lip-curling, gone-too-soon guitar solo that closes things out—Topaz went for it on this one, and came away with an addition to his greatest hits tracklist.
"I was tripping in the woods with some of my closest friends from childhood my first year out of high school and I had a moment where I looked up and saw this really crazy hallucination in the sky," Topaz says of the song. "It reminded me of a lot of the simple things I was losing sight of. I sketched it down in a notebook and it always stuck with me. When I made the beat for 'Cotton Fields' it really sounded like that moment to me."