Culture Collide debuts shirlette new single feat sookee

November 13, 2015

shirlette teams up with sookee on “Language Barrier Segue”

From Culture Collide:
As a poet and musician, Durham, North Carolina-based wordsmith shirlette ammons is well-versed on the robust and all-encompassing power of lyricism. In anticipation of Language Barrier, her sophomore album and riotous ode to verse (out on February 5), ammons has just gifted the public with a brand-new single, a collaboration with Berlin’s resident rap queen sookee entitled, “Language Barrier Segue.” Here, militaristic drum beats merge with ominous drones and heavy-hitting bass drops as spoken word reigns supreme. ammons reveals that the release centers around the notion of “love as an act of resistance.” She explains, “I wanted to approach genre as a ‘barrier’ then break it down. I wanted to write an album that explores the ways we love across imposed and implied barriers.”

sookee and i are consistent collaborators and i’m very proud that this track is debuting at this moment. for those interested, i’ve posted the lyrics here:

lyrics: sookee, shirlette ammons
music: Daniel Hart
vocals: sookee, shirlette ammons

sookee verse (w/English translations)
Es geht selten um english esperanto und deutsch
It’s rarely about english esperanto or german

Es geht oft darum zu verdrängen und darum zu versäumen
It’s more often about repressing and neglecting

Die barriere im kopf eine karriere verbockt
The barrier in the mind, a career gambled away

Keine euros und dollars auch kein leben für für gott
No euros no dollars neither a life for god

Aber ein klares verständnis wie kann ich dir begegnen
But a clear understanding of how i can i encounter you

Meine konzepte und wünshe inzwishen nicht mehr vernebelt
My concepts and wishes aren’t foggy anymore

Denn ich trau mir vertrauen zu in gesichtern verewigt
Cause i dare to have trust manifested in faces

In teilen im meim eigenen und dazwishen beweglich
Partly in parts and also in my own, still flexible in between

Da sind liebesbegriffe die uns zu tiefe verpflichen
There are terms of love that obligate us to depth

Worte sind sauerstoffflashen wenn uns krisen vergiften
Words are oxygen bottles when we are poisoned by crises

Wir kommunizieren komplexer realitäten entsprechend

We communicate more complex according to realities
Was meinst du mit was meinst du kann mich nicht ewig verstecken

What do you mean by what do you mean, can’t hide forever
Sprache ergänzt durch blicke hände und lächeln

Language complemented by gazes hands and smiles
Wir sind so im moment dass wir das ende vergessen

We are so kept in the moment that we forget about the end
Und den anfang, den standard wenn du magst kannst dus weitersagen

And about the beginning and the standards, you can spread the word if you want to

Parole brückenbau und grenzen zerplatzen wie seifenblasen
Watch word building bridges, barriers burst like soap bubbles

shirlette verse:
For those who deal with the ridged curiosity’s hidden
and the aim is mistaken coded in smokescreens of language

Take the tongue from the tiger feel ashamed when they bite it
but we aim for the opposite, igniting the silence

If we don’t name our injustice a generations indicted
if we do speak about it, we’d be far from nearsighted

I wrote this fearing the mirror the one you clearly invited
held up facing the angels plus the demons inside us

I’m only versed in 3 pidgins: ebonic, country, and christian
plus the jargon of forefathers who don’t seek forgiveness

Now we burning them bridges amidst the broken and brilliant
watch the barriers burst like bubbles scaling a building
but nothing’s ever that simple ‘cept my word and my pencil
in 24 hour diners breaking from making a living yeah

so when I finish the sentence
since we mend distance with sentence
let’s never finish this sentence




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shirlette & twin sister, Shorlette, Launch SugarQube Records

Durham, NC-based poet and musician shirlette ammons partners with twin sister, Shorlette Ammons, launch SugarQube Records.

shirlette says, “Our goal is to create a platform that supports artists who blur genre lines by making music that pushes the bounds of categories and labels. The concept behind SugarQube developed from my own experiences as an artist seeking support. SugarQube will represent artists who want to create defiant work. I love hip hop and R&B, but what if you’re a Black musician who wants to create outside of the molds you’ve been arbitrarily cast into? SugarQube aims to allow artist that opportunity.”

SugarQube will co-release shirlette’s sophomore solo album with Durham, NC’s Churchkey Records in early 2016. The first single from the album will be released September 2015.

“Soon after Shorlette and I decided to create the SugarQube label to release my new album, Churchkey expressed interest in releasing the new record to,” shirlette adds. “We’re excited to work with Kyle and Steve of Churchkey on our inaugural project and feel the collaboration only strengthens the ideas that inspire SugarQube Records.”

For Shorlette, a former librarian-turned-community gardener and food justice activist, this is a first venture into music. About starting SugarQube, Shorlette says, “We grew up around music and continue to have a genuine love for artistic expression. I am truly a fan of shirlette’s first solo record, Twilight for Gladys Bentley, and look forward to working with her to support her second.”

More information will be announced about SugarQube Records’ co-release with Churchkey in the coming weeks. Visit for more information as it is announced.

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New Dates Announced!

Language Barrier Tour | Germany Summer 2015

Langauge Barrier Tour | Summer 2015 (photo by Danielle Riley)

Shirlette Ammons Tour Dates

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Done Dyin (Free Download)

done dyin (lyrics)
[original lyrics, music by outkast: idlewild blues (dontchu worry bout me)]
something’s on my mind
gotta tell you now
got my feet heavy
got my mind worried
got my soul searching
i’m done dyin
now more closed curtain
pussyfootin haul-tailing
got my storytelling
i’m done dyin
something’s on my mind
gotta tell you now (2x)
the sky turned purple and pale
the wind got wound up and wailed
look around in every direction
mother earth just wouldn’t behave
somethings on my mind
gotta tell you now (2x)
all the ones was believing in prayer
got round up and hauled outta there
man tried to blame the sky lord
should be ashamed of himself
somethings on my mind
gotta tell you now (2x)
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Next Level, Belgrade

Next Level Program


For 2 1/2 weeks, I had the distinct honor of joining legendary Hip Hop Producer Diamond D, Pop and Lockin’ Specialist Pop Master Fabel, and Denver’s finest DJ B*Money as the lyricist/MC instructor for the Serbian contingent of The Next Level Program.

Next Level Team Serbia

Next Level is “an initiative of the US State Dept & UNC Music Dept to send artists around the world to use hip-hop as a tool for cultural diplomacy & conflict resolution.”  Over 2 weeks, we worked with a vibrant community of Serbian Hip Hoppers in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The Belgrade experience concluded with an outdoor performance at Dom Omladine after 10 days of skill-building. Novi Sad’s two and a half day residency concluded with a performance of its own, which we shuffled indoors at the promise of rain.

former Yugoslav Army Headquarters, bombed in 1999 as it stands in 2014

I was inspired by the hope that exists beneath the justifiable layer of pessimism exhibited by many of the students with whom I taught, learned, and chilled. It was only 15 years ago that NATO bombed former Yugoslavia. On one outing, we drove past the Yugoslav Army Headquarters that were damaged by NATO cruise missiles in 1999. Trying to build a cultural identity while physical and psychological remnants of war are so palpable is it’s very own struggle. In some essences, it seems that such a truth motivates the art and expressions of the people.

We also experienced Serbian nightlife, partying along the Danube and Sava Rivers with a all-night, energetic crew. Everyone–the hotel staff, the workshop participants, the tech and soundpeople, our Embassy hosts–generously extended their time and energy to ensure an expansive, creative experience and an overall good time. I’m so very grateful to everyone involved.

Visit Next Level’s website for a slue of photos and videos from all Next Level residencies including images from the final Belgrade performance at Dom Omladine and video from our live stream session at Watch More TV Radio in Novi Sad. And please visit the following links to support the work of those committed to making music, fighting homophobia and classism, and building sustainable Hip Hop culture in Serbia:


shirlette Next Level performance with MC Shan

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shirlette [T4GB] live at Conne Island, Leipzig Germany

Thanks to Iwo Betonkultur, who’s been documenting Purple Velvet International Female Hip Hop Tour from an insiders perspective, here’s video from our performance of “Joy Division,” at this tatted venue called Conne Island in Leipzig, Germany. The performance features live drumming courtesy of THE Majus Beats, producer/drummer extraordinaire who’s energy alone adds bounce to my step. Loved having him with Gabe, Tommy, and me if only for a couple songs.

Plenty more #purplevelvet videos and photos at !

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NK2NC Video: sook + shirlette

“An Ideal Partnership,” Creative Loafing

hot off the reelz! here’s the only song, my dear sookee and i ( Shirlette Ammons (Twilight for Gladys Bentley)) have ever recorded in real time, in the same country, on the same soil, in the same time zone, in the same room using the same mic! (stay tuned, tho. our collab catalog is soon to rival lionel richie and diana ross:) written and produced during #prettypreciouscargo fall 2013 ( Hopscotch Music Festival Shiprocked), with Dj Boogie Dan + Gabe Turner + Tommy Rau + Just Photographer Berlin+ my momma:) so much love in these moving images. hope you enjoy:




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shirlette [T4GB] Spring 2014: All Dates Announced!

shirlette [T4GB] spring 2014 is announced and includes eastcoast US dates with The Indigo Girls, the Purple Velvet International Female Hip Hop Tour (with sookee and Lex La Foy) with stops throughout Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Before that are readings and performances in NC, including a rare performance by Shirlette and the Dynamite Brothers at the first annual Art of Cool Music Festival. Browse all below:

Purple Velvet International Female Hip Hop Tour with sookee, May 2014


 shirlette [T4GB] spring 2014 Tour Dates:

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Hey Mami (se+sa remix)

Hey Mami (se+sa remix)

So, I had a birthday recently, and, as a gift to myself, I remixed one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite new bands (and homies), Sylvan Esso. In the spirit of Bentley Mode and T4GB, this is my initial effort at producing, recording, and mixing a song, so, it has elements of a first-time: a bit awkward and imperfect in certain places, but hopefully, worthy of seconds:). Download it for free and if you dig it, pass it along!

p.s. Thanks to Nick and Amelia!

Hey Mami (se+sa remix)

Lyrics to sa verse:

you recently creeped on me wearin your sweet victoria
i treat your secret like wikileaks, cuz you reek of euphoria
it’s obvious knottyheads clock your body like pocket watches
they don’t know your flavor notes, you like chocolate in ur coffee
when it’s sweet and it’s black and it’s genius from the back
add subtract sinful and ambidextrous acts
i’m a dyke, i like figures and femmes into artifacts
fingering apartment keys is not an act of platitude
let’s make a deal, peel your panties like a nasty attitude
i’ll introduce you to my collection of, um, detachables
i keep them in the drawer you’re so curious to ravage through
maybe you’ll find a thing or two that pleases and surprises you
so here’s what ima do, follow your every lead
pick the vehicle and the speed, you’ve peeked me to my greediest
i cancelled the facebook events i wasn’t even attending yet
just to equip you with this sylvan|shirlette hey mami remix


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Hey Mami (se+sa remix) FREE DOWNLOAD

available for free download at midnight 3.4.14

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