Witness is the highly anticipated follow-up to Benjamin Booker's critically acclaimed self-titled 2014 debut album. Booker has created his most ambitious work yet, delving deep into his passion for eccentric soul, R&B and blues. It draws on William Onyeabor's '70s African psych-rock, Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T while never straying too far from the garage-punk intensity that made Booker's debut a creative breakthrough.
These 10 new tracks were written by Booker, produced by Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby) and mixed by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes). The title track, Booker's most profound and incisive song to date, features a guest vocal by Mavis Staples. The song's origins date to a writing trip he took to Mexico City, during which James Baldwin's observation that "Once you find yourself in another civilization you are forced to examine your own," took on the weight of experience. "Am I going to be a witness?" Booker asks in the statement (and the song). "And in today's world, is that enough?"
"I wanted to make a record about the things in my life I never wanted to talk about," Booker adds. "It's a record about self-exploration, about learning to love yourself and opening yourself up to love others, about choosing the kind of person you want to be, about confronting death and appreciating life. Really it's about trying to take control from the perspective of someone who has come very close on several occasions to losing ALL control."