Playa, Incense Burning
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday : Playa, Incense Burning

Louisville, Kentucky R&B trio Playa burst onto the scene as part of DeVante Swing’s Da Basement Cru, aka Swing Mob, in the early nineties. While the group’s work with Swing remains in the vault, the group’s 1998 debut Cheers 2 U is easily one of the strongest albums of that year. I plan to revisit Cheers 2 U for Second Listen Sunday soon. However, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite songs, “Incense Burning,” from the group for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday.

In the spring of 2001, Hip Hop superstar DMX was preparing to star in his fourth feature film, Exit Wounds, which would see him co-starring with Steven Segal. The film’s soundtrack was primarily composed of Hip Hop; however, Playa’s three-part harmony on the slow cut was a great break from the album’s griminess.

“Incense Burning” is a different kind of slow jam, as it is not mainly about romantic love or sensuality. Instead, the song is about self-love and knowing when to take time for yourself. After an opening intro where the group croons “Nowhere,” we are treated to the first verse:

“I leave home early and get home late

It’s an everyday thing around the way

Off to see just what I can get into, maybe play cards at my partner’s place

All this running and all this flirting got my whole body hurting; I need me a break.

My phone keeps ringing, my pager keeps buzzing

Yo, today I’m screaming, “I ain’t doing nothing.”

The chorus then comes in with the lyrics:

“The incense burning and my house shoes on

I’m at home, damn, it’s good to be alone (I’m at home) 

And nothing ain’t wrong”.

No matter where you are in life, sometimes you just want to shut the world away and take some time for yourself. As we all know, incense has a tie to aromatherapy, and sometimes the best therapy is just to relax and listen to music. Playa provides the perfect song with their standard three-part harmony when you just need to regroup.

Final Grade: A

“Incense Burning” from the Exit Wounds soundtrack is available on all streaming platforms.

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