Making a strong first impression can be intimidating. Meeting a potential employer, the future in-laws, casting agents, business partners, etc. is cause for countless hours of preparation. If your mirror could talk back to you, you would hope it had words of encouragement before you stepped out of the door. If not, you may become a wicked queen and give away poison apples. When comics are prepping their debut album, they know every last joke has to be polished like your grandfather’s Cadillac. Harlem’s own Neko White has been building towards his debut album Introducing… Me since his first time on stage seven years ago. What’s most impressive is the fact that seven years ago, White was only 14! As far as first impression go? If this album were a first job interview, White would be hired before an employor sees the other candidates.
Produced and recorded at the New York Comedy Club by Temple Horses, Introducing… Me is the finished product of the act White grinded out since high school. The audience gets to know the now 21-year old as he gives his perspective on current events while taking them on a ride into today’s version of Harlem. To start the album, White covers the controversy of New York’s gentrification. His biggest gripe is the “skyrocketing” prices of organic produce at Whole Foods. Although he admits he appreciates the safety (and white women) that accompanies gentrification, he can do without fruits and veggies challenging his bank account. “There are no reasons why I have to make real life decisions before I have to buy a red pepper!” he exclaims. White follows by admitting he’d rather buy the twelve-cent inorganic pepper because it lasts longer in the fridge and the GMOS allow it to grow back after you cut it up.
White doesn’t shy away from confronting racial comments made by celebrities in recent years. His take on former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was a crowd favorite. White informs the audience he doesn’t follow basketball and didn’t realize who Sterling was. He jokes, “When I heard ‘Owner of the Clippers Doesn’t Like Black People’ I said, ‘It’s a shame that somebody wouldn’t want black people in they barbershop.’” White even takes on the racial slurs uttered by the Paula Deen. Originally thinking Paula Deen was the DJ from The Jersey Shore, he states, “I wasn’t mad that she said the n-word. I was pissed that she was famous in the first place!” In both instances, White handles controversial topics like a seasoned pro.
Broken up into three tracks, White discusses losing friends to prison. A particular highlight comes when White explains the discomfort of receiving phone calls from friends in the slammer. As is his impressive style, White goes in a different direction than the audience expects. The reason for his discomfort is that he doesn’t want to burden his imprisoned colleagues with what he calls “Free Man’s Talk”. After asking what he will be doing following the phone call, White replies, “Well first I’m gonna cut my lights on and off when I please.” The hardest part of losing friends to prison for White was seeing their face on the news on one TV while the theme to The Golden Girls played on his grandmother’s TV in the next room.
Starting off strong is big part of having a successful comedy act. Introducing… Me is the just the beginning in what appears to be an exciting career for Neko White. We learn about who White is through tales from his native Harlem, his perspective on today’s society, and self-deprecation (see the track entitled “Slim Goody”). He can be bold in his choice of topics by taking on racism and gun control but also light by covering women’s fashion sense and being the most famous “Neko White” in a Google image search. If an introduction had to be seven years in the making, then this album proves it was well worth the wait. Check out Introducing… Me by visiting NekoWhite.com or pick it up on iTunes or Amazon.