Hey everyone hope you’re staying safe and indoors! It’s been a tough couple of weeks and it looks like we’ll be self-isolating for the foreseeable future. However, the music that has been released over the last month or so has been amazing, so there’s a lot to cover with this weekly roundup. Let’s get into it!
Tribal, soulful and gut-wrenching, Shabaka & the Ancestors fire on all cylinders with their new album We Are Sent Here By History
Shabaka & the Ancestors are a jazz octet led by the supremely talented London-based tenor saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings. They blew onto the scene in 2016 with their heavy, mesmeric and spiritual debut album Wisdom of Elders. It was a raw, rich and captivating release that captured a tribal, raw energy that completely blew me away on first listen. Four long years later, they’ve returned with an equally rich, textured, aura-inspiring project titled We Are Sent Here By History. It feels heavy on the heart, beautiful and utterly emotive – a perfect follow up to their debut. Read more
The mysticism and allure of Jay Electronica’s presence in hip-hop is translated poignantly on his long-awaited debut album A Written Testimony
Lyrically, this album is an encyclopedia. I’m just happy to have tracks to marinate on and think about for a while. While I think he’s suffered from Nas syndrome with poor outdated production, there’s an ethereal, surreal quality to A Written Testimony that makes it a profoundly moving listening experience. I’m so happy Jay Electronica is back to silence everyone, and I’m happy he’s finally built the confidence to release a project that’s close to his heart. Read more
ZelooperZ – Gremlin
Detroit-based rapper ZelooperZ has released a brand new album titled Gremlin. The dark and unassuming tone of the album is what makes it such an immersive and captivating listen. The eerie, trap influenced instrumentals throughout are complemented by ZelooperZ’s dark lyricism and flow. It’s a heavy listen with a lot to digest, but it’s ZelooperZ’s alluring and hypnotic presence on the mic that makes this an engaging release.
SWARVY – Blend Special | Ep. 4
LA-producer SWARVY comes through with a new remix tape titled Blend Special | Ep. 4. Remixing and reworking tracks from the likes of THRVD, Joy Postell, Frank Ocean and Freddie Gibbs among others, he is able to capture his signature funk, with guitar and bass-driven melodies that sound groovy and infectious. There are tracks on this tape that I can’t help but play again and again, such as “waze[Blend]120” and “nights[Blends]84/90.” Make sure you listen to this one and support!
Ahwlee – coolist
California-based producer Ahwlee has released a new beat tape titled coolist. It’s a hard-hitting, melodic and soulful tape that helps showcase his skills as a beatmaker, perfectly combining sooth and soulful samples with hard-hitting drums and beautiful chopped samples. It’s a terrific listen throughout, so make sure you check it out, and I hope there’s more music on the way!
Charlotte Dos Santos – Harvest Time
Norwegian singer/songwriter and overall amazing musician Charlotte Dos Santos has come through with a new, melodic and aura inspiring new EP titled Harvest Time. It’s a gorgeous, melodic and ethereal listen from the first track to the last. “Harvest Time” is a moody opener while “Padre” is an angelic track. The music throughout evokes such beauty, as her voice meanders between smooth and buttery instrumentals. The tracks flow perfectly from into another and create a meditative tone that beautifully captures her aura. Charlotte Dos Santos did an amazing job on this EP and I hope she continues to thrive musically!
KEYAH/BLU – Sorry, I Forgot You Were Coming
South East London singer and rapper has released her highly anticipated new EP titled Sorry, I Forgot You Were Coming. With glossy and upbeat production, KEYAH/BLU flows effortlessly throughout, painting stories of her own experiences growing up in the city. Her flow sounds menacing and assuring on tracks like “If You Know” and “Heidi” are complemented by more soulful and melodic moments like “South” and “tib bliss.” It’s the combination of styles and personalities KEYAH/BLU brings to her music that makes her one of the most exciting musicians working today. I hope she continues releasing dope music because this project was great!
BSTFRND – Quaranting
Richmond, Virginia producer and Mutant Academy member BSTFRND has released a new tape titled Quaranting. In an effort to raise more funds and release more music in this unusual and difficult quarantining period, more and more artists are releasing music, and I’m all here for it despite the circumstances. I’ve been a fan of BSTFRND’s crisp, soulful sound for a while now, and this 7 track project is a perfect embodiment of his raw musical talent. It’s a futuristic, electronic and off-kilter body of work, and I hope to hear more music from him in the near future!
JWords – dancepackvol.1
New Jersey producer JWords has come through with a short 3-track EP titled dancepackvol.1. The tracks are engaging and dynamic, brilliantly capturing the aura and ethereal tone of her music. The synths leads and groove on “shine<3” are just infectious, while the more dynamic and hard-hitting rhythms on both “waythatweare” and “moodrn” show a more aggressive and frantic side to her music that is equally as captivating as her more melodic and soulful sound. I hope she continues thriving musically despite the challenging environment at the moment, so do support!
the mud – a great wind carries us…
South East London hip-hop group the mud have come through with a soulful, eclectic and meditative new project titled a great wind carries us…. With beats from forrest green and raps by bayley, the sound of this tape is melodic, with gorgeous piano keys and synth leads that add an ethereal, angalic tone to the music. bayley’s lyricism is introspective and poignant as per usual, as he flows effortlessly through the dreamy soundscape. They keep growing musically and I’m excited to hear what they do next. Great album!
iiye – lil’sidePeace
Pink Siifu aka iiye has released a new beat tape titled lil’sidePeace. With funky and soulful beats throughout, the talented polymath has created another memorable body of work worthy of praise and support! Throughout the 7 tracks he is able to craft a sound that sounds soulful, spiritual and incredibly funky. Tracks like “s/peace” sound like they came straight from the 70s with smooth piano and guitar melodies that complement the funky basslines and drumming throughout. “wood.” is a soothing, angelic track with soft vocals that add depth to the track, while the guitar leads on “demo” are colourful, sounding very Steve Lacy-inspired. It’s another great project from one of the most unique artists working today.
Chewbeats – Joyful (Single)
South London-based Italian producer Chewbeats has released a brand new single titled “Joyful.” The soothing guitar leads and angelic synths are complemented by beautiful vocals that add character and depth to the release. It’s a soulful track, with jazzy undertones that sound truly angelic and otherworldly. It’s a fantastic new track and I hope he continues releasing gem after gem, because he’s been on a roll with releases for a while now!
Shabaka and the Ancestors – They Who Must Die (We Are Sent Here By History)
Àbáse- Sambo ft Stevo Atambire (Invocation)
Jay Electronica – The Blinding ft Travis Scott (A Written Testimony)
Jay Electronica – The Neverending Story (A Written Testimony)
Jay Electronica – Fruits Of The Spirit (A Written Testimony)
Jay-Z – Marcy Me (4:44)
Ahwlee – on_time (coolist)
Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Living Happy (Single)
ScHoolboy Q – My Homie (Habits & Contradictions)
Rago Foot – Off Ends (Lost in the Current Part 1)
KEYAH/BLU – Heidi ft Lord Apex (Sorry, I Forgot You Were Coming)
Thundercat – Fair Chance ft Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B (Single)
Charlotte Dos Santos – Padre (Harvest Time)
The Avalanches – Running Red Lights ft Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu (Single)
Mac Miller – Right (Circles (Deluxe))