Hey everyone! I would say happy Sunday, but these lockdowns all around the world don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so I hope you’re all still maintaining sanity. Over the past few weeks there have been some great music releases, so without further ado, let’s get into the music!
The subdued yet catchy nature of Childish Gambino’s 4th studio album 3.15.20 is a step away from his otherwise experimental soundscapes
The funny thing is that as I write this review I feel like the album has already grown on me. While instrumentally and thematically this album feels like a step-down from previous Childish Gambino releases, there is something about the playfulness and joyful energy of 3.15.20 that makes it such an engaging and interesting listen, especially during this difficult period of self-isolation. Read more
KeiyaA – Forever, Ya girl
New York-based singer, songwriter, producer and all-around super talented artist KeiyaA has released her highly anticipated debut album titled Forever, Ya Girl. It’s the super soulful and ethereal tone of her voice that makes this such a captivating listen, and the textured and lavish instrumentals throughout provides a smooth and meditative overall vibe. From the subtle percussion on “Rectifiya” to the groovy and rhythmic “I! Gits! Weary!” she is able to craft a project that is both smooth and dynamic, with her powerful and angelic vocal performance being the centrepiece of all this. “Negus Poem 1 & 2,” “Nu World Burdens” and “Keep It Real” are my favourites, with groovy basslines and heavy drums that sound captivating. It’s a terrific album that deserves all the praise in the world, and I hope KeiyaA keeps releasing more powerful music like this because we need it!
Knxwledge – 1988
Legendary producer Knxwledge has finally released his highly anticipated new album titled 1988. Despite release=ing a plethora of beat tapes and remix albums, this is his first album on Stones Throw Records since 2015’s Hud Dreems. As per usual, he knocks it out of the park, with soulful compositions that take influence from jazz, soul and R&B music. Tracks like “thats allwekando” and “don_tgottabe” are sampled and chopped up brilliantly throughout. Anderson .Paak makes an appearance on “itkanbe[sonice],” bringing his usual raspy vocals and personality to the track, while “minding_my business” features vocals from Durand Bernarr and RoseGold, who’s vocals coupled with the groovy, funky R&B beat makes for an incredible closer. Knxwledge doesn’t disappoint, but then again, when has he ever released anything sub-par? His streak of incredible music continues, and I hope it continues for years to come.
Mndsgn. – GONNA B OK
LA-based producer Mndsgn. has released a mini project titled GONNA B OK. It’s not an official project, just a loose set of tracks he has released to warm u up for his highly anticipated new album. Mndsgn has been one of my favourite musicians since he released Breatharian back in 2013, and he has continued to be consistent with his output since then. On this new project, he brings soul samples, synth-heavy compositions and groovy basslines to production that sounds funky and incredibly engaging. I can’t wait to hear what he has coming next in terms of his new album, as he’s never been afraid to push boundaries and innovate.
Witch Prophet – DNA ACTIVATION
DNA ACTIVATION is the new project from Toronto-based artist Witch Prophet. On her new album, the talented musician takes inspiration from her Ethiopian and Eritrean roots, as she brings a raw, tribal energy to her music. With thumping drumming throughout, infectious and spiritual horn sections and a gorgeous vocal performance from the talented musician, who sings in English, Amharic and Tigrinya. Tracks like “TESFAY” bring “MAKDA” bring a dark, rumbling energy to the album, while more uplifting tracks like “ETMET” and “REGBU” bring an aura and sense of peace within her music that is just so incredible. This is a fantastic album and I hope she continues to thrive musically for many years, still!
Yazmin Lacey – Morning Matters
London-based musician Yazmin Lacey has come through with a soulful and jazzy new EP titled Morning Matters. Her incredibly gentle vocal performance throughout this album is coupled with lavish and soulful production. From the soft and soulful opener “Own Your Own” to the more dynamic and funky closer “Not Today Mate,” she is able to create a melodic and emotive sound that captures her energy beautifully throughout the 5 tracks. I enjoyed the gentle and ethereal tone of this project, and I hope Yazmin Lacey continues to release consistently great music for years to come!
Cleo Sol – Rose in the Dark
London-based singer Cleo Sol has released a brand new album titled Rose in the Dark. I’ve been a fn of hers for a few years now, from her angelic and aura-inspiring vocal performances to the chillingly beautiful instrumentals. This new album is just as emotive and soulful as her previous projects, with stunning synth-led melodies that bring out a powerful energy. The groove of the title track is soft and sweet, while tracks like “Young Love” and “Butterfly” feature some incredibly beautiful vocal performances that captivate me like no other album this week. It’s a true work of art.
Voldy Moyo – We Take The Same Steps
London-based rapper and producer Voldy Moyo has come through with a brand new album titled We Take The Same Steps. The production throughout this project sounds more experimental and varied than on previous releases, with credits from the likes of AFB (Medhane), redLee, dj blackpower (MIKE) and Voldy Moyo himself among others. They are more melodic and synth-heavy, with the animated and colourful soundscapes giving Voldy Moyo the opportunity to rap about his own experiences living in London and growing as a person. He flows effortlessly over these beats as well, which is a true testament to his talent. I hope he continues to grow as an artist, because this project is absolutely terrific!
Manny – Change
Belgian producer Manny comes through with a brand new album titled Change. I’ve been a fan of his for a few years now, as his bass-heavy drums and melodic synth-leads make for a colourful and ethereal listen. Whether this comes from the hard-hitting energy of “Grey Cloud” or the moody, spacious energy of “Solo,” there’s always a mood and beauty to his music that’s just so amazing to me. He’ll definitely continue releasing amazing beat tapes and albums in the future, as he’s already done, and I can’t wait to see where the next few years take him!
Eun – Into Me (Single)
Talented London-based musician Eun has come through with a brand new single titled “Into Me.” It’s a short track, but features some incredible grooves and guitar-leads that create a mesmeric sound, perfect for Eun to add some beautiful vocals. He’s one of the most exciting artists making music out of London right now and I hope he continues to strive musically and release gems because he’s got a few great albums in him, I know that!
Caleb Giles – Goose (Single) ft AKAI SOLO
New York-based musician Caleb Giles has released an excellent new single titled “Goose” featuring rapper AKAI SOLO. It’s always great hearing new music from Caleb, who’s 2019 album Under The Shade was in my top 25 albums of that year. The hard-hitting beat is met with an animated and soulful sample, and both Caleb Giles and AKAI SOLO bring intricate wordplay and incredible flow over the beat. It’s a fantastic track, and I hope to hear more from both musicians this year!
Knxwledge – makeitliveforever (1988)
Knxwledge – howtokope. (1988)
Caleb Giles – Goose ft AKAI SOLO (Single)
Conway the Machine – Shoot Sideways ft ScHoolboy Q (Single)
keiyaA – I! Gits! Weary! (Forever, Ya Girl)
keiyaA – Keep It Real (Forever, Ya Girl)
lojii – pay rent [Blends Swarvy Rework] (Single)
Cleo Sol – When I’m In Your Arms (Rose in the Dark)
Yazmin Lacey – Morning Sunrise (Morning Matters)
Witch Prophet – ROMAN (DNA ACTIVATION)
Mick Jenkins – Snakes ft Kojey Radical (Single)
Voldy Moyo – Better Than Before (We Take The Same Steps)
ZelooperZ – Hideous (Gremlin)
Childish Gambino – 12.38 (3.15.20)
Childish Gambino – 35.31 (3.15.20)
Manny – Grey Cloud (Change)