At the end of the year, it’s always intriguing to reflect back on the previous months and see how some of our favorite artists have grown. One such artist that comes to mind is Little Simz. Around this point last year, Simz wasn’t even on our radar, but it wasn’t long before she entered our consciousness with the release of “Mandarin Oranges” alongside Waldo & Sango. 11 months later, we can’t even imagine life without Simz, as she’s endeared herself as one of our favorite emcees to emerge from the UK. The quick witted London native is more than just a rapper though, as she easily proves with her latest project, Age 101: Drop 3|000. This being her fourth and final release of the year, Simz is on a determined path to showcase what makes her such an impressive talent. Featuring production from the likes of IAMNOBODI, MeLo-X, Jakwob, Tiffany Gouché, Sevn Thomas and Prezident Jeff, Age 101: Drop 3|000 is a smooth and engrossing listen throughout, blending together a potent mix of dizzying bars and delicate vocals. There’s no doubt in our minds that Simz has cemented a place for herself in hip-hop, and we’re interested to see where she takes us in 2015.
Stream and download the entire EP below, and make sure to also check out Little Simz’s recent sessions with BBC 1xtra’s Live Lounge.
No Introduction (Prod. IAMNOBODI)
Closer (Ft. Tiffany Gouché)
Frozen (Prod. IAMNOBODI)
Circles (Ft. MeLo X)
Intervention (Prod. Sevn Thomas + Prezident Jeff)
Used To Know (Prod. Jakwob)
2014 was a quiet year for Miguel, but the LA crooner couldn’t resist getting one last word in, surprising his fans with some free music this morning to tide them over until 2015. The three track EP, aptly titled nwa.hollywooddreams.coffee, draws its name from the tracklist itself. The project is more stripped down compared to the lush and vibrant dynamics found on 2012′s Kaleidoscope Dream, but the sound is still distinctly Miguel at its core. All three songs differ greatly from each other, yet still manage to create a harmonious balance together, something that is tough to achieve with such a short sample. The sole feature on the EP comes from Kurupt, who adds a dope little verse to the murky, percussion-driven “nwa.” That’s followed by the grungy, yet optimistic “hollywooddreams,” before closing things off with the effervescent “coffee,” which falls into more familiar territory sonically speaking.
Stream and download the neat little gift below, and stay tuned for more from Miguel as we turn our calendars to 2015.
Rich Homie Quan
Tell Me Why (Feat. Drake)
When Birdman first recruited Rich Homie Quan & Young Thug to be a part of Rich Gang, it seemed like a natural fit as Quan and Thugger were already two of the more prominent rising faces at the forefront of the ATL rap scene. Now, the group has plans for a sequel to their successful mixtape, Tha Tour Part 1. Though we have no concrete release date for the project, it seems as if most–if not all–the tracks have now surfaced online. Featuring guest spots from Drake, Fabolous, Ty Dolla $ign and Dej Loaf, the star studded follow-up seems poised to build upon where the last left off. Regardless of where the tracks are from, this should be enough to power you through your New Year’s Celebrations. Check out the Drizzy assisted single above, and stream the rest of the tracks after the jump. Continue reading
Through The Wire (Kanye West Cover)
After spending a good majority of 2013 at the top of the Hype Machine charts, FYFE has remained relatively quiet throughout 2014, as he gears up for the release of his debut album, Control. With a release date in hand now, the British sensation has decided to celebrate by releasing a quirky cover of Kanye West‘s “Through The Wire.” Anytime someone decides to cover Kanye it makes for a risky proposition, but in this case the College Dropout classic is an especially curious choice considering FYFE is not a rapper himself. We know better than to doubt the crafty musician though, and it’s safe to say he’s delivered one of the more creative takes on a Kanye track we’ve ever heard. FYFE’s interpretation is sparse, yet placating–characteristic of many of his previous singles–and he manages to build a record that has its own identity, while still paying tribute to the original with mixed-in vocals from Yeezy himself.
The young talent had this to say about his inspirations behind the track:
Through The Wire has been stuck in my head for most of the last 10 years. The fact that Kanye West had a track on his last album named I Am A God added a certain amount of pressure to the process, but once I got over the image of him peering over my shoulder whilst I made the cover it came along quite quickly. To Kanye West purists- I’m sorry. To everyone else – I hope you enjoy it.
Stream the track above, and make sure to pre-order
your copy of Control
before it hits shelves on March 9th.
Real Cool (featuring Vanessa Elisha)
Christmas has come early this year ninjas, as we’ve just been gifted our second song of the week featuring the very talented Vanessa Elisha. This time around, the sultry songstress links up with UK producer salute for a new single off his upcoming Silver Tides EP. The result is a “Real Cool” mixture of intricate, percolating synths, skittering snares and intoxicating vocals that’ll transport you to a state of pure nirvana. After about 250 straight listens, it’s safe to say “Real Cool” might be one of our favorite releases of the week, and we highly suggest you check out salute’s EP whenever it drops via his Dime Club imprint.
Earlier this week, we expressed our uncontainable excitement for the upcoming release of JMSN’s upcoming project, JMSN (Blue Album). Thankfully, we don’t have to wait around until Tuesday to hear it in its entirety, as the crooner has just uploaded a free stream to his SoundCloud profile. JMSN (Blue Album) is the artist’s first full length effort since last year’s †Pllajë† EP, and after one listen, we’d say it’s probably his best since his debut, †Priscilla†. Already one of the brightest minds in alternative R&B, the Michigan native has shown tremendous growth over the last couple of years. The self-titled album is a slight departure from some of the dark, brooding material we’re used to, opting for a soulful sound consistent with more traditional R&B music. His vocal chops are as strong as ever, and it’s pretty obvious at this point that nothing can slow R&B Jesus down. JMSN (Blue Album) makes for a relaxing listen through and through, and we’ll most certainly have this one on repeat until the end of the year.
Stream the record below, and make sure to pre-order a copy for yourself as an early Christmas present.
Knucklehead Feat. Earl Sweatshirt
It’s the season of giving, so the folks over at Red Bull have launched a new series called 20 Before 15, in which they’ll be releasing 20 songs in 20 days leading up to 2015. For the fourth entry in the program, they’ve selected a new cut from Lil Herb–yet another “Chi-raq” native who’s had a marquee year for himself in 2014, and seems primed for a breakout. Pairing him up with Odd Future‘s Earl Sweatshirt, the two combine to create a laidback, yet tenacious tune where they reminisce about some of their previous knuckleheaded behavior. Earl performs double duty here, handling the production as well, and the pair originally hooked up for this collaboration down in Austin for SXSW. Stream the track above, and be on the lookout for more from Red Bull in the coming days.