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.
Free n Losh & Tyler Rix
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Free n Losh have an affinity for the classics. Calling back on when they first dropped onto our radar, we were immediately enamored with how flawlessly they took tunes from yesteryear into this century. Using samples from legendary artists like Tony Bennett, The Mills Brothers, and The Beatles, these two Torontonians have continually defined their unique approach in paying tribute to legendary tunes, and today is no different.
Riding along the wave of their Hype Machine number 1 remix of Odesza’s “It’s Only”, the two are back, only this time they’re teamed up with London-based singer/songwriter and saxophonist Tyler Rix. Paying an artful homage to Ol’ Blue Eyes, this collaboration has dialed up a sultry cover and interpretation of “Witchcraft.” The smooth bassline and understated percussion provide the perfect caress for Rix’s smooth, crooning voice, ultimately taking us away from any worries we woke up with today. Taking things to an entirely different level is the addition of a saxophone, which continues to embody the “past vs present” theme we’ve come to know and love.
There’s definitely more to Phil Beaudreau than we can cram into a single song release, but we’re going to do our best. This enigmatic singer/songwriter is most definitely a crooner. One listen through “Fly” will have you whisked away to yesteryear, carried along the backs of a delicate section of strings, and a subtle, muted soundscape. Ultimately, this arrangement lets us focus on the glorious vocal progression, which artfully displays the beautiful tone and range from Mr. Beaudreau.
Other songs carry a more synth-pop vibe, however, they always focus strongly on vocals, and we can’t really blame anyone for that approach. None the less, the production style varies from song to song, always keeping the listener guessing.
Aside from the interesting arrangement of genres to back those soothing vocals, we know very little about this mysterious Angelino. In all honesty, we’re ok with that. We simply enjoy what we have, which happens to be some really impressive music.
Today we’re showcasing his latest tune, an homage to all those Nintendo nerds (myself included.) In an experimental 8-bit soundscape, Beaudreau gives us a hauntingly engaging tune, aptly named “Another Castle.” Take one listen, then delve into the rest of his work by clicking here.
As the leaves turn brown and snow starts falling, we’re still longing for those summery vibes. Here’s a tune that will help you reminisce about summertime. “Let’s Love Baby” by Kulkid is a tropical fix sampling Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On”. A new wave of tropical sound mixed with a tad bit of good ol’ Marvin helps create this pleasant tune. The synth is on point with the mood and vocals of the track. You can’t help but start singing and dancing to this ageless gem. The breakdown in the middle is almost a time for reflection of the wonderful memories you had. Whether or not you’re into tropical music, this song will speak to you in unique ways. Kudos to the French producer!
MYNGA feat. Cosmo Klein- Back Home (Bender Remix)
Trying to get through the mid-week struggle? Here’s a tune that’ll help you. Jersey-based producer Bender just remixed the popular track by MYNGA, featuring vocals from Cosmo Klein. While the original is a tropical masterpiece and crowd-pleaser, Bender’s take on the song adds the deep factor to it. Cosmo Klein’s falsetto-filled vocals steal the spotlight as usual, which gives off a positive vibe with such soulful and powerful maneuvers. The saxophone also helps bring up the tropical sense of the track, making it an overall pleasant and enjoyable listen. Check out these artists as they are ones to watch for the come up of tropical music. You don’t want to miss out!
Sugah Daddy (Red Bull 20 Before 15)
It’s been nearly 15 years since D’Angelo‘s classic sophomore album, Voodoo, and, up until recently, many fans had given up on the possibility of a new album from the wildly talented singer/songwriter. Over the last year or so, though, D’Angelo has slowly been reintroducing himself through live performances hinting at a new project. Over the weekend, the rumors crystalized quickly leading up to Questlove‘s announcement that fans would be getting a new D’Angelo record far sooner than expected. At midnight last night, Black Messiah arrived in Beyonce-esque flash-release fashion with widespread positive first impressions both critically and around social media. The 12-track record truly does not disappoint striking the perfect balance between funk and soul cultivating an incredible groove from start to finish perfect for soothing the Monday blues. Black Messiah could not come at a better time providing an uplifting and politically conscious voice in a time when tensions run high in the US. Check out the funky “Sugah Daddy” above and read D’Angelo’s powerful explanation of his vision for the album below:
It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.
Black Messiah is available for purchase/streaming on iTunes and Spotify now.