Earlier this year, slowthai released his debut album, Nothing Great About Britain, to critical acclaim across the board. Its autobiographical nature and nuanced pronunciation of the state of affairs within the UK is mesmerizing and hard to look away from; given his mercurial nature and excitable style, Nothing Great About Britain has been nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize because of the great work housed within. Similarly, the visuals for “Toaster” are just as unique as the album. You’ll find slowthai revisiting his Northampton home, reminiscing about his upbringing, while interjecting a live performance throughout his walk around. It’s a simple, yet beautiful video that displays the dichotomy between his aggression as a rapper and and vulnerability as a person.
Today, on its namesake, untradition returns with a new track entitled, “July 20 Freestyle,” taking an introspective look focusing on his own dreams and aspirations. The song plays out like a stream of consciousness which acts as a self-affirmation while acknowledging the relationship between himself and the listener (“If he believe, then I believe / Not in me, but in you all”). Overall, it’s a statement piece, untradition is looking to grow and progress as an artist; eventually becoming his best self for you, not him — he promises. Stream it here:
“Oak” is another drawled out, screwed down release from ✘O ✘V ✘T that plays with the tempo of the track throughout its runtime. The tempo switch, along with his tone, makes “Oak” feel like two different songs completely; it’s safe to say he has his sound perfected, no problem. Comparatively, it boasts the same aesthetic as his more recent singles like “4L,” “When Will This End?,” and “Prada Aoyama / Down Bad.” Stream it below:
Moël is an Ethiopian singer-songwriter from Addis Ababa who is now based in Toronto. His latest single is called “Votk” which stands for “Valley of the Kings” in reference to the famous burial grounds found in Egypt. And between the spiritual overtones, Moël’s piercing voice, sublime lyricism, and soulful production, “Votk” is quite a beautiful song. So, if you love your family, stream it below:
Flohio is really starting to grab everyone’s attention with visuals and songs like this. “Hell Bent” is exactly what the name implies and shows the South-Londoner simply spazzing. Directed by Duncan Loudon, the video looks and feels like a spastic interpretation of fire and brimstone personified by Flohio herself. The energy is contagious, check it out.
Back in May, I had the opportunity to see Shanuka perform during CMW at the Drake Underground. It was at a sound clash between Trifecta (Sask.) and Serious Betty’s (Ont.) teams. Unfamiliar with a lot of the acts, her set stood out to me the most amongst other artists I was being introduced to. And when she performed “Like That Bout You,” she had me hooked. Her singing, production, and old-school / new-school style of R&B complemented one another nicely, and her vocal arrangements really hit home. At least, that’s my take-away from her live show: it was fun. Recently, she released a new single called “Be Gone” and it continues to show Shanuka’s consistency and capabilities just fine. You can listen to both tracks below:
About a year ago, Toronto-based artist Julien Bowry quietly began producing music under his untradition moniker with the release of the demo-esque “black boy” and the more polished-off single, “new drugs.” Both of which provided an introductory look into the potential of his blues, rock, and soul fusion to great effect. And while his musical output went silent thereafter, Bowry has obviously been working on his craft since then. During the interim, he’s joined the roster over at People’s Champ Management; then last week, he officially debuted a two-track EP — Crack/Desire — as part of his more formal introduction as a musician; while today he released his first music video for the song “Crack.” Like his previous releases, these new songs seamlessly blur several genres together with “Crack” adding more hip-hop elements into the fold with snapping instrumentation and a faster flow. “Desire,” on the other hand, leans heavily into soul territory, almost gospel with the organ in the background and Bowry’s accompanying vocal display. Stream it below:
Released on Valentine’s Day, “Short” is the first single and formal introduction to UK-based producer, J Rick. While this might be considered his first solo outing, J Rick is most notably known through his work with Octavian as part of their collective, Essie Gang, previously producing “Party Here,” "Hands,” and “Lightning.” The video for “Short” — directed by Armin Druzanovic — is a conceptual piece looking to capture the essence of summer; scenes revolve around a house party, a half-pipe, and a general sense of thrill-seeking. It’s the perfect precursor for the warmer months to come. What’s more: last year, I described “Hands” as being somewhere between a James Blake and Mount Kimbie production, and “Short” holds true to that statement with a glitchy, samba-inspired, instrumental. Look out for J Rick’s upcoming mixtape, No Retreat No Surrender, coming out soon.
Around midnight, Sonder returned with the release of a new song called “What You Heard.” It’s a welcome addition to their already small discography, as they’ve been focused on quality over quantity since the group’s inception. And maybe, just maybe, this might be indicative of a new project, but then again, you never know with these guys. Fingers crossed, though — they haven’t released anything outside of their recent radio show since last year’s loosie, “One Night Only.”
Baby Keem probably isn’t someone you’ve heard of before and he’s seemingly appeared out of thin air, but after a few placements on TDE’s Black Panther soundtrack, and Jay Rock’s Redemption, Keem is slowly becoming more of a household name.The Sound of Bad Habit is his newest release — executively produced by CardoGotWings — and it’s a short but sweet project that immediately grabs your attention by how ignorantly fun it is. The high energy production complements the knucklehead lyrics perfectly, and to be honest, it’s hard to stop listening with a replayable runtime of 22 minutes.
Subversively enigmatic as ever, ✘O ✘V ✘T is back at it again with the Halloween release of his latest EP, 001. I still don’t know much about the Montreal-based artist but lately he’s been releasing things with a bit more structure and consistency than usual. Hopefully, he keeps things up and his presence only increases from here on out.
In commemoration of his own IXXI Initiative, Sean Leon returns today with his latest offering intriguingly entitled Sean Leon (The Death Of). It is 32 minutes of continuous music displaying new vocal and production experimentations throughout the runtime; possibly acting as a precursor and introduction showing listeners what to expect from his forthcoming album, King & Sufferin. The Death Of finds Leon singing on more of an equal footing as his rapping. The overall feel of this project is warmer — thanks to the electronic and dance elements — than his previous releases, and it’s easy to tell Leon is trying something new to great effect.
Octavian has been having quite an amazing year: he's released "Party Here," "100 Degrees," "Hands," "Little," and "Revenge" to the universal acclaim of fans and peers alike; received cosigns by Drake, Stormzy and A2; walked in Virgil Abloh's inaugural Louis Vuitton show while also having Abloh "design" the cover for his debut project; featured on Mura Masa's new single "Move Me"; and just recently signed with Sony/ATV and Stellar Song. In short, he's the new wunderkind of UK rap and he's capitalizing on all of the attention with his new breakthrough effort called Spaceman. Stream it here:
Effortlessly cool in everything he's involved with, A2 is like the Mahershala Ali of rap. His musical output might best be described as it "comes to him naturally" because he really is just smooth like that. Purple is his umpteenth EP providing listeners with a small vignette of what the Croydon rapper is capable of. It follows in the footsteps of last year's Blue wherein A2 introduced himself at length and his production and songwriting skills were showcased in full. Purple gives another good look at the uptempo and mellow stylings of one of south London's best. Stream it below:
It's been two years since Joey Purp released his debut project, iiiDrops, and since then he's been relatively quiet. So much so, that if you're curious enough, you can look back on his Soundcloud and essentially see the timeline of his releases since then. Nevertheless, quiet doesn't mean gone; Purp has still been steadily working, releasing "Bag Talk" and "Elastic" in preparation for his latest effort, Quarterthing, which is finally here. If you're unfamiliar with the Chicago native, expect full-bodied production with triumphant, catchy, and poignant raps to match. Clocking in at 14 tracks, features include The RZA, The GZA, Ol' Dirty Bast--, err, Ravyn Levae, CDOT Honcho, and Queen Key. Stream it here:
Paradise Motel is an indie-rock band consisting of Nigerian-born singer Wekafore Jibril and Bilbao-based producer Ruben G. Mateos. So far, they've released an EP called Egosex back in 2017; while they have a new EP called Superblue seemingly slated for 2018. "Indestructible" is a new song from that upcoming project which has Jibril singing about enduring a scornful lover and their harsh break-up.
Conceptually, Col3trane's new joint video is a hallucinogenic trip linking his latest singles "Fear & Loathing" and "Britney" together. The video begins with Col3trane entering a car with the Man With Flowers walking away; the scene then cuts away to a desert and the two come across each other in an endless psychedelic loop. Director Oscar Hudson describes the video as "a BIG stop motion contrazoom in the Kazakh desert ... [with] 30 people who let us bury them in the sand." So from what I can tell, filming this would have been a huge headache to set up, and after watching it half-a-dozen times, the visuals are still as mesmerizing as they are meticulous. Col3trane's next project entitled, BOOT (Breathing Out Of Time), comes out soon. Stay tuned.
A few weeks ago, Mura Masa released a nice likkle dance tune for the remainder of the summer featuring my new favourite artist Octavian.
Directed by Dexter Navy, ASAP Rocky's latest music video is a cinematic work of art featuring an expert usage of match cuts throughout. "Praise The Lord" shows the parallels between New York City and London as Rocky and Skepta take turns counting their blessings. Fittingly, Navy uses the match cut technique to compare and contrast the similarities between the two cities.