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.
"Raise your head high, the World Cup is upon us / Camden-based artist Bakar knows just what we wanted / Do you call it soccer? Do you call it football? / All I know is that Germany's out and it's just get started / Belgium, Belgium, Belgium / Look out for the British / France is pretty young but they're not playing Quidditch / Russia's kinda far away / Perhaps even a Million / Maybe hit the Siii-ling / Ronaldo's probably reeling / This tune is a killer / BK is a villain!"
^^*Sing to the tune of "Million Miles" by Bakar*^^
More of a dance track than anything else, "Hands" is a song by London-based rapper Octavian that quite obviously has him singing and not rapping. Compared to his last two releases ("100 Degrees" and "Party Here"), it's a complete change in what you might've expected from the up-and-comer but not in his sound aesthetic. The emotion-evoking distortions are reminiscent of James Blake—or perhaps, more accurately, Mount Kimbie—combining gospel, soul, and electronic elements bubbling into a shuffling, bass-heavy, and dynamic production.
Did you ever see Elon Musk talk about the possibility that reality as we know it might be a simulation? Well, this is sorta-kinda-not like the musical equivalent of that theory, but luckily for us, Odie articulates it much better. "Little Lies" — as the artist puts it — is actually about a girl and a relationship, but it also explores the meaning of life: "What if all my sins never met a God? If there really is no reason to anything and there really is no purpose for anything in life then the only purpose for me to live really is for me to have a purpose to live. And the only purpose that I can find for me to live is to just do things." Listen above and muse about it if you have some time.
Each frame of LA Timpa's "2;ep1" is captivating and carefully curated as the beat pulsates with gliss from location to location; occasionally rumbling alongside the lyrics aimed at the monotony of existence.
Near the end of January, Toronto-based artist Kafayé reintroduced himself through the release of three new songs entitled: "Balmain," "Consuela" and "Paradise." In all of which, the 21-year-old vocalist blends his Carribean roots and influences with contemporary sounds of soul and R&B. The resulting mixture is reminiscent of the islands whilst being grounded in city life. Friend and collaborator, Abdullah, produced the triplet of singles and together they're still working forward to progress. I had the opportunity to see the pair perform live at Outtaline's "Volume 4" showcase a few weeks ago. The songs translated well; and Kafayé's upcoming project, The Sweet Summer Experience, is definitely something to look out for.
Col3trane is a London-based artist whose debut mixtape, Tsarina, recently released in November.
Stream it here:
What a time, what a time: Today, Daniel Caesar received two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Performance ("Get You") and Best R&B Album (Freudian). And as if to cap things off, he also released the music video for "Freudian" with added vocals. Above, watch the duality unfold.