Kendrick Lamar – “The Blacker The Berry”:
While everyone was caught up with who was wearing what and who won what at the Grammy Awards over the weekend, Kendrick Lamar had better things to do: he dropped a new track, and boy oh boy, it is one hell of a track. “The Blacker The Berry” is as different to previous release “i” as night is to day, or as black is to white, and that is exactly what K.Dot spits over the dark and raw beat from Boi-1da; he spits black venom, and stares the racial issue of colour dead in the eyes. The fiery Compton rapper dishes out accusations like “you hate my people” and “you sabotage my community“, just two of many thoughts that are most probably floating around inside many other black Americans’ heads in light of recent events in their homeland. Kendrick’s back to his ferocious and merciless best here. What a start to Black History Month.
Kanye West + Vic Mensa + Sia – “Wolves”:
Kanye West’s elaborate launch event at New York Fashion Week for the new Adidas x Yeezy 750 Boost shoe was nothing short of spectacular. He introduced the shoe itself, plus a newly designed fashion line entitled YEEZY SEASON 1. With a number of high profile guests in attendance including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Russell Simmons and Vogue editor Anna Wintour in the front row, Kanye also took the opportunity to present the opening track to his upcoming album.
Featuring fellow Chicago artist Vic Mensa as well as Sia, “Wolves” is produced by Cashmere Cat and Sinjin Hawke. Reminiscent of his 808’s and Heartbreak era with the minimal-experimental nature of Yeezus thrown in, the haunting auto-tuned song is definitely one of the most exciting tracks to be premiered so far in 2015. Check out the full event below. The track starts at 8.20 minute mark.
Francesca Belmonte – “Lying On The Moon”:
When I hear tracks like “Lying On The Moon”, I get depressed at how sensible my own taste has become of late. It also makes me realize that the cobwebs urgently need blowing away from a lot of ‘trending’ music. This latest track from Francesca Belmonte follows on from “Stole”, a song which is smart, restless and ingeniously well crafted. Both tracks are tasters of what’s to come on her debut album, due for release via Adrian Thaw’s (aka Tricky’s) label, False Idols in Spring.
The creative combination of Francesca Belmonte and the legendary Tricky seems to have bettered music. ‘Lying On The Moon’ is driven by a flavour of jungle drums and notes, both of which perfectly reflect the introspective nature of the lyrics and vocals. The remaining part of the track is interspersed with rapping, where the words seem to vibrate and shimmer almost imperceptibly.
The idea that a musical match this good is rare, is simply not true. It just doesn’t ever seem like it’s going to happen to musicians when they get morose. Clearly it was the right place, right time, right people. If Tricky’s musical career path on Wikipedia is completely accurate, he’s had a pretty amazing rise to notoriety. It almost makes you believe in destiny mixed in with determination. The path must have been one of blinding uncertainty.
You can really feel that inborn artistic hunger to escape the mundane disappointments of everyday life (like popping out for your semi skimmed while realizing your lover’s complete lack of imagination) at the core of this track. An easy 8 out of 10. Check “Lying On The Moon” out here.
Braids – “Miniskirt”:
Braids are returning with their new album Deep In The Iris in April. The Montreal dream pop trio lead by Raphaelle Standell which are best know for their first album Native Speaker have found their way back into our ears and hearts with the release of their new single “Miniskirt” which is the first song to be released from the new album Deep In The Iris.
The song reveals a new side to the band, thus if you didn’t know them, you now have the chance to, and well if you do, you’ll get to know them even better. “Miniskirt” starts off with pounding piano bounds, rising lyrical and techno synths alongside powerful self reflective yet emotionally hitting lyrics, “that would leave you face to face with your mirror in a state of deep self-reflection, of your soon to end teen age years or your soon to be adult hood”, and offers a revitalising take on the social eugenics of feminism, and the way in which women are protruded throughout society.
Within this single, more seems to be at stake: words like “chocked”, “bitch”, “womanizer”, “Casanova”, “cause I asked for it” and “Slut” are recurring, as well as lines like “I’m not a man-hater, I enjoy them like cake and if I’m wearing red and if I am you feel you feel you have the right to touch me cause I asked for it”, which is a continuous line that pierces through the track followed by increase in synths rising with each pound of the piano.
The album, which is due to be released on the 27th of April in the UK and the 28th World wide, explores a number of very subjects ranging from pornography to abuse which some some may come across as an eye opener. The album is available for pre-order here, while “Miniskirt” is also available to listen to below.
Ibeyi – Ibeyi (Album):
Ibeyi are French Cuban twin sisters, who sing spiritual style chants, and mix it with a dubbed version of funk, at the tempo of your heartbeat. They deal with tough subject matters, including loss and grief, the album also branches out into a further political complex. The presence of their self-titled album is very dense, it’s darkly moving, and simply aims to insight you. The duo are Lisa‑Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, prepare to be taken on a most special journey by these two musical masterminds. Their self-titled album is due out on February 16 via XL Recordings, listen to the exclusive album stream below or here, and pre-order it on iTunes here.
Froth – “Postcard Radio”:
Although we haven’t quite reached the warmth of spring just yet, LA indie rockers Froth have encapsulate a Californian summer haze in their latest track “Postcard Radio”. The song is from the band’s forthcoming album Bleak, which is to be released on May 5. Froth are signed to Burger Records, a small indie cassette label run from a shopping mall in Orange County, responsible for acts such as Ty Segall and Black Lips. “Postcard Radio” is garage pop with a shoegaze twist, full of fuzzy guitar licks coated with reverb and overlaid by singer JooJoo Ashworth’s effortlessly cool vocals. Froth are currently touring Europe, supporting psychedelic rockers Pond. “Postcard Radio” is available to stream below.
Celestial Trax + Shady Blaze + Tynethys – “Stargate”:
As a taste of the forthcoming release of his The Stargate EP due out on March 2, Celestial Trax has offered up title track “Stargate” featuring Shady Blaze and Tynethys. Serving as the first track on the EP, “Stargate” begins with synth keys that warp in and out, then the main message hits home. Initially it sounds like it’s going to be so soft and atmospheric, sort of dreamy. It’s totally not. The two Oakland based rappers featured lyrically pinpoint that moment in life when you realize the competitive, animal nature behind the sweet façade of society. This is their main lyrical punchline: Who wanna stay broke? / We all trying to get rich / They don’t give a fuck about you / Everybody at the chips.
In part, it’s a reminder for musicians to stay hungry and streetwise in the face of their own determination to ‘make it’. The main message is: don’t get swallowed by the bulls**t. Remember there’s a time for creativity and a time for commercial common sense. Go get heard, but also, go get paid. Given that I only register the world when its blunt reality is calling at my door, I really liked the message here.
A track is only as good as its main hook. The hook here is honed, real, frustrated, dirty and delicious. It pulls no punches, is lyrically playful, and is almost the musical version of, well, The Wire. It’s almost disturbingly comforting. Waking up always is. I do like rap. It’s a good welcome break every now and then from music that dances around real issues. Listen to it sooner rather than later below.
Tinchy Stryder + Fuse ODG – “Imperfection”:
Veteran London rapper Tinchy Stryder is back with his brand new single titled “Imperfection” featuring Afrobeats star Fuse ODG. The single was premiered earlier today by Twin B and Yasmin on BBC 1Xtra, with the music video for the single landing on VEVO shortly after. The video for “Imperfection” was directed by James Barker, who also directed Tinchy’s “Spaceship”, A$AP Rocky’s “Purple Kisses” and Fekky’s “Aint Nobody”.
The single is to be released on Tinchy’s own Cloud 9 Records on April 5, and comes on the back of his critically acclaimed comeback single ‘ESG’ which was released last year. Along with this single release , you can expect to hear a Sir Spyro Grime Remix of ‘Imperfection’ featuring Ghetts and Frisco, as well as another remix featuring Youngen and Sneakbo. In the meantime, enjoy the Killbeatz-produced original below and pre-order the single on iTunes here.
D Double E – “Can’t Come Back”:
Grime veteran D Double E has just put out his latest music video for “Can’t Come Back”, unveiled on Fact Magazine. Premiered on radio by MistaJam earlier this week, the track features a strong return to form with classic D Double quotables and massive production. His Newham Generals partners have also been active lately, with Footsie recently releasing his Scars EP on vinyl and Dizzee Rascal seemingly taking a step back from pop efforts and returning to underground music styles. “Can’t Come Back” will be released on February 24 via D Double’s label Bluku Music. Check out the video here.
Words by Ayo Adepoju, Phillip Cogger, Michael Barrett, Reannon Licorish, Sej Jheeta, Oli Kuscher and Oscar Nicholas