Posted in music

#MusicMondays – NEW MUSIC: Nico M – Damage

Hello All! It’s been a while I know! Today’s post is a quick continuation of my Instagram Post. It’s a debut song called ‘DAMAGE’ from UK newcomer Nico M. Very catchy song! Looking forward to seeing where the music takes Nico! I think he has a future in the scene! The single is out now!

Check it out below and stay tuned for more posts this week!

Posted in music

Playlist Picks: What I’ve Been Listening to….

Hello Everyone!!! Hope everyone is hanging in there! This year seems to be speeding by which is probably for the best given the state of it!!! Today’s post is dedicated to top songs I’ve been playing recently that have given me such good vibes! These are the kind of songs you could have playing while you’re just chilling. Good vibes only!

Brandy – Borderline

Brandy has always had a sensational voice but this new album ‘B7’ is just reminding me of all of her beauty. This was the second single released from her new album but this is by far my favourite on the whole project. The harmonies and vocal range she displays on this song are heavenly. I would love to hear perform this song live, it’s the kind of song that just touches your soul. Stunning!

Rebecca Garton Ft. Ling Hussle, Alana Maria & Tia Carys – All Me Pt.2

Women globally are doing BIG things. This time it’s the turn of the UK talented queens. Rebecca Garton previously released the first part of the song with WSTRN’s Louis Rei which I loved. I was happy to see Ling Hussle on the lineup as I’ve previously spoken on my love for her voice and wow this song was another perfect way for her to showcase her talent. Rebecca Garton seems to also be the one to watch this year! Women are really shining and I love to see it! I hope this is the first of many more collabs from them as their voices blended so well. I also really enjoyed the video where they all paid homage to the Queen Lil Kim. The visuals, vocals and harmonies on this song are perfect!! Have a watch below:

Da Baby Ft. Young Thug – BLIND

Da Baby recently dropped the deluxe version of his smash hit album ‘Blame it on Baby‘ and this song was definitely one of my favourites from the new version. Young Thug always does great features and is so lucky his voice is so versatile to so many different beats. One of the things I loved most about this song is that we can see and appreciate a slower side to Da Baby. We are all so used to his fast rapping style and while this song still contains his signature rapping style it has been slowed down to match the beat. I actually like this slowed down Da Baby. The ‘Blind” reference is in relation to the fact both artists are now successful and are getting the opportunities they always dreamed of. Really inspiring sentiment. Have a listen below:

Dexta Daps Ft. Beenie Man – Obviously

Dexta Daps is by far one of may favourite artists at the moment! It feels like he is incapable of making a bad song and I’m all here for it! He released an album July 31st called ‘VENT’ which I found out about last week! There’s something so sensual about his voice that makes you want to hear every single word he is singing. His Jamaican accent sounds somehow always sounds more sexier than usual! He is immensely talented! This was one of the songs that caught my attention early on while listening to the album. The fact it features the legend Beenie Man is an added bonus! Have a listen to the beauty below:

Rick Ross Ft. Finn Matthews – Pinned to the Cross

The King and pioneer of luxury rap is back with another thought-provoking single! One of the main lines that stood out to me was “I just want to be free, another black man on the run”. In this song Rozay touches on the racial inequality happening in America at the moment. Have a listen below:

Christina Aguilera Ft. XDNA (aka LEWIS HAMILTON) – Pipe

I had to emphasis the feature on this song because I am still shocked. The song was originally released in 2018 with her album ‘Liberation’. However, Lewis recently revealed to the world that he is indeed the secret feature on the song! Hamilton is currently one of the best drivers in Formula 1 and has six world championship titles to his name. It seems rapper/singer is now something else he will be adding to his already huge list of talents. As a Lewis Hamilton fan myself, it is exciting to finally hear his music as he has always expressed his love for making music. I really hope this is not the last music we hear from him because his verse was great!

THEY Ft. Tinashe – Play Fight

I stumbled on this very randomly, but I’ve enjoyed it ever since! The song is such a vibe. THEY are an R&B duo that I had never heard of before this song. However, after hearing this song, I will be checking out more of their songs! The song has a 90’s nostalgic feel and I love how the verses let us hear from different perspectives. Have a listen below:

SIDE NOTE: The African Giant, Burna Boy releases his highly anticipated 5th studio album tomorrow (Friday 14th August). Stay tuned for an album review for that new project. If you haven’t already, please read my previous Burna Boy album review:

Posted in Album Reviews, music, UK Music

Mixtape Review: Unknown T – ‘Rise Above Hate’. – Collab with ‘Shahna Says’

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey everyone! Another week, another EP review! Today’s post is extra special as I collab with the hottest journalist on the scene ‘Shahna Says’! We were both excited for the launch of this tape so figured it would be the perfect time to collaborate together.

UK Drill rapper Unknown T blew onto the scene with his smash hit ‘Homerton B’ back in 2018. Instantly, his infamous deep voice and unique flow became a household name. It can definitely be argued that he was one of the most important figures that contributed to the recent success of the drill genre. There was a setback with a recent jail stint but luckily, he was able to overcome and has finally got the time to shine. Straight in at the deep end, Unknown T releases his debut mixtape ‘Rise Above Hate’ and it’s clear from this tape that he is here to stay. One thing you can be guaranteed with an Unknown T project is that you will get unlimited hits. Having released many freestyles in between it was clear that Unknown T was more than just a ‘Drill” rapper. (One of my favourite live lounges from him has to be the Busta Rhymes cover).  He has proven himself to be an artist and more importantly a versatile one. For me, this was one of the reasons I highly anticipated this mixtape launch.

The tape starts off quite calmly as if Unknown T is preparing us for a big journey to come. Throughout the tape however, we are taken on a fun ride with all kinds of surprises along the way. Here are some of the tracks that we loved:

Deh Deh

For me the intro track was just a preparation for what was to come. ‘Deh, Deh’ is really where it all begins. Unknown T’s signature emphasis on the pronunciation of words is so evident on this track too! In this song Unknown T reminds us that he raps about his personal experiences. The accompanying video is great too as we are able to witness Unknown T executing his signature dance moves!

Addicts

M&L: I like the switch up from this song. The song starts off melodic with the voice of M Huncho along a trap type beat. The breakup allows us to have a bit of a break from the known greaze of Unknown T. It takes a talented artist to have songs with different sounds and still make it work. Unknown T is the king of this. When his verse comes in, it works so well without having to change the tone of the song. There are a few real messages I picked up in this song such as “It’s kinda sad that kids are killing kids” as M Huncho and Unknown T both touch on how the environment some kids are brought up is a key factor on how they turn out.

Shahna Says: Addicts’ with M Huncho has got to be one of my favourites and not because I’m an M Huncho super fan but because of the vibe they have together. We see Unknown T slow down his flow and sound a bit to compliment Huncho allowing him to take the first verse and chorus before we hear Unknown T. ‘I’m trapped in the ends with skengs, drug addicts and drillers, ballies and dingers’ lyrics like this give a nod to the artwork of the block of flats he grew up in and the whole projects theme. Other songs such as ‘Prison’ and ‘Fresh Home’ deal with the same openness with listeners appreciating the fact that he is out and all that he has been through.

Main Squeeze Ft. Young T & Bugsey

M&L: This song features the UK duo who have owned this quarantine period after the success of their song ‘Don’t Rush’. They provide their signature sound on this song and provide us with a memorable chorus and hook. This is not to take away the way Unknown T did his thing on his verse. His delivery and entrance on the song was just a prime example of how effortlessly talented he is. This song is also a great indication of how the UK scene is on top right now with both artists showcasing their individual talents in one track. It will be extremely hard to convince me that there is a genre Unknown T cannot make his own. I can see this being a commercial single.

Shahna Says: Main Squeeze’ has already hit the radio playlists, easily becoming the UK’s fave alongside his promo single ‘Deh Deh’. Main Squeeze is a girl song you could say and we hear Unknown T singing to a potential love interest and the placement of the song allows the listener to move away from the drill lyrics to a vibe that can be played while driving or in the club. Balance. Young T and Bugsey always bring their own vibe giving the song that afro swing feel. I look forward to a video for this one.

My thoughts on some other tracks I loved:

  • SS Interlude – This was a pleasant surprise on the tape. It’s clear that Unknown T enjoys switching up within his music. This may be a short track, but I feel he uses this interlude as a diary and a way to be vulnerable. He sings “Sometimes I struggle mentally”, a juxtapose from all the rough and tumble he is used to rapping about. It also seems like he is directing this at a love interest. I liked the change in pace at this point on the tape.
  • LV Ft. Young Adz –  I really enjoyed this collaboration. Since the release, this is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat. I love the production on this song, it reminds me of the type of sound you would hear on a game.
  • Leave Dat Ft. AJ Tracey – I don’t know where I was when this song was originally released a year ago but wow! I’m not usually a fan of AJ Tracey’s style but I feel this is the sound for him. We are all used to hearing Grime AJ but maybe he should consider more drill. His rapping style compliments the fast pace of the drill beats so well. These two could easily make a joint tape! What a track! A year later or not!

Ambition

M&L: The final track on this tape and wow what an outro! The stripped back production and slow pace prepares us for what feels like a heartfelt response from Unknown T. He uses the track to look back on how far he has come and how much of it has paid off. He also lets us know that he is not done yet; “I’m coming for the game, that’s my main ambition”; hinting that he is only beginning. This is exciting to hear as I truly believe Unknown T is one of the most talented artists in the UK right now. It’s clear that there are no limits to where his talent can go, and it is promising to hear that he is just getting started.

Shahna Says: The final song ‘Ambition’ feels very heartfelt and reminds me of other rappers such as Skrapz, Blade Brown, Asco and Nines when it comes to rapping about your previous life and what you’ve been through. The pain and drive is felt and heard in Unknown T’s voice as he explains he’s coming for the game that’s his main ambition. Touching on now being able to have designer clothes, dealing with relationships and his dream and vision overall. A perfect way to end the project.

Overall, this tape for me has been everything I expected and more. Unknown T constantly proves his talent and it is such a pleasure to hear his constant growth. I really hope there is more to hear from him in the future and it will be such a joy to see and hear how he expands his already growing fanbase.

Don’t forget to pop over to Shahna Says’ page to read more of her views on the project. The great thing about music is that it hits everyone differently! Hopefully this is the first of many more collabs with her!

Link for her page is also: https://shahnasayss.wordpress.com/

Posted in music

Playlist Picks: New Music & What I’ve been listening to…

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all doing well?! Today’s post is on all the new music I’ve been having on repeat for the past week! It’s a strange coincidence that all these releases are from men! That was not the aim haha!

I’m trying to provide you all with more content from now on for you all to enjoy! Please feel free to contact me if there’s some things you want to see more of!

My Top Playlist Picks are:

Pop Smoke:

There was no way I wasn’t going to mention the man of the hour. The late Pop Smoke’s posthumous album ‘Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon’ was released on July the 3rd. The album boosts features from Roddy Ricch, Quavo, Future, King Combs, 50 Cent and many more. If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t a huge Pop Smoke fan while he was alive however I always appreciated how talented he was. He made the drill sound a mainstream success in the US and it was clear he was only just beginning his journey. I recently read a really great review from ‘Shahna Says’ of this album release that summed up most of the songs. Have a read here:

Having listened to this album however, it was clear that Pop Smoke was a lot more versatile that most people including myself expected. A few of the songs on the album stood out for me.

  • The Woo Ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch – This was the first song on the album that instantly got me. I never really realised the similarities between Pop Smoke & 50 Cent before this album but it’s clear why 50 Cent decided to take control of this project. Roddy of course provides great vocals but for me 50 was the star of this song and it was nice to hear him rapping again.
  • Got it On Me– This was one of the most anticipated singles to come from this album. Pop Smoke’s version of 50 Cent’s classic “Many Men”. The song definitely did not disappoint! It’s unreal how similar they sound! it could easily be a part 2 version of the original.

Burna Boy – Wonderful

Oluwa Burna does. not. miss!!!! This song is such a vibe honestly. Burna said that the song is about the impact his music has on the world and this song is a perfect example of that. Regardless of whether you can understand some of his Yoruba dialect, you will, using his words “feel it in your soul“. The song has a stripped back feel to it and has a lot of emphasis on the instruments. For me this is reflective of Nigerian music in general. The song makes me happy and feels like I’m back home. Have a listen below:

Just Rome Ft. ShoSho – Cheque In

I recently stumbled onto this song and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. This is my first time hearing from any of these artists but I’m impressed. I like the fusion of the melodic chorus from ShoSho combined with the raw rap on the verses from Just Rome. The last verse is my favourite as I love when artists have back to backs within their songs. For me, this makes me feel like both artists are in touch with one another. Have a listen below:

Ramz – Scratch Cards

I don’t know what spirit has entered Ramz but I’m grateful for it. He has completely taken a new route in music and it suits him. Coming off the release of his previous single ‘Brixton to Oxford Circus‘ he releases this new banger. Drill really suits his rapping style as he is able to keep the pace and keep his clarity which is a rare talent. In the song Ramz reflects on his upbringing but also his success now. I hope this new sound continues with Ramz and I feel there’s much more talent for him to show. Have a listen below:

Jacob Latimore Ft. Trevor Jackson & Rotimi – Real Love, Pt.2

With so many wonderful females taking over R&B at the moment it’s nice to hear men doing their thing too. This remix features 3 talented men in their own rights and the video is just as creative being shot during quarantine. I wasn’t even aware Trevor Jackson could sing as I knew him as an actor but was pleasantly surprised. Trevor and Jacob’s harmonising was my favourite part of the song. Have a listen below:

Rayven Justice Ft. Case, Eric Bellinger – Missing You (DJ Carisma Remix)

More men doing it for R&B in this song. I like the original song from Rayven which was released earlier in the year but this remix is even better. Any song that features an R&B legend like Case is always going to catch my attention I like how even though Case is old school R&B and Rayven & Eric are new school, they all blend well together.

Russ – Give Up

I have not heard one bad single from Russ before. This song continues with that tradition. Russ is so good at releasing stand alone singles that genuinely are good songs and not just throw away singles. This song touches on Russ’ love interest giving up despite Russ’ reluctancy to do the same. Have a listen below:

Franglish Ft. Tory Lanez – My Salsa

French rapper Franglish treats us to a nice anthem from his 2020 mixtape “MOOD” featuring quarantine king Tory. I hadn’t heard of Franglish before but after this song I will be checking out his other songs. Tory Lanez is perfect on this song. The tone of his voice is made for this kind of music. Have a listen below:

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Unknown T – Daily Duppy

As a BIG rap fan, UK music outlet GRM Daily’s ‘Daily Duppy’s’ are something I always look forward to. It’s even more exciting when I hear a rapper I genuinely like is going to be featured. This was the case for UK drill rapper Unknown T. He definitely did not disappoint either!

Fresh home and on a roll with his releases, this Daily Duppy was long overdue. Filled with the usual wordplay format, his signature adlibs and signature dance moves, this is easily one of my top Daily Duppy’s.

Unknown T has also announced his new mixtape will be dropping on the 17th of July 2020 and I for one, cannot wait!

Check out his Daily Duppy below:

I loved his previous BBC Live Lounge performance last year which for me demonstrated his versatility. As a drill artist you expect them to stay in one lane especially with a distinctive voice like Unknown T has. However, this live lounge really solidified him as an all round artist in general. It’s a wonderful rare talent for an artist to be given any genre of song and any sound and still be able to make it their own. For me, Unknown T is one of the best in the UK right now.

Check out his previous live lounge below;

Posted in music

Playlist Picks; New Music and What I’ve been listening to…

Hey Everyone! Day 100000000 of quarantine, I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe while following your government’s guidelines! Today’s post is dedicated to all the music I’ve been listening to and loving in the past 2 weeks! Some are from established artists and some from upcoming. Please give them all a try, there should be a song here for you!

I’ve got a few ideas for the blog that should be coming into effect within the next couple months so pleas stay tuned! If you enjoy the site, please share and pass on to friends. I’m grateful for all of you!

My top playlists picks:

Promise – Gara (2020) – Produced by Randsombeatz

I stumbled upon this guy and since then I have been addicted to his music! If you are an afrobeat fan, this is the perfect song for you, Even if you’re not, have a listen. The song is from a British Nigerian artist that goes by the name of ‘Promise’ hailing from London. His music is usually a fusion of afrobeats, dancehall and UK rap. Usually when I hear a British artist that does afrobeats, I sometimes get disappointed because on occasion I feel the actual African essence is sometimes missing from their sound. This is definitely not the case for Promise. His music hits the spot in terms of that special authentic African sound. I was more disappointed that he only had 3 songs for me to listen to! Hopefully this is the beginning of a long career for him! I will be first in line waiting to hear more great music from him. (Check out his song ‘Promise‘ too, another one of my favourites)

Chris Brown x Young Thug – Go Crazy (2020) – Produced by KanielTheOne

Chris Brown and Young Thug recently released their joint album called ‘Slime & B’. I was pleasantly surprised with this tape, I feel their voices blended really well throughout and I think they both were able to showcase their individual talents too. This particular song stood out to me as a summer track and has now even been made into a dance challenge! The beat is a perfect pick me up and I can see this being a big song this summer.

Young Thug x Future – Help Me Breathe (2020)

This outro from Chris Brown and Young Thug’s joint album happens to be my second favourite on the tape. This time it features Young Thug collaborating with the toxic king himself, Future. We already know that Thug and Future make good music together based on their joint tape released in 2017. Personally one of my favourite joint songs from them was from Thug’s album ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’, the song being “Relationship”. With this song “Help Me Breathe”, I feel it is actually quite a sweet one. Both of them talk about the importance of their partners in question indicating that they are giving them life. Check it out below;

Shana – Crush on You (2020) – Produced by Jiffthegeneral

Moving to an RnB theme, this is a new song from a new artist! This debut song is from London RnB singer Shana. With this being her first single I am hoping we hear much more from her in the future. I’m pretty sure this song will have you singing “I’ve got a crush on you” over and over and doing some kind of shuffle. I like the freshness that I get from this song, no gimmicks, just pure good vibes and excellent production. The female (even male) Rnb scene in London isn’t as big as it can be and it’s refreshing to hear more and more newcomers. Have a listen to the song below and enjoy:

Kehlani Ft Jhené Aiko – Change Your Life (2020)

Following on from the RnB theme, I had a listen to Kehlani’s new tape this week and this song for me was one of my stand outs. Jhené and Kehlani on the same song makes complete sense, both queens have the perfect sensual voices to blend with each other. I love Jhené’s verse in the second verse as she sings to the person in question hyping them up while also pointing out that they would be even better together. In verse 3, Kehlani lays it all on the table and when I first heard this verse I replayed it multiple times. “Used-to-be models, IG honeys all shaped like bottles but now you seein’ that it’s more than body, face, and smile. You see me, and you look beyond it, you feel inspired…”. So beautiful. Check it out below;

CE – Who Am I? (2020) – Produced by DCQBEATZ

Another one from CE! I’m a fan of this track for sure, it has a nice vibe to it, the beat is great too. CE raps less on this particular track and lets his singing do all the talking! This will have you singing “Everytime you find me, you try to remind me of who I am” like it’s been doing to me! The artwork is great too! Have a listen below:

Russ Ft Ty Dolla $ign – 3AM (2020)

If you haven’t checked it out already, I have a Russ album review out https://musicandlifeblog.com/2020/02/18/album-review-russ-shake-the-snow-globe/ . Russ has now brought out a deluxe version of the album including this new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign. He teased the song earlier this week and I had a feeling it was going to be a good one. Ty Dolla on any song is always a joy to listen to and you will not be disappointed with this track. Ty’s verse is such a pleasure to hear, the harmonies and rifts as perfect as always. I’m gonna have to dive into the extra tracks Russ has blessed us with but for now, have a listen to this song below;

Some other songs I’ve loved:

  • Joyner Lucas Ft Will Smith – Will Remix (2020) – Will killed his verse with that old school flow, his verse content was solid and he was speaking facts! Always great when idols jump on the tracks about them.
  • French Tha Kid – Dream (2020) – Produced by KP Beatz – I recently came across this guy and he’s pretty good. I like the flow switch up on this song. I think he’s got an exciting upcoming career in the works.
  • DaBaby Ft. Roddy Rich – ROCKSTAR (2020) – I’ve had this song on repeat, definitely my favourite from the album. Da Baby shows himself in a different light here for me, his rapping is solid. Beat is crazy too!
Posted in music

#Quarantine&Chill Week 1: Songs and suggestions to get you through the next week…

What a week it’s been, here in the UK!! On the 23rd of March 2020, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for the whole of the UK as a result of the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus Covid-19. This lockdown meant that unless you were a key worker, you had to remain indoors and only leave for exercise once a day or to buy essentials. All of this of course is to help the nation fight against the worldwide pandemic happening.

If like me, you suffer from anxiety, a big change like this could be detrimental to your mental health. I’ve always expressed how music for me is my way of sometimes being able to disconnect from the madness of the world but also to comfort me in times of need. I’m going to try and provide weekly lists of songs I’ve been listening to throughout the week and also provide you with some tips that may help us all through this challenging time. The most important thing I’ve learnt and had to accept from this situation is that it is out of anyones control however there is some light at the end of this. As long as everyone continues doing the part (staying at home and social distancing), we will get through this. Here are some songs I’ve listened to this past week, old and new! I’ve also created a playlist for those working from home to listen to, music that you an have on in the background without getting distracted! I’ll put the link below! Have a nice week everybody and remember we are one week closer to this being over…

Lotto Boyzz Ft. Dappy – +44

I’m a big big fan of Lotto Boyzz and am so glad they are back with some new music. if you aren’t familiar with their music, listen to their previous EP “Afrobbean”. With this first comeback single, they recruit rapper Dappy who fits the tone of the song perfectly. Lotto Ash’s voice is sensational on this track and it’s nice to hear Lotto Lucas back to his best. Dappy showcased his talent to spit some very catchy metaphors. This is a nice song to chill and vibe to especially during the downtime we are all having now. It will have you singing that you could “Never be a plus four, four”!

John Legend Actions

John Legend hosted a small concert from his home and broadcasted live on his instagram last weekend. During this live, he debuted his new single ‘Actions’. Fast forward and the song is officially out!! You will most likely recognise the sample John has used from Dr Dre’s 2000 classic song “The Next Episode” which of course is still a sample from “The Edge”, a song by David McCallum. This version is a nice flip from the song we are used to and it surprisingly works really well with it. This song is one of the first to be released from John Legend’s upcoming album. Have a listen below:

Jadakiss Ft Ty Dolla Sign – (NYB) Need Your Best

This is one of the songs on Jadakiss’ recent album ‘Ignatius’ that he released March 6th. I’m an old school Jadakiss fan and although I haven’t taken in the album properly, this song was one of the ones that stood out for me. Ty Dolla provides the vocals as beautifully as he usually does. Have a listen below:

Skepta Ft. Chip & Young Adz – Waze

This trio have just released their new album ‘Insomnia‘. If I am honest, from the first few listens, this is the only song that caught my attention. I am not really a fan of Young Adz’ sound but Chip was the star on this song! We haven’t heard from Chip in a while so it’s nice to hear him going in on a song again. I also like Skepta on this track but I think he was stronger on the song “Golden Brown“. Have a listen to “Waze” to hear Chip in his glory. Have a listen below:

PARTYNEXTDOOR Ft. Rihanna – BELIEVE IT

PND has just released a new album and although I haven’t taken it in properly, I am so glad to finally hear Rihanna on a track! Would have been nice to have heard her sing more solo on this song but nevertheless her harmonies with PND and her vocals on the chorus were nice to hear. I also would have loved for it to have been a bit longer but it’s a catchy song and nice song to vibe to. Have a listen below:

Manny Norte Ft. 6LACK, Rema, Tion Wayne & Love Renaissance – 4AM

This was not a collaboration I would ever have expected haha! I always like when UK artists bring American artists to feature with them. I feel when it is this way round UK artists very rarely compromise their sound. The UK stands out more and it’s more the US artists keeping up with us. I love Tion Wayne on this song and I think he was very fitting. 6Lack provides the perfect vocals too. Have a listen below;

Young T & Bugsey – Madonna

Young Y & Bugsey are back with an EP called “Plead the Fifth” and this was one of my favourite songs on there. The JAE5 produced song is a nice insight into how the duo can switch their flow. I like this side from them and of course the production is great on this song. I also like the subtle homage to Ma$e’s song ‘What You Want’ with the final verse. Check it out:

Here is my Quarantine Playlist:

Posted in music

Mid Week Update: EP Review: CE – Saint, Vol 1

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a brief review of a project I’ve been recently listening to. The EP is from North West London Singer, rapper and producer CE and was released last week. I’ve previously talked about some his songs before on this blog but I highly recommend this new project from him. The only negative from this project is that I wish there were more than 3 songs on the tape. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on those 3!

Problems

As soon as I heard the first few seconds of the instrumental to this song I felt like I was in a Narcos film or some Spanish show. The introduction of this song really makes me want to salsa . What I loved most about this song is the surprise at how well CE’s rapping and flow compliments the salsa sounding beat. You would not usually associate a slower paced and calm flow on such an upbeat production but it works so well. I recommend taking in this song with a a very loud sound system and one that can handle base.  CE repeatedly sings “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone” and sings “If I made you mine, then you can say I met the one”. Both these lyrics give us the impression CE is quite reserved in his character.  I guarantee this is the song you won’t be able to get out of your head…”I heard you got a problem!!!!!!”.

California

The transition from ‘Problems’ into ‘California’ is perfect when you listen to songs one after another. This song is more upbeat and more base heavy (another one for your sound systems). Following on from him expressing his need for solitude in the previous song, in this song it seems to be that he is addressing someone that he has some complicated history with; “Got me feeling like you never tried to try again”. CE has a good habit of expressing his words clearly but also having their own melodies from them. This is one of those songs that will have you bopping your head to.

Juggin

This is my favourite track from the EP and the content has similar content. Reiterating his point from the first song, CE raps “I don’t really wanna spend my time with anyone”, just in case we forgot! He mentions the US artist Russ in this song and funnily enough they both have similar musical styles. They both have different sounds but both have mastered the ratio of singing and rapping within the melody in their songs. The best lines on this song have to be “& everybody wanna get out of the hood instead of just helping the hood”. Those lines are extremely factual to many people. It is quite common for people who have grown up or lived in unfortunate situations to aspire to leave that area but sometimes also want to forget about it their “hood” when they do. Maybe if more people thought about using their powers or success to help their surroundings they may not feel they need to “escape”.

Overall I would say this EP is really an excellent introduction into the artist CE is. From these 3 songs, you can already tell how versatile he is and how much substance is in his music. The production on all 3 songs is actually top tier. I think there is a song for everyone on this project, even with only 3 tracks. I hope this is the beginning of more music from him and hopefully he releases some visuals to some of these songs! Have a listen to his playlist below to;

Posted in music

“New Music”…What I’ve been listening to…

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! There has been so much music released recently but I thought I’d give you a list of songs I’ve had on repeat, some old and many new Furthermore, I’ve compiled a “Winter Playlist” for everyone, so feel free to have a listen! The link is at the top of the blog.  

Darkoo Ft. One Acen – Gangsta

UK music has been on fire recently and this is one of the hottest records out right now! The song is by UK singer Darkoo featuring fellow UK artist One Acen who seems to do no wrong. This song is extremely catchy and the accompanying dance is very addictive! I have heard a song from Darkoo before (the song with Br3nya) and I really like the tone of her voice, so I hope this song is the start of something big for her. Have a listen below and make sure you check out the video!

Ari Lennox Ft. J Cole – Shea Butter

As I’ve already mentioned, I have recently compiled a playlist for this winter weather, songs that are representative of these cold, cold conditions! This song is one of the entries and a song I’ve been playing a lot recently. I like the tone of Ari’s voice in this title track of her debut album. J Cole has a great featured verse especially with the change of flow when he says “Coconut oil”. Have a listen below;

Tory Lanez Ft T-Pain – Jerry Sprunger

When I first heard the teaser to this song I thought it would 100% work. Of course the original 2005 classic “I’m Sprung” from T-Pain is already legendary but Tory has a habit of remixing songs and giving them his own twist. I even think that this could easily be a part 2 of the original rather than seeing it as a replacement. For me it feels like a teacher (Being T-Pain as he is one of the originators of autotune) and the student (Tory) at work together. This irony reminds me of the famous J Cole lyric whenhe says on “Let Nas Down”; “Long live the idols, may they never be your rival”. This song also serves as the first single from Tory’s latest project “Chixtape 5”. Having listened to the tape, this song is still the main song that stands out for me and has the most replay value. Have a listen below;

Russ – Best on Earth Ft. BIA

If you are a regular on my blog you’d probably know I’m a fan of US artist Russ. This song featuring BIA is his latest hit. I think Russ has a good formula going on, he has a nice singing voice but also has a talent for rapping too. Sometimes it feels as if there are two people on his verses. I am personally looking forward to his upcoming album has he has been going from strength to strength with his released singles. Another great thing about Russ is that he always seems to have the perfect person to feature with for that song. BIA’S flow compliments the beat of this song so perfectly its unreal! Russ is definitely someone I would love to see perform live. Have a listen to the song below;

Krept & Konan – Salaam

UK duo Krept and Konan are back with their second studio album “Revenge is Sweet”. This is the second song from the album and in comparison, to the energy in the first song, this is a more chilled back song. The song for me is quite deep and of course the duo do not disappoint with their wordplay. In one of Konan’s verse he says “All the times I made Abby cus cos she couldn’t count on me” which is of course a reference to the Abacus which is used to help people count. I also like how Krept and Konan use their religion and faith on this song with the chorus; “Assalamualaikum akhi, pray for a brudda cah they hating on me”. The “Assalamualaikum” is a greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you”. Throughout the song they ask for prayer due to the fact people are not as genuine as we may think. They both also touch on the deaths of close ones in the song. I think this is one of my favourites from the album without a doubt.

Hitmaka Ft. Young Ma, Dreezy, Mualatto, DreamDoll & Chinese Kitty – Thot Box (Remix)

Wow! This all female remix is possibly one of the best remixes to a song to come out this year. I love the female unity in this song but the best thing is every single artist maintains the high level. I also liked the original with Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and Tyga. For this all female ensemble, my favourite verses were from Chinese Kitty and Dream Doll. Although the line from Dreezy; “Got ten-star credit, my pictures don’t need no editing” has been in my head ever since. Have a listen to the song below.

J Hus – Must Be

The instruments on this song are possibly the best arrangement I’ve heard on a UK rap song this year. UK rapper J Hus and the genius producer that is JAE5 team up for yet again another banger. I’ve said before that J Hus has the ability to provide a song that you will 100% be quoting for the next few weeks. This song will for sure be making you think about “opps”that you may not even have! I can’t get over the strings in this song too, I could easily listen to the instrumental version of this song on repeat.

Young T & Bugsey Ft. Headie One – Don’t Rush

I don’t think these two are capable of ever releasing a bad song! This is another hit from the UK duo, this time featuring UK rapper Headie One. I like the wordplay from the duo, their flow is also very unique and the two always play off each other so well. Whatever formula these two have, they should definitely keep at it because it sure is winning one.. Check out the song below;

Krept & Konan – Keep Talking Ft. Stormzy & Cadet

Another entry from Krept and Konan, this time with a song featuring two other UK rappers; South London’s finest Stormzy and the late great Cadet. When I saw the tracklist for this song I knew I would love it. I’m a fan of Stormzy but even I didn’t realise how crazy his verse would be. Stormzy sounded fed up which for me is the best version of Stormzy. Look at some of his freestyles where he has similar emotions or even when he’s on the rare occasion not as humble as usual. (Listen to “Scary” or even “One Take”). One of his lines in this song is “I’m from the dirty South, can’t clean the boy” and it is the way he delivers the bar that gets me. He also raps “Man can’t talk about whips or p’s, Got a S class sitting there covered in bird shit” just reminding us he is the guy! I wanted his verse to keep going! I read that the verse from Cadet was not originally recorded for this song but they managed to make it fit and I’m glad we get to hear a song with all of them on it as they were all family or friends. I feel each artist brought out the best in the other. The back to back between them was exciting to hear and I can only imagine what that would be like to listen to live. Once again R.I.P Cadet! Cadet!

Also; Check out:

Pattern Gang (including Octavian) – Pattern Chanel

Ari Lennox Ft. J.I.D – Broke –(Whew!! J.I.D smashed his verse!!!!!)

Posted in music

Mid Week Update…New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hello everyone! It’s that time of week where I bombard you all with a list of what I’ve been listening to the past week! It’s been a while since I have updated you, have a look below of all the music that’s been on rotation.!

Stormzy – Wiley Flow

There has been a lot of noise and controversy in the UK grime scene surrounding Wiley. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what started Wiley’s frustration. With this track Stormzy paves homage to one of the grime pioneers Wiley. The beginning of the song starts with a snippet of a clip where Wiley refers to the fact that everyone else in the scene are his “youngers”. Stormzy uses this to flip and relate to his song by referring to his own success. I feel that this is the Stormzy I prefer in comparison to his more commercial songs like “Vossi Bop”. Stormzy when he is raw for me is when he’s at his best, listen to his freestyles like “Standard” and “Scary” for examples.

Shaybo – Ya Dun Know

This song has blown up thanks to the power of the internet. I came across the song and video on twitter and have been playing the song ever since! I love the fact there are more female rappers coming up and even better them being British. There are a few really good British rappers in comparison to the men. Shaybo brings a uniqueness to her rapping as she spits in the Yoruba dialect too in this song. Yoruba is one of the many languages spoken in Nigeria and it is great she is able to incorporate both her British and Nigerian identity in the song. For those that aren’t aware, “Ya Dun Know” is a common slang used a lot in London and is a term usually used when someone is bigging something up. The accompanying video is good too, simple and fitting to the song. I also liked how she referenced her old video where she was much younger so we could see the growth in her music.

Mahalia Ft. Ella Mai – What You Did

I’m a big fan of this collaboration, women are really taking centre stage in all genres nowadays, rap and r&b are just examples. In this song we hear samples from Cam’ron and Juelz Santana’s hit song “Oh Boy” as well as Norman Whitfield’s “I’m Going Down”. The song exudes female solidarity in the face of a lover ho has wronged them. One of the lyrics that stand out for me are from Ella Mai’s verse where she sings “Oh, it’s funny how right when I let my guard down you play around”, I’m sure many women can relate to this line. I like in the chorus that they flip the scenario; ‘Cause I would not expect someone to stay around If I let them down, oh” insinuating that if they had wronged their lover they would expect them to be reacting in the exact same way. I hope this is the first of more collaborations between this two, their singing styles compliment each other very well.

Myers – Common Kid

I’m sure everyone is now aware of the Netflix series “Top Boy” that was released on the 13th of September. The original soundtrack has been released and while the album is great and filled with the finest UK talent, there was 1 song I feel should have been on there. While watching the series, this song in particular stood out to me. I had to shazam the song as I had no idea who was rapping. Since discovering, I have had this song on repeat. The song touches on the gritty street life which evidently was very relevant for the episode. Have a listen below; ( Also check out Bugzy Malone – Die By The Gun)

Normani – Motivation

“I’ma break you off, let me be your motivation” is what I’ve been singing since I heard this song. Normani who is famous for being a apart of the group ‘Fifth Harmony’ finally spreads her solo wings with this debut single. I have a feeling she is one to watch. The song is great and the video is absolutely mind blowing. Her talent spreads from vocals to dancing and it is clear she is finally showing the world her talents. I am here for any success she has in the future!!!

Dave – Professor X

This is one of the standout tracks on the Top Boy soundtrack for me. Dave outdoes himself with his witty wordplay in this song. I loved the Terminator “Not around no more” reference as that fir perfectly with the line he was spitting. I could be here all day picking out the talent behind some of the bars in this song. Have a listen below;

Gambimi – Picture

UK artist Gambimi caused a storm last week with a video on his Instagram that went viral showing him pleading a lover to forgive him for his wrongdoing. All of this was the lead up to the release of this single. The famous words “Can we fix, can we blend, can we contour” are possibly what stand out in the whole song. Personally I have been listening to Gambimi’s music for a while. He used to release songs regularly on SoundCloud. I feel his voice is a mixture of Trey Songz and UK singer Angel. A soothing R&B sound with the right kind of rifts and harmonies. Have a listen below;

Quality Control Ft. City Girls, Stefflon Don, Renni Rucci & Mustard – Like That

Quality Control have released a new album entitled; Quality Control: Control the Streets Volume 2. One of the things I like about QC as a label is their appreciation and support of female rappers. This song features their female Queens City Girls as well as new signee UK rapper Stefflon Don. We also are treated with an addition from Renni Rucci and Mustard.

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Why I think Stormzy headlining Glastonbury is a huge step forward for Black culture in the UK…

It’s crazy to think that in 2019, we are still saying “first black” but any progress is appreciated.

On the 15th of November 2018, it was announced that Stormzy would be headlining Glastonbury 2019. Glastonbury, being the largest greenfield festival in the WORLD attended by around 175,000 people meant that this was a huge deal. Fast forward to Friday 28th of June 2019 when Stormzy takes to the stage. Stormzy is the first Black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury in its 48 year reign. If that wasn’t enough of a record to break he is also at 25 years old, the second youngest solo act to ever headline Glastonbury, the youngest being a 24-year-old David Bowie in 1971. However, Stormzy is used to being the record breaker throughout his career. He was the first grime MC to have a debut album go number 1 in the UK charts and has since had 5 UK top 10s. At a time where a lot of genres of music including rap or grime are blamed for the violence in London, I am glad the Glastonbury organisers gave Stormzy the opportunity to shine.

His stardom may seem random and quick to some but he has definitely been putting in the work from very early on. As a big fan of Stormzy, I have watched him grow from the beginning when he was releasing his videos and unique freestyles on his YouTube channel, which has just recently surpassed 1 million subscribers! . On top of his music, Stormzy is a voice for the youth in regards to saying and speaking on things that are happening in our society. During the Grenfell Fire, he was one of the key people rightly criticizing the government’s approach to the disaster. Stormzy is never afraid to get political in his music or performances and that is something to be admired.

In addition, he has collaborated with Penguin and started a Publishing company called #Merky Books. #Merky Books publishes around two to three books a year and is an outlet for a generation of voices. He holds initiatives for young writers to win competitions and a paid internship. Most recently, they have released “Taking Up Space…The Black Girl’s manifesto for Change” written by Black Cambridge graduates Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi. Stormzy mentions in his latest song ‘Crown’; “I done a scholarship for the kids, they said it’s racist, that’s not anti-white, it’s pro-black”. Stormzy is unapologetically black and is always finding a way to uplift and support his people despite the constant criticism. Stormzy also paved the way for a lot of Black British artists to see how possible it was to chart or to have commercial backing without having to feel the need to dilute themselves.

Knowing all this about Stormzy and having had the privilege of seeing him perform live at his sold out show in the past, I knew this Glastonbury performance was not going to disappoint and I wasn’t wrong. Filled with the most energy I have ever seen him have, his set consisted of his classic songs, a huge choir and backing singers, a very cute little girl with the sass to light up the world, dancers, bikers and so much more. One of my favourite parts of the performance was when Raleigh Ritchie came out and Stormzy had a little piece dedicated to the fact in the ballet world, black people no longer have to stain their shoes to have them in their skin colour as there are now shoes made for our skin colours.

We can’t forget the amazing duet with Chris Martin where they sang ‘Blinded By Your Grace Pt.1’ on the piano. Surely that iconic moment will go down in history. Stormzy always pays homage to those before him through his songs and this time was no different. He brought out two of the hottest young rappers in the UK at the moment, Fredo and Dave, who then performed their hit number 1 song “Funky Friday”. Stormzy later on gave a shout out to all the UK rappers before him and coming up after him. I think the key to the success of Stormzy besides his hard work is the fact he always remembers those before him and those after him. Despite his huge success and despite his co signs from living legends like Jay Z or Ed Sheeran, he never lets that overwhelm him.

Stormzy demonstrates to young black people that you can be yourself and still have people respect you. His confidence is a major lesson that we no longer have to keep quiet and hide away our talent in order to “fit in” or “not stand out”. It is great to see young Black kids growing up with artists like Stormzy doing so well in order to show them anything is possible. We should be at the stage in society where your skin colour should not be holding you back. His message has always been the same and he always gives glory to God. How on earth can you dislike someone like him? To me and to so many others, Stormzy is the chosen one. We are forever thankful that someone like him is representing the young black people. May his success forever reign and we will forever thank him for kicking down the doors for the ones after him.

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#ThrowbackThursday Old vibes….

Another week nearly done! Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days but for now it’s time for #ThrowbackThursday. Here are 3 songs that will have you reminiscing about the past.

Mario – How Do I Breathe (2007)

I’m a big fan of Mario and his older music. I’ve previously talked about his hit album “Turning Point”. This particular song is the first single released from his third studio album “Go” (2007) Mario’s voice is sensational in this song as he hits the high notes throughout. The song gives us the impression he has just gone through a breakup and is struggling to adjust to his life without his woman in it. I liked the pre chorus where he sounds like he is playing two people. He also plays the role of main singer and backup singer in the same verse. Overall this song is reminiscent of old school R&B and honestly the high notes are so beautiful to hear. Have a listen below!

Tion Wayne Ft Afro B – Bae (2015)

“Throw away your man he’s dispersable” is how this song starts and what a line! UK rapper Tion Wayne uses his cheekiness and sauce to deliver a bar! At the time of this release Afro B was getting more recognition for songs as well as his mixes. Fast forward to now and he has one of the biggest songs and Tion Wayne is also flourishing and shining. For me the harmonies from Afro B mixed with Tion’s pronunciation of certain words make this song unforgettable. Have a listen below;

Plies Ft Ne-Yo – Bust it Baby Pt 2 (2008)

I used to love this song when it first came out. At the time, I remember at the time, the video debuted on the BET show 106 and Park and stayed on the countdown for over a month! As a fan of Ne-Yo, I think his contribution to the song made it a hit. His verse for me was the best part of the song as it slowed it down a bit in contrast to Plies’ active style of rapping. The song is definitely not for those under the age of 16, that is for sure! Have a listen below;

Jhene Aiko Ft Kurupt – Never Call Me (2017)

This is one of those songs that if you know, you know! The song is based on Jhene’s broken relationship with her ex-husband. I’m assuming due to the title, miscommunication was a major factor in the breakup. The song also contains a snippet from American rapper, actor and former Executive Vice President of Death Row Records, Kurupt, who is also a close friend of Jhene and gave her advice while she was going through the breakup. In the song she addresses the fact that they both knew they had nothing in common “We never shared anything but the drugs, we were both numb, never had anything real between us” which is quite a sad revelation. Another fact is that Jhene actually has two video versions for this song. One is the Slauson version which explores her African American roots and upbringing. Slauson is the area in America she grew up in and the video features the late Nipsey Hussle who of course is the King of Slauson. The second video focuses more on her Asian side as she dresses up. Have a listen below;