This is a fun block for me to write about. There is a mix of people I have listened to and some great new bands that I never heard of before. Also, this is a hip hop heavy block, so it will be great! Let’s go:
15. Takeoff and Quavo: Hotel Lobby
The tragic and emotionally jarring sudden death of Takeoff not only hit the hip hop world, but was a shock to all music lovers. Takeoff was an extremely talented artist who will be missed. Before his death he recorded an album with his uncle Quavo, which will stand as his final work. This track features his classic southern trap, which he and the rest of the Migos elevated to superstardom over the past years. The groove combined with sharp delivery makes Hotel Lobby a must listen.
14. JID ft. 21 Savage: Surround Sound
This track from JID will grab you within the first bar. It kicks off with a 60s / 70s woman soul sample over some southern trap. His vocal has an interesting delivery with a bit of a southern twang, which makes it immediately compelling. This soulful flow over trap is an excellent pairing with JID and 21 Savage, but there’s a twist. At about 2:30 the track abruptly shifts to something out of Pusha T’s wheelhouse and the lazy soul groove has vanished. The talent to blend these two hip hop genres within the same track successfully is why JID is one of the hottest rappers out there.
13. Saba: Fearmonger
Saba is the other side of JID’s soulful trap, which is a lush mixture of soul and jazz over some classic 4/4 beats. Fearmonger will give you hints of Tribe Called Quest of Digable Planets, but the interesting aspect of the track is the juxtaposition between the lyrics and the music. Amongst thie upbeat jazz jam full of bass, horns and keyboards Saba raps about the fear of death, poverty and losing his livelihood. It’s like it is too much to bear and the happy music is an attempt to distract himself from these realities and suffering. It is an interesting artistic choice that works really well. Plus the record has Krazie Bone on a track, which I am here for.
12. The Mountain Goats: First Blood
I have not sat down and listened to a Mountain Goats track in some time and it was great to hear John Darinelle’s distinctive vocal over some fuzzy indie guitar. The track itself is about the ups and downs of life combined with the distortions we tell ourselves about the world, “John Rambo never went to Vietnam.” This is a short and punchy track that is a good listen and will have you fondly reflecting on one of indie’s most influential bands.
11. Black Sherif: Kwaku the Traveller
Black Sherif is a hip hop artist from Ghana who brings a mix of hip hop, reggae, spirituality and Afrobeat to his work. I tell you one thing, he does not hold back. His vocal brings an unbridled passion and power that instantly connects with you. Kwaku the Traveller has a bit of a western vibe to it, in that the track is about a man who made some mistakes in his life, but he is an honourable man who will redeem himself. Kwaku is traveling the land and righting wrongs along the way. This is a powerful song you can’t help but be pulled into its gravitational force.
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