I will be completely honest. I did not drink the Kool Aid and join the masses chanting Kenrick Lamar until January of this year. The bright and shining star at Aftermath, who decided the release date for good kid, m.A.A.d city should fall on October 22nd 2012, is genius! Know that Kendrick Lamar will clean up at all the award shows come 2014. Now with a hot video for single “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” arguably one of the hottest tracks on the album, Lamar is set to really dominate as the new West Coast rapper to make change. Continuing from the “Poetic Justice” premise, they attend the funeral of the young woman who got shot, with comedian/actor Mike Epps playing the alcoholic Pastor. Check it out below.
This is the first video (well actually, the second, if we count the teaser video shot in Copenhagen last summer) for the track “The Man.” Directed by Robin Brunson of Hextatic, who is known for creating trippy audiovisuals. What’s so lovely to watch about this video is how it blends between black and white to colour at the poignant points of the song, symbolising freedom, happiness and joy as Omar takes a walk with his family, including his twin daughters at the seaside. We simply cannot wait to hear Omar‘s new album The Man in its entirety. In the meantime, the single, which features remixes from Shafiq Husayn and Maddslinki (Zed Bias), and a reworking of Omar’s first his, “There’s Nothing Like This” featuring legendary bassist, Pino Palladino is available on iTunes.
The first we heard of UK singer Szjerdene (pronounced JhurDEEN) was with Dutch singer Mar, on a duet for his Mar Variations on a track called “Avril 14th,” a collaboration that probably would not have happened if Szjedene hadn’t reached out to Robin Hannibal (Quadron) and started to collaborate. Since then, she has been etching her name in stone, releasing her debut EP, Patchwork earlier this year, and began touring as the featured vocalist on Bonobo‘s North Borderstour last month. Now with the first visual installment for “Go,” directed by Hesdy Lonwijk in collaboration with Amsterdam’s Fonds voor de Kunst, Fat Fred’s Film company and dancers from the Het Nationale Ballet, they have created something truly breathtaking; check it out below.
It’s a Tyler, the Creator week! Wolf is definitely a journey into the life of a brat, someone who really does not give a f***! Can we call Tyler a shock jock or a rap force to be reckoned with? Wolf, his third solo release brings the return his usual cast of characters — his inner therapist Dr. T. C. (Tyler’s Conscience) and his partner Sam, and the alter ego Wolf Haley. While still touching on themes of adolescence and a disdain for the world about him, Wolfshows Tyler tackling subjects that we can identify with, especially on track “Answer,” where he speaks of a relationship with an absentee father, an estranged relationship with a grandmother and speaks with such realism, you actually emphase with him. Laced with provocative language, a production that takes us back to classic underground hip hop, and interesting, yet well matched collaborators (Stereolab singer Lætitia Sadier, Coco of Quadron, Erykah Badu, Pharrell Williams, and his Odd Future fam). Wolf is a fun and cohesive listen, even when you get beyond the unnecessary and excessive use of homophobic language, it’s just packaged as Tyler. Check out to trippy video for “IFHY” featuring Pharrell Williams.
Two weeks ago, Tricky announced the release of his new album False Idols and shared the first single “Nothing’s Changed” as a free download, showing the world that he has not changed, and only gotten better. Now with the first visual piece from the album, a song called “Does It” featuring Francesca Belmonte,Tricky‘s austere recital of lyrics with war footage filtered to give the subjects a cold and distorted effect provides a chilling vibe. We’re digging it. Check it out below.
Last November at a Low End Theory event, Flying Lotus unmasked his alias, Captain Murphy and the released album Duality, showing that the scope of his work is not limited to experimental electronic music, and his foundation lies within hip hop. Duality used sample from movies, particularly Dark Knight. Here with the first video to accompany a track, ”The Killing Joke,” if anything, is trippy and haunting, just as his alter-ego Captain Murphy. Check it out below.
One thing that Alice Smith has proven — one can certainly overrule the sophomore album curse! Always leaning toward non-categorization with her choices in music and vocal styling, Smith has grown tremendously since being a chanteuse throughout New York City and her debut For Lovers Dreamers & Me, which received much critical acclaim. Now with She, Smith digs a lot deeper in revealing her true vocal abilities on these recordings. When the short video of her doing a cover of Cee-Lo Green‘s “Fool For You” hit the net early last year, it was clear she was not playing any games. Though there are a few tracks that musically fail to match Smith’s vocals, the songs that do are pure beauty in your ears. She‘s overall theme is liberating, of a woman unafraid to walk from or to a relationship. On “The One“ she sings, “I’m not the one, don’t play me son, don’t you play, don’t you play.” On “Another Love” she sings, “There’s nothing here to fight for baby, be on your way.” Always a strong songwriter and the strength on She comes when Smith is not creating a new wheel, but cruising along letting her voice lead the way.
George Duke was born in San Rafael, California and raised in a historically black neighborhood Marin City. Influenced at an early age by artists such as Duke Ellington, Les McCann, Cal Tjader, he also takes influence from his local Baptist church, which has given him a unique style not often duplicated in jazz or funk. Studying the trombone, contrabass, and the piano, Duke has played and/or produced music with Miles Davis, Al Jareau, Frank Zappa, Stanley Clarke, and Jean-Luc Ponty. Duke is still paying today and to date has recorded over 30 solo LPs.
“Dukey Stick” is taken from George Dukes 1978 LP Don’t Let Go, released on the Epic. The track features Duke himself on keys, Josie James (vocals), Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, vocals), Charles Icarus Johnson (guitar), Byron Miller (bass), Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (drums), and a young Sheila E. (vocals, percussion).
I recall first hearing a sample from “Dukey Stick” by one of the Bay Area’s first rap groups, 415 and later by Oakland’s Richie Rich. What I love about this song and the LP is the camaraderie and play on the record. Oftentimes I enjoy the live performance of a song more than the polished studio version because the live is always so much more loose and free. You can tell the musicians are playing together, vibing off of each other and the music benefits greatly from this experience. As Duke says at the beginning of the video below, “I chose these particular musicians because they are as strong me, on their instrument. But you’ve got to get them to a point of where they feel very loose.” The mean bass loop is like the perfect road for the piano, drums, and guitar to stroll perfectly over. Then the lyrics and playfulness of the vocals provide so many directions you can take this track in. Check out this video of the band recording the song and the album version.
“Dukey Stick” by George Duke
It’s always refreshing to hear about artists who use their platform to inspire. UK based, Nigerian rapper BREIS (Brother Reaching Each Inner Soul) is doing just that. “Strictly,” featuring the vocals of UK artist Eska (Zero 7, Matthew Herbert and The Cinematic Orchestra) that appeared on his The Brilliant EP and will be featured on the audio edition of his book, Brilliant Rappers Educate Intelligent Students, UK’s first interactive hip-hop book of rhymes. The video takes us to his native land Nigeria, in a mode to make you feel good.
It is clear from BREIS‘s work that his mission is to create conscious music to influence his generation and the next, in a medley sound of cultures – from West Africa, Yoruba, West Indian, British, to US influences of hip hop to jazz. But more importantly, to have the message lift and inspire.
From the publication of his book, BREIS was invited to perform a TEDxYouth talk – “Think Big vs. Fear of Failure,” a direct extension to his own company Student of Life, a hip hop education company that conducts workshops across the UK in schools. Check out “Strictly” below and get yourself acquainted with this talent.
Seravince is the new musical venture of Dutch native, Vincent Helbers (aka Flowriders) called Hear to See. The sounds are smooth and reminiscent of a time in music when it was all about instrumentalization. In fact, Helbers states, “All the basic tracks – piano, drums, bass – where recorded straight to analogue tape. One take. No editing. I wanted to keep that rawness in the sound. What some might describe as ‘organic.’” Hear to See does exactly that, by going back to a 70s textual layering of sounds with sophistication. With the help of drummer Richard Spaven (Jose James, Flying Lotus, Robert Mitchell 3io, Guru) and vocals from Sharlene Hector (Basement Jaxx, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark de Clive Lowe) and Renee Neufville (Zhane, RH Factor), Hear to See is a gorgeous mixture of tracks skirting on the nu jazz, broken beat that is slowing on the rise.
Check out the video for the second single from the album, “Perfect Stranger” featuring Renee Neufville on vocals as two dancers do a perfectly strange combative dance that leads them into a — friendship. Hear to See is available for purchase on the newly developed label, Moovmnt Records. Get it now!!
Late in posting the new video by Brooklyn-based indi band, Meridian for their new single, “Truth.” The video for “Truth” neatly weaves clips from the controversial South African film The Gods Must Be Crazy, a film about the first interactions of an African tribe and western civilisation. We are subverted to a particular time and space as voyeurs while the lyrics hark on the truth of us being in control of our destiny. As stated before after listening to their debut single “Magic,” their retro-80s synth sound is expansive, and with the video for “Truth” as the backdrop is all the more reflective. Directed by William Murray and conceptualized by Meridian (Yohimbe Sampson and Bradley Valentin).
Check it out below!
British rapper Ty is one of those artists who has an uncanny ability to make you stop and pay attention to every word spoken. His new single on Tru Thoughts Records, “Like You Never,” is a reflective and somewhat melancholic, as it speaks to youth, music’s evolution from being distinct and unique to being empty, where true creativity is lost and diluted. In the track, Ty says that he’s not wanting to bring 90s rap back, we know that time has passed, but he (we) do yearn for more. ”Like You Never“ will appear on the “Kick Snare & An Idea” digital single, scheduled to release in April, and will be the first of two single releases for Ty on Tru Thoughts - the label that is home to Mark de Clive-Lowe, Zed Bias, Rodney P, and Alice Russell. Check out the video below, directed and shot by Adam Rogers and Bunny Bread in Aruba while working on a philanthropic youth project with Art Rules Aruba.
On first listen of Bilal‘s “Back to Love” waves of nostalgia take over, so it’s no surprise that the video representation of the song manages to evoke good feelings. Playing a relationship therapist, Bilal brings his patients, and his own relationship right back to love. Check it out.
A Love Surreal, is scheduled to release February 13th — right in time for Valentine’s Day.
Tokyo Dawn Records, Canadian singer and artist AMALIA is about to take off!!! Her debut album Art Slave was released last year, a funky, raw collection of tracks to highlight AMALIA‘s incredible vocal range. The woman doesn’t sing; she SANGS! Art Slave showed her soulful range, where she often unleashes her inner Chaka Khan. Now with her second album, Makings Of, AMALIA opens the pandoras box and collaborates with a wide spectrum of producers from Atjazz, Opolopo, SoulParlor, B. Bravo + Teeko, to name a few. The debut single “Bodysnatcher,” the collaboration between Blaktroniks takes AMALIA on a more electronic, experimental ride, as her coil around the arrangement. The video, directed by Max Rangner transforms AMALIA into a some kind of parasitic creature that turns man into a her slave. It’s sexy. It’s haunting. And AMALIA is stellar. Looking forward to Making Of, which is scheduled to release January 14th. Check out the video below!
“My Baby’s Got it” is the new video from Toronto based singer and musician Maylee Todd. I saw her name recently via Tall Black Guy, when he remixed “Hieroglyphics,” an incredible song released earlier this year. One of the things I love most about this video is that she doesn’t take herself seriously. All involved from musicians, friends, crew, dancers (peep awesome dancer/visual artist Fly Lady Di early in the video) simply had fun with it! The video is directed by Reynard Li. We’ve heard a few singles from her and featuring her band Pegwee Power, let’s hope a new album is on the way. Check out the video below.
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