2018

Audio: Victory, “Open Your Eyes”

by Shantel Pass | published: May 12, 2018

Victory - Open Your Eyes

Victory is back with a new vibe that remains true to the enchantingly mesmerizing sound that introduced us to the singer on “Believe in Love.” A charming plea to its muse, “Open Your Eyes” is a midtempo ballad over Hip Hop percussions perfectly ornamented by the singer’s richly soulful tone. Listen to Victory’s latest love message below.

2018

Audio: The Internet, “Roll (Burbank Funk)” [KAYTRANADA Remix]

by Shantel Pass | published: May 11, 2018

The Internet

With their Ego Death follow up in the works, The Internet dropped their latest single titled “Roll (Burbank Funk)” – an undebatable contender for this year’s song of the summer – and it’s accompanying visual two weeks ago. Today, the single gets a KAYTRANADA flip which has also earned a top spot in my personal “Sunroof Back” playlist. 

Funk collides with the best of Electronic elements while Syd & Steve add new touches in the form of some very clean vocal reworkings. This isn’t your average recycled song atop an alternate beat. It’s a true example of what remixes were created for and it’ll have you listening to your heart all summer ‘18. Listen to the KAYTRANADA remix of The Internet’s “Roll (Burbank Funk)” below. 

2018

Audio: Kelsey Lu, “Shades of Blue”

by Shantel Pass | published: Apr 18, 2018

Kelsey Lu

If you were anywhere near audible distance of Afropunk (2016) during Kelsey Lu‘s performance, chances are you were spellbound and held hostage by the evocative frequency of her voice. The singer and cellist’s first release since 2016’s Church EP is a heart-stopping ballad titled “Shades of Blue.” Burdened with heavy emotion, her lyrics find the perfect contrast in the track’s airy production.

Kelsey Lu has been quoted as saying the song’s muse was a low point in her life during which she squatted in a New Jersey factory and lost control “musically, financially, romantically and, really, soulfully“. She continued, “For me, [‘Shades of Blue’] was a glimpse of hopefulness and peace from within that depression.” Listen to “Shades of Blue” below.

2018

Audio: Smino, “Home Invaders” feat. Bari

by Shantel Pass | published: Apr 17, 2018

Smino 2

Smino‘s newest cut “Home Invaders” has arrived and features fellow St. Louis rapper Bari. The Phoelix-produced single gives Smino’s signature smooth and melodic flow a more aggressive grit. Alternating cadences, the Zero Fatigue emcee sonically mimics the unpredictable unfolding of an actual home invasion. And Bari’s verse leaves little to be desired with deft punchlines as a fitting assist to the blkswn‘s undeniable consistency. Listen to the guys tag team the midwest’s latest heater below.

2018

Audio: Janelle Monae, “I Like That”

by Shantel Pass | published: Apr 16, 2018

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With just eleven days left on the countdown to Janelle Monae‘s Dirty Computer release, this week’s #MusicMonday brings us the project’s fourth single “I Like That.” A mid-tempo track turns the singer/actress/activists proud self-awareness into an affirming jam that relates on a variety of levels. Our Kansas City-born femme fatale takes a break from reading the patriarchy and humbling hypermasculinity to acknowledge the quirks and paradoxes of her own personhood and tunefully relishes in her uniqueness. “I’m always left of center and that’s right where I belong/ I’m the random minor note you hear in major songs/ And I like that/ I don’t really give a fuck if I was just the only one…,” she sings.

Before the number ends, Janelle makes way for a reflective verse on some of the rejections and embarrassments of her childhood, teen and young adult years showing that early peculiarity is fertile ground for future greatness. “I Like That” will definitely make you dance, and it may even boost your confidence. Listen below.

2018

Audio: Keith Tutt II, “Go”

by Shantel Pass | published: Apr 05, 2018

Keith Tutt II

Whether you identify as empathic or not, there’s no doubt that much of the world’s burdened energy has had you in jaded disarray one way or the other. And with much of our day to day feeling like a tug of war between self and collective conscious, a common theme among all artists, creatives and general go-getters has been doubt and/or a little fear. Emerging artist Keith Tutt II has an uplifting message to fumigate your mind and heart so that it’s clear of all the counterproductive thoughts and feelings that may be holding you back. Titled “Go,” the dreamy number urges its listener to “break free and live” in the possibilities conceived by whatever the heart desires.

This song explores the sometimes overwhelming distance fear puts between our dreams and our action,” the multi-instrumentalist and composer said of debut new single. He continued, “Music is powerful. I believe it’s the greatest connector humans have, and I’m mindful of that when creating. It single handedly blurs lines that divide – it’s my duty to use it to uplift.

Listen to Keith Tutt II’s “Go” below.

2018

Audio: India Shawn, “Water Me” Feat. Alex Isley and Ré Lxuise

by Shantel Pass | published: Mar 27, 2018

India Shawn

If you follow India Shawn’s socials, you’re probably checking in regularly to make sure you haven’t missed the release of that new project she’s been hard at work on. And for those of us with Outer Limits (and Origin for that matter) still in frequent rotation, there’s a new cut to cue up after “Galaxies” in your playlists. “Water Me” returns the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter to the pulp of mellow yet consistently supernal harmonies that incessantly trickle from the fruit of her raspy tone. Celestial songstress Alex Isley and ‘90s-baby crooner Ré Lxuise join the lyrically humble surrender with matching pleas to reconcile issues with a lover atop the track’s spacey, rhythmic synth chorus.

“Water Me” is sentimentally mature and warm like whiskey by candlelight. Listen to India, Alex and Ré Lxuise revive “beggin’ & pleadin’” R&B with feminine grace below.

2018

Audio: Anderson .Paak, “‘Til It’s Over”

by Makeda Sandford | published: Mar 06, 2018

Anderson .Paak
It’s been quite a while since soulful party-starter Anderson .Paak graced us with solo work. Since 2016, the drum-playing R&B singer has been grinding by way of features (such as making appearances on songs for Talib Kweli, Rapsody and others), touring and his joint effort with studio ace Knxwledge, NxWorries. Now, we get the full version of .Paak’s latest single which was first heard in a new Apple ad featuring FKA Twigs and directed by Spike Jonze.

“‘Til It’s Over” sets a perfect scene for the twisting and warping of the innovative, dance heavy visual perfectly but the real draw is in how this single intertwines a flowy electronic beat underneath a more solemn .Paak. It’s the best of his past sound with a tinge of grown and sexy. The California native is gearing up to release a new album later this year with his band, The Free Nationals. Until then, you can listen to “‘Til It’s Over” via Apple Music below.

2018

Audio: Sade, “Flower of The Universe” (Prod. by No I.D.)

by Shantel Pass | published: Mar 06, 2018

Sade

What a time? Elusive Soul legend Sade’s first musical release in seven years arrives today and, not that we ever thought she did but, she definitely hasn’t lost it. The No I.D.-produced “Flower of the Universe” is a slow burning number that rings true to the purity of the singer’s sonic essence with marching percussions and mellow, Spanish-influenced guitar. “Flower of the Universe” is set to appear on Ava DuVernay’s Disney film A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack.

Ava shared the track via Twitter stating, “A late-night treat for all you Flowers of the Universe. My thanks to No I.D. And thank you to Sade. You are a queen and a visionary and we love you.”

The A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack, which also features music from Chloe x Halle, Kehlani, DJ Khaled and more, and film officially release on March 9th.

2018

Audio: Taylor Bennett, “Minimum Wage”

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 26, 2018

Taylor Bennett

Chicago native Taylor Bennett is back with his first offering of the year. The colorful number, titled “Minimum Wage,” finds the rapper shamelessly refusing to accept anything less than the best. Sunshiney production illuminates Bennett’s bouncy flow where he insists on real deal compensation (benefits too) for his far from mediocre output. Following last year’s The Restoration of an American Idol, 22-year-old Bennett is preparing to set out on a tour of the same name with a North American leg beginning today, February 26th in D.C. and a European leg kicking off in Zurich, Switzerland on April 9th.

Listen to “Minimum Wage” and view The Restoration of an American Idol Tour flyers below. Visit Taylor Bennett’s official site for ticket info and additional details.

Taylor Bennett Tour US

Taylor Bennett Tour EU

2018

Audio: Lion Babe, “Honey Dew”

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 17, 2018

LionBabe

Lion Babe is back with a new single titled “Honey Dew” following their December release of “Rockets.” This mellow number finds vocalist Jillian sweetly cooing metaphoric lyrics over dusty piano and off-kilter percussion-centered production. The Valentine’s Day release is perfect for your weekend playlist, especially if your trying to keep the sultry, loving energy of “love day” going. Listen below.

2018

Audio: Jean Deaux, “Due To Me”

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 14, 2018

Jean Deaux

Multi-talented Chicago-native Jean Deaux has released her latest single “Due To Me.” The mid-tempo number is a seductive jam where the notable, metaphoric lyric-building we know and lover her for sentiently reminds of the highs of sweet, intentional lust. “When kingdom come lil baby, still want it baby, I just want love to set us free,” Jean mellifluously expresses. Listen to the Lanre-produced “Due To Me” below.

Photography by Troi Warren

2018

Audio: Dawn Richard, “Waves”

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 08, 2018

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Whenever Dawn Richard blesses the airwaves with something new we can’t help but rush to our devices to support. The New Orleans bred singer/songwriter has returned with an anthem for the overlooked lovers and hardworking underdogs. “Imma have to come from off the bench,” she sings straightforwardly in the track’s opening line. The first verse finds Dawn calling her lover’s wandering eye to the attention of her hand in his life’s upgrade while verse two sets the record straight for deserving aspirers who feel unworthy.

Vibrant production, a Destiny’s Child melody and Richard’s flawless vocals come together for everything you need to ride your own “Waves” in 2018. Listen below.

2018

Audio: The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar, “Pray For Me”

by Asia Burris | published: Feb 02, 2018

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After sharing the official track list for the soundtrack to the upcoming and highly anticipated Black Panther feature film, Kendrick Lamar taps The Weeknd to collaborate on “Pray For Me.” Produced by Sounwave, CuBeatz, Cardo and Matt Schaeffer, “Pray For Me,” is an upbeat track that fits perfectly with The Weeknd’s “Starboy”-esque soundscapes paired with a verse from K Dot.

Along with The Weeknd, the Kendrick Lamar produced soundtrack is set to feature the likes of his TDE-mates ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and SZA along with James Blake, Vince Staples, Future, and many more. The Black Panther soundtrack debuts on February 9th. Listen to “Pray For Me” below.

2018

Audio: Madison McFerrin, “Insane”

by Asia Burris | published: Feb 02, 2018

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After some time, Madison McFerrin, soul singer-songwriter and daughter of jazz legend Bobby McFerrin, returns ahead of the release of her upcoming acapella R&B EP, Finding Foundations Vol. II. Just in time for the February month of love, “Insane” is a soul drenched, harmonious song finding McFerrin’s fluttering vocals yearning for a love she simply cannot deny. “I wrote “Insane” while I was snowed in, home alone at my parents place in Philly,” she recently told Saint Heron. “I got stuck on one idea for another song, so I decided to try something else on the piano. The floating “oooo” melodies kind of happened by accident, then the melody and lyrics flowed from there. Clearly I was missing my man.”

Listen to the all too relatable single below and stay tuned for Madison McFerrin’s upcoming EP, releasing on February 16th.

2018

Audio: Busta Rhymes, “Get It” Feat. Missy Elliott and Kelly Rowland

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 02, 2018

Busta Rhymes

Rap veteran Busta Rhymes is making a return with something to get you twerkin’ into the weekend. His new single “Get It” features a verse from the queen Missy Elliott and pristine background effects laced with vocals courtesy of the lovely Kelly Rowland. Strong but minimalist production springs into a brief, full Funk breakdown after lush 808s trail Missy’s propulsive bars. Meanwhile, Busta’s pen has all but lost its stalwart ability to keep up with the blistering pace of his signature cadence.

“Get It” is the perfect match for an ideal “first Friday” mood. Listen below.

2018

Audio: MAAD, “New Religion”

by Shantel Pass | published: Jan 31, 2018

MAAD

MAAD’s got a new lease on love and it feels like worship. Her latest single “New Religion” details a sweet romance with colorful melodies and GRADES’ pristine ElectroPop production. In September, fans were blessed with “Wonderland,” the lead single from her next EP due this Spring. Now on its second single, the NYC-hailing singer-songwriter serenades her muse with devotional lyrics, “I see kingdoms for us my faith won’t be shaken/ I see worlds boy when I’m looking into your eyes/ And I know I’ve waited my whole life/ I won’t let it pass by/ I know I am home/ Cuz I no longer have to run.

Listen to the spunky and sexy “New Religion” from MAAD below.

2018

Audio: Olawumi, “My Fault”

by Shantel Pass | published: Jan 29, 2018

Olawumi

Olawumi returns today with the first single from her forthcoming project Moody. “My Fault” is a reflective ode to the hindsight wisdom accompanying that “you had me fucked up” moment after a break up. As the singer’s memories serve instance after instance where she should have left, she takes blame for the loving loyalty that kept her at his side. Fed up and fully aware of her own worth, Olaumi gracefully puts her former lover on notice that it’s too late to turn back and we’re willing to bet it sucks to be that guy, right now.

‘My Fault’ …is based around a conversation I had with my ex before things ended. The producer of the song, Black Youth, is a 20-year-old native of Indianapolis who was going through his own situation at the time. Through our pain we created something beautiful,” Olawumi said.

Moody is due later this year. For now, listen to Olawumi’s smoky, Bluesy vocals set the record straight over emotional 808s and heaving percussion in “My Fault” below.

Photography by DaiJohn McLaurin

2018

Audio: Braxton Cook, “Lately”

by Saint Heron | published: Jan 09, 2018

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Just last year, Braxton Cook‘s jazzy debut album Somewhere In Between debuted, and now, just in time for the new year, the musician is back to share his latest.

“Lately” serves as the newest offer from New York based singer-meets-saxophonist. Just like us all, Cook explores vocally about cherishing all off simpler times amidst a relationship with that special someone. Cook shared with us, “as millennials, we get so easily distracted that we often take our loved ones for granted and it leaves you wondering; what have you done for me lately?” Take a listen below.

Photograph by Mark Pangilinan

2018

Audio: Kendrick Lamar & SZA, “All the Stars”

by Shantel Pass | published: Jan 04, 2018

SZAKendrick

Well Kendrick Lamar and SZA have set the collaboration bar really high for 2018 and it’s only day 4. “All the Stars” is the lead single from the soundtrack of Marvel’s upcoming royal film Black Panther in which the fellow TDE signees are offering up peak Hip-Hop and R&B duet energy; the Ctrl singer’s soulfully impassioned vocals and K Dot’s conversationally mellow and brainy bars. But the track’s synth-tinged Electronic elements give “All the Stars” a first-of-its-kind and (fittingly) futuristic feel.

Lamar will curate and co-produce the entire Black Panther soundtrack along with Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. He’s been quoted as saying, “Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther’ is amazing, from its cast to its director. The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture. I’m truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside Ryan and Marvel’s vision.Black Panther lands in theaters February 16th. Listen to SZA and Kendrick Lamar’s “All the Stars” below.