Last few days have seen some pretty awesome tracks dropped via Soundcloud. So I thought, haven’t been on here a while, so why not celebrate a week of great new music heading into the weekend.

Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment – No Better Blues

Snoh Aalegra featuring Common – Bad Things

Raekwon- All Night Long

Black Milk – Scum (Feat. Random Axe)

IAMNOBODY – Intermissions for Syria

And a sixth for good measure, Gilberto Gil – One O’Clock Last Morning, 20th April, 1970


Another brilliant week on the Soundcloud account. Its always good to remember that whilst everyone seems to be harking back to an era of Britpop, Kurt Cobain and Illmatic, there are artists out there, right now, producing good music. The highlights of the last 7 (maybe 8) days…..

The ultra chilled Babylon from the brilliant SZA featuring Kendrick Lamar

Rapsody with stripped down beat that really showcases the outrageous skill of the North Carolina rapper on Murder by Numbers

More of what you want from Chance the Rapper – The Writer is the usual stream of consciousness. Soulful hip hop doesn’t come much better than Rapsody and Chance the Rapper. 

From the forthcoming PTSD, Pharoahe Monch featuring Black Thought – Rapid Eye Movement gives full justification for the new album being the most anticipated release of 2014 to date.

Finally, Elle Varner dropped Little Do You Know. Another perfect slice of Elle brilliance, one of the most underrated vocalists around, and a fucking awesome baseline to boot. 

 

Oh, and if the week was an EP, this would be a bonus track, reason being, this was just at the end of last week. Squeezing it in just because everything from the Yasiin Gaye project to date has been jaw droppingly perfect in every way shape and form. When you combine two greats it quite often doesn’t work, but to date this is faultless.


This is everything…….

 


Words defy just what a perfect slice of pure hip hop this is, from the man Eminem quite rightly thinks is ‘incredible’

‘Who put these pussies on top, putting out their pussy music, call it pussy pop’

Taken from the forthcoming PTSD album

Pharoahe is in the UK touring, just about now, 

Feb 8th – Dublin – The Sugar Club

Feb 14th - Bristol – Sip The Juice

Feb 15th – Brixton – Plan B

Feb 18th – Sheffield  - Tuesday Club

Feb 19th – Liverpool – The Kazimer

Feb 21st – Brighton – Concorde 2

Feb 22nd – Leeds – The Warehouse

Feb 23rd – Southampton – Roxx

Feb 24th – Norwich Arts Centre

 

Mela Machinko – 9am Blues

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hot on the heels of Hov Said It Best, Mela Machinko released 9am Blues just before Christmas. It looks like its got a re issue over the past few weeks, or at least some fresh publicity.

An 8 track EP, 9am Blues is perfectly timed for my personal journey from work each day; and that is pretty much the perfect time to play this. 9am Blues resonates for those who are a fed up of the 9-5 humdrum. Its a perfect January and February listen; when the world is a cold and dark place, and when the bills that need paying take precedent, sadly, over the day dreams that can’t really grow til the sun comes out again. There’s hope for day dreamers, however, as Machinko tells a story of hope in the simple things in life on Sing ‘Try to get a job but nobody hiring, all I can do is sing’.

Production wise this goes from hip hop to pop to blues to jazz; really its just good music, and accompanied by Machinko’s awesome soulful vocal talent. There’s less vocal acrobatics than just great singing here. Mela hits the spot if you love 60s soul and by rights she should be a huge star for hipsters listening to old Northern Soul records. Lyrically playful, its hard to avoid joining in on the ‘I need a job, I need money’ harmonising on the brilliant Employment, with its hammond organ solo.

On Trying Something New a laid back jazz club vibe, and the line ‘Ever since I was a child I always had a dream that I was free’ kind of breaks your heart before Mela proclaims, ‘I’m embracing change…I’m trying something new’. If you haven’t gone to the bandcamp page to buy this, maybe its time you did too.

 

 


 

The scratches, into a mellow laid back jazz beat, ‘Its 2014, hip hop gets labelled a lot of things, or should I say, a lot of things that aint hip hop gets labelled hip hop. We’re here to make it real clear; Jamla is the Squad, now lets get into it.’

When Jamla records do something, they do something special. 9th Wonder is a name synonymous with the highest quality beats and his talent is ever expanding and evolving. 9th’s olw Jamla label works with some of the finest wordsmiths in any genre at the moment. This mix tape isn’t a free one, but its well worth parting with some hard earned to get in on this. For its 25 tracks, Jamla is the squad delivers on all levels. As if to prove the point, if you can put 25 tracks out and Talib Kweli, Phonte and Elzhi feature on just one you know there really is No Competition. 

Walk On By showcases the vocal silkiness of Heather Victoria singing the chorus of the classic Dionne Warwick track, with GQ providing the commentary on the stories of every day life we walk on by each day of the week without dwelling on the details of. Its those kind of stories that the rappers that feature on this record do best, the every day, thoughtful pauses on reality. 15 Minutes of Fame is a complete and utter smooth soul, but with a blues sensibility. Amidst this you get Chicago wordsmith, ADD 2 providing some grit and grime, yet always over that ‘top of the class’ production, not just from 9th but from other members the Soul Council such as Khrysis, Eric G and Kash.

The whole tape is acts as a showcase for 9th Wonder ability to spot real talent for people that like real music. Regular helpings of Rapsody and Heather Victoria hold the listener in, introducing them to some of the newer names on the label as they get the chance to showcase their skills. 

 


1. Chance the Rapper – Cocoa Butter Kisses – Taken from arguably the mix tape of the year, my personal favourite was Cocoa Butter Kisses, which seems to sum up in one track why the mix tape was seen as so important.

2. Rapsody feat Phonte and Jay Electronica – Jedi Code – Again, from a free mix tape, this was for me the peak of Rapsody’s year. A large scale collaboration with 2 of the best around, this reminds you of how good the rap group was. Maybe some Kooley High will follow in 14???

3. Jean Grae- Fuckery Level 3000 – You’re just going to have to buy the mix tape as this won’t work so well out of context. But this is basically Jean getting taken in by her boss who’s noticed her behaviour has changed. The rap is an insight into the neurosis of an assassin trying to get a bit of work life balance between her life, her day job, her assassin job and the impending apocalypse. I hope I got that right, it takes a few listens.

4, Lorde – Royals – Well it just was a track of the year. Kiwi Lorde has taken 2013 by storm, and there’s even a Raekwon remix if you can’t bear the original.

5. Talib Kweli – Violations feat Raekwon – Tough call for Kweli’s track of the year, was between this and Favela Love for me. But I preferred Gravitas as a bit of traditional Kweli. This was easily my personal favourite from Gravitas.

6. Mela Machinko – What You Want Me To Do (I’m Sorry) – Tricky pick between this, from the Hov Said It Best project, or Sing from the recently released 9am Blues. 

7. Kanye West – New Slaves – So many to chose from from Yeezus, but this just pipped it over Black Skinhead, I am a God and Bound 2. And deliberately sandwiched between two joyous tracks! 

8. Janelle Monae featuring Solange – Electric Lady – One of those you can’t help but do a bit of a dance to. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face after New Slaves god knows what will. 

9. Valerie June – Twined and Twisted - Might be a bit of a mood killer but this is just beautiful really. Saw her earlier in the year and is a fine live performer too.

10. Jay Z – Open Letter – Ok, so not particularly a track of the year, but as a document of 2013 this is pretty relevant. Misguided, whatever, it was a glimpse into the Hov of old.