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North London based MC and COLORS alumni Little Simz unveils new EP ‘Drop 6’ which was written and recorded whilst in lockdown. The project follows up last year’s Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘GREY Area’ and features production from the likes of Kal Banx, OTG, Kadz, St Francis Hotel and more as well as an appearance from singer Alewya on closing cut ‘where’s my lighter’. As is expected with everything Simz puts out, ‘Drop 6’ is another fiery collection of songs that showcase the rapper’s exceptional songwriting and ruthless flow.
If you’re looking for a song that will get your heart pumping, look no further than Spanish rapper C. Tangana’s exhilarating new single ‘Guille Asesino’. Accompanied by an equally high octane music video directed by Diana Kunst, the single features a blistering electronic and percussive beat that sees the Madrid based artist lay down his words with a venomous flow. Check out the single and its striking music video here.
Norwegian rapper Ivan Ave was one of the first artists to grace the COLORS stage, if you haven’t checked out his performance of ‘Hello’ yet, head over here. This past week, the artist unveiled his stellar new album ‘Double Goodbyes’ which enlists the likes of fellow COLORS alumni Joyce Wrice and Sasac, and features stand out cuts like ‘Triple Double Love’ and ‘Nu Path’. On ‘Double Goodbyes’, Ivan Ave is a breath of fresh air as he channels a vibrant and refreshing new sound that takes elements of soul, jazz and hip-hop encased in electronic beats. Check out the brilliant record here.
West London based rapper Life teams up with Lord Apex on his explosive and emotive new single about friendship called ‘Cheque On It’. Dedicated to that one friend we all have “that’s always smiling, the one that’s always happy”, ‘Cheque On It’ sees the two MCs work their magic over a super slick beat. The track closes off with a softer and deeper touch which was inspired by the passing of Life’s close friends due to COVID-19. Check out the empowering and raw single here, and keep an eye out for Life’s forthcoming (as yet untitled) project which is out later this year.
London based rapper Ultra)_eko shares ‘Kitchen Sink Dramas’, a powerful six-track project that packs a punch from start to finish. Throughout the course of the EP, Ultra_eko showcases his versatility as both a performer and songwriter, navigating hard-hitting and powerful beats tinged with gentle piano chords and sophisticated orchestration with ease. There’s a certain rawness to ‘Kitchen Sink Dramas’, one that resonates with you from opening track ‘The Seventh Day” to closer ‘Twisted’.
British-Pakistani rapper/actor Riz Ahmed unleashes ‘The Long Goodbye’, his break-up letter to a post-Brexit Britain. Riddled with break-up advice from the likes of Mindy Kaling, Yara Shahidi, Mahershala Ali and more, ‘The Long Goodbye’ sees the West Londoner set the scene wonderfully with the poetic opener ‘The Breakup (Shikwa)’. Throughout the record, Riz works his lyrical magic over fiery beats penned by fellow Swet Shop Boys band mate and producer Redinho; coupling sharp verses and raw narratives on standout cuts like ‘Toba Tek Singh’, ‘Where You From’ and ‘Mogambo’.
Consider yourself introduced to London based artist On Man, whose warped and twisted new single ‘Squares And Triangles’ is an absolute stunner. Encompassing a moody, atmospheric beat that mutates and shifts over its duration, the striking single is taken to another level as On Man’s clever wordplay permeates through. With an EP on the way, ‘Squares And Triangles’ is the perfect taste of what’s to come from this intriguing artist.
South African-born, German-based artist WizTheMC makes quite the impression on his brilliant new mixtape ‘Growing Teeth’. Boosted by the slick opener ‘The One’, the ten-track project wonderfully showcases WizTheMC’s playful songwriting and energetic flow as he works his magic over equally spirited beats. Featuring previously released cuts ‘Patience’, ‘Fear of Heights’ and ‘Take Me’, ‘Growing Teeth’ is a vibe from start to finish.
Parisian rapper Sika Deva shares stellar new single in the form of ‘Gling’, an emphatic and powerful cut produced by Tices. Released via Kitsuné Musique, the striking track opens in a sombre fashion before a killer beat bursts onto the scene alongside Deva’s superb delivery and confident flow. Balancing smoothness with hard-hitting lines, Sika Deva shows why he’s one of the most exciting rappers to come out of the French capital.
New York-born, Berlin-based rapper Zebra Katz marks his return with the explosive and rapid-fire inflections of ‘IN IN IN’,. The single is the first slice of new music from the artist since collaborating with Gorillaz on their 2017 record ‘Humanz’ and will feature on his forthcoming debut album titled ‘LESS IS MOOR’. Co-produced by Tony Quattro who lays down a dark and gloomy atmosphere, the track sees Katz go all in with his slick delivery and sharp lines and serves as the perfect taste of what’s to come from the new LP.
Ness Hakin is the definition of true artistry. The Swedish artist’s debut EP ‘De va meningen’ (translates to “It was the point” in English), which dropped this past September, explores the different steps you go through when you lose yourself. A sensational blend of spoken word, smooth R&B and soul, the project evokes a sense of realness, of purity and honesty. This is the soundtrack of being true to yourself and to not let fear, your emotion and struggles to get in the way of life – because, eventually, it will get better.
London based producer p-rallel teams up with Same Wise on ‘Charmer’, the latest single from his forthcoming EP titled ‘In Due Time’ which is out next month. A tribute to the jungle music that his dad played around the house whilst he was growing up, the song boasts an intense and rapid beat as House of Pharaohs member Same Wise delivers some slick verses. If ‘Charmer’ is anything to go by, ‘In Due Time’ is set up to be a must listen.
After last year’s brilliant ‘Ginger Juice’, Switzerland based rapper Makala has become inseparable from Varnish La Piscine who produced his highly anticipated debut album ‘Radio Suicide’. Encompassing a dirty yet sensual funk aesthetic, the two Swiss acolytes celebrate an hybrid and refreshing sound that resonates wonderfully on each track. The MC, of Congolese origin, whose name means “embers” in lingala, delivers punchy rhymes and bewitching flows on retro yet modern moods. The Superwak Clique member displays and cultivates his unique sound with ease… and it suits him well.
London based rapper, producer and BBC Sound of 2019 winner proves why he’s one of the most exciting voices around with the release of ‘Endorphins’. The twelve-track project, which follows up last year’s ‘Spaceman’ tape, is another brilliant showcase of Octavian’s unique flow and intriguing sound. With contributions from the likes of Jessie Ware, Skepta, Theophilus London, ABRA and more, ‘Endorphins’ is a trippy, melodious affair boasting the Londoner’s superb songwriting and raspy, calculated delivery.
Swedish rap sensation Z.E. opens up his banger ’74 Bars’ with the fiery line “Tar inte klubbspelningar, bara festivaler” (no more club shows, only festivals), setting the scene wonderfully for his equally explosive flow. Z.E has been topping the Swedish music charts ever since the debut a little over two years ago. With the gift of eloquently incorporating his life experiences into the rapping, Z.E has reached out to every Scandinavian music lover from the upper North to the South.
On ’74 Bars’, Z.E. looks forwards, after touring around the country at different clubs, Z.E. sets his sights on playing for bigger crowds and festivals. The past months have seen the rapper flourish with a slew of unexpected releases, where each song has it’s special signature sound. Z.E is and will always be one of the top dogs of Swedish hip hop.
‘Houdini’ is the debut album of the emerging Swedish rapper Prins Daniel (Prince Daniel). The album is a 15 track masterpiece showcasing Daniels’ lyrical prowess as the record explores a mix of political views over slick beats. Prins Daniel brings up the social structures and doesn’t shy away from wearing his heart on sleeve.
‘Citroner’ (Lemons in English), the lead single from the record delves into social structures, Daniels comments on how milennials are not being true to themselves and reaching out to please everybody without actually doing anything. It is about a digital generation saying that they have strong political views and that they care about the world, but behind those words lies a privileged person who actually doesn’t care about other people. Prins Daniel is a poetic genius. Prins Daniel is art, a living, walking and talking proof of an excellent rapper. One thing is for sure: his journey has just begun.
‘Zebrapojken’ (Zebra Boy in English) is the debut album from Swedish/Gambian rapper Erik Lundin. He has been a part of the Swedish rap scene for over a decade, starting off by rapping in English under the name of Eboi. His first offering in his native tongue of Swedishwas in the form of an EP called ‘Suedi’ in 2015.
The record ‘Zebrapojken’ is a reference to the Swedish word zebrabarn (zebra kids) which means kids that grow up during bad circumstances: their emotional lives are striped because of the vast change of feeling happy and/or sad. The ten track album takes the listeners through a musical journey of emotions and real life scenarios as Erik gives us an insight into his life stories in an easy and melodic way.
His wizardry in writing depicts real life scenarios and emotions of vulnerability and hurt playfully combined with joy and hope of seeing the good in life as well. Erik Lundin is a true songwriter and musician who’s honesty and talent has a great impact and value on Swedish pop culture.
Prince Waly, who makes up half of the group Big Buddha Cheez, is a true storyteller. As he keeps saying: he was bottle-fed to American cinema, something that is ever present when listening to his music. On ‘BO Y Z’, the Montreuil artist pushes the boundaries of his music. Nineties imagery, a cinematic tone and a fantasy of the ubiquitous gangster are the three constants that define his universe. The 9-track record features contributions from various quality guests such as Tengo John, TripleGo, Loveni, Alpha Wann, Enchantée Julia and Feu! Chatterton.
Varnish La Piscine, rapper, producer and member of SuperWak Clique (Di-Meh, Slimka, Makala…) delivers an astounding audio-visual experience in the form of ‘Le Regard qui Tue’. Serving as the follow up to ‘Escape (F + R Prelude)’, which already demonstrated his virtuosity, the Swiss artist returns with a very conceptual project; on funky dark productions he unveils an audio book telling a B-movie-like gangster story taking place in 60’s Monaco starring Varnish’s alias Inspector Sidney Franco. He is joined by rapper Rico Tha Kid playing the journalist Angel de Jesùs and the sensual Bonnie Banane aka Gabrielle Solstice, a criminal who literally kills with her eyes. With this new record, Varnish La Piscine has released one of the most original projects of the year so far.
London outfit 404 are made up of Bathwater, Silvertongue, Eliot, Devenny and Sonny, and their debut single ‘Fearful’ is a blistering affair. A sharp commentary on modern society, the track boasts a fierce and energetic vibe whilst encompassing a raw edge through its songwriting and production. Serving as a perfect introduction to the quintet’s unique sound, ‘Fearful’ marks the first single from their forthcoming debut EP which is out next month.