070 Shake – Morrow

G.O.O.D. Music signed artist and COLORS alum 070 Shake kicks off her musical output of the year with two brilliant new singles in the form of ‘Nice to Have’ and ‘Morrow’. On the latter, the North Bergen native channels a raw energy that strikes through with her gritty vocal performance accompanying the murky, bass-heavy soundscape.Enjoy the single up top and if you haven’t already, check out 070 Shake’s COLORS performance of ‘I Laugh When I’m With Friends But Sad When I’m Alone’ here.

Latrell James – Tracphone

Boston based rapper Latrell James is a playful poet, and his latest single ‘Tracphone’ (a pay-as-you-go mobile) is the perfect example of this. Likewise, previously heard single ‘Okay’, ‘Today’ and ‘Mona Lisa Bonet’ encompass a similar aesthetic whilst maintaining an element of freshness throughout. On ‘Tracphone’, James’ lackadaisical flow and delivery circumvent the deeper messages that line his wordplay as he raps about the shape shifting landscape in his life.

Amber Mark – Mixer

Ever since she introduced herself with the mesmerising ‘S P A C E’ a few years ago, New York based singer, songwriter and producer Amber Mark has continually blurred genres from around the globe to create a sound that’s entirely her own. Her two stunning EPs ‘3:33AM’ and ‘Conexão’ wonderfully embody Mark’s refreshing sounds and latest cut ‘Mixer’ continues that very trend. Glorious guitars and a sharp drumbeat are accompanied by twinkling piano chords to give Mark the platform to lay down her silky smooth vocals.

Jitwam – Temptations

With his roots in Assam, North-east India and his hustle now based in Brooklyn; Jitwam. draws his influence from a vast array of artists including but not limited to RD Burman, Moondog, The Velvet Underground, Jay Dilla, Moodymann, Asha Bhosle and Madlib to name a few. Soulful sounds within the realm of indie psychedelic rock and hip-hop, his fluidity as an artist fuses disparate styles and ideas into a world that is truly unique and his own. ‘Temptations’ with the heart felt vocals is his latest single from upcoming album ‘Honeycomb’ to be released on Tartelet Records which encapsulates his diverse upbringing in India and Australia, before living in monasteries in Thailand, orphanages in South Africa, and finally the US, where he currently resides.

Tepu – flip a coin

Dripping with groovy guitars and sizzling electronics, the latest offering from L.A. based singer/songwriter Tepu is an absolute blast. The blistering production in ‘flip a coin’, brings to mind the lush soundscapes of late 90’s and early 2000’s R&B jams a la Justin Timberlake with a refreshing twist. Of course, Tepu’s gloriously smooth vocals add an extra layer of luxe as they weave their way through the ever-growing soundscape. Serving as the follow up to last year’s mesmerising ‘Teri Awaz’, Tepu strikes a chord once again with ‘flip a coin’.

Mizan K – Dark Blue

Few projects stand the test of time, many fade away as easily as they came, but Mizan K’s ‘Dark Blue’ EP which dropped back in 2015, that’s not the case. The New York based singer, songwriter and producer’s poignant and poetic lyricism, soothing vocals and sophisticated production shine from opener ‘Looking For’ to the thought-provoking closer ‘7 Billion’. With ‘Dark Blue’, Mizan K captures the essence of love, life and loss and in turn, has created a body of work that is truly timeless and special.

Dijon – Sci Fi 1

Los Angeles-based, Baltimore-raised artist Dijon has shared ‘Sci Fi 1’, his charming debut EP which features the previously released singles ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Drunk’. Over the course of the EP’s seven songs, Dijon explores a variety of sounds, but one constant remains – his soaring, fragile, powerful, heartwarming voice. Whether it’s those serene tones that are accompanied by gentle guitar chords on ‘Dog Eyes’ or the distorted delivery on ‘Bracelet’, Dijon’s ability to capture emotion and convey a narrative is second to none – ‘Sci Fi 1’ is a gift that keeps on giving from start to finish.

emawk – Later

Boston born, Nairobi raised, New York based artist emawk’s newest single ‘Later’ is a breathtaking affair. The minimalist production creates a spacious and swelling atmosphere, one that envelopes and draws you in as emawk’s mesmerising voice carries you deeper. Each layer of instrumentation sees the track blossom with each note a moment of magic. With ‘Later’, emawk has concocted something truly special.

CUTTS – Breathe

February 21

Sometimes the simplest of songs are the ones that resonate with you the most, and that’s exactly the case with ‘Breathe’, the stunning new single from New York based duo CUTTS (Lillian Cutts and Peter Bonaventure). The emotive ballad presents a more subdued sound compared to the duo’s previous releases, yet once again, it’s vocalist Lillian Cutts’ soaring tones that steal the show here. Wonderfully intimate and enchanting, ‘Breathe’ blossoms into a swirling vortex of a distant love affair as the ardent lyrics and gentle composition come together to create something truly special.

Aaron May – Let Go

Seventeen year-old rapper and producer Aaron May proved that he’s one of the most exciting rapper to come out of Houston with ‘Ride’, his powerful debut single from last year. On his latest offering ‘Let Go’, May lays down his clever wordplay over a jazz-inflected, self-produced beat that boasts a killer bass. With just these two singles, Aaron May has proved himself as a refreshing voice in an otherwise saturated landscape.

ZSELA – Noise

February 13

Every now and then a voice comes along that simply takes your breath away – that’s exactly the case with Brooklyn based singer-songwriter ZSELA and her sensational debut single ‘Noise’. Carried by its simple yet heavenly instrumentation courtesy of Daniel Aged from inc. no world, unsurprisingly, it’s ZSELA’s gorgeously smooth and haunting vocals that steal the show here. Utterly enchanting and comforting, ‘Noise’ is a stunner that soothes your soul from start to finish.

Sid Sriram – Entropy

Chennai-born, Bay Area-based singer, songwriter and producer Sid Sriram’s music oscillates between progressive R&B and soul with classical Indian (Carnatic) influences. His long-awaited debut album ‘Entropy’, which features previously released single ‘It Isn’t True’ and ‘6 weeks’, is packed with gems that exhibit Sriram’s poetic songwriting, heartwarming voice and magnificent production.

Peppered with moments of spoken word magic, ‘Entropy’ depicts stories of love, family, identity, loss and heartbreak in a way that’s both refreshing and powerful. From having his ‘Eyes Open’ in the first track to seeing ‘Limitless’ in the closer, Sriram brings ‘Entropy’ full circle, leaving the listener content and enlightened.

Ms Proper – Wicked

Rising from the underbelly of Virginia’s dystopian suburbia, Ms Proper experiments with a unique synthesis of sweet talking R&B and filthy mouthed Trap, all at once spouting melodic insults and adlibs of forgiveness in her signature, tender vengeance. Reflected in the blend of fierce low end production and smooth chords from collaborator LA Chase, her song ‘Wicked’ is a slow wind of whispered secrets. This month she drops her latest project ‘The Aquarius Tape’ that addresses everything from old lovers across the spectrum of the zodiac to her moving to Los Angeles with nothing but $5 in her pocket and a ruthless dedication to her pursue her dreams.

Dua Saleh – Nūr

Minneapolis based multidisciplinary performing artist Dua Saleh showcases her unique and eclectic sound on debut EP ‘Nūr’ which is executive produced by Psymun. The five track project boasts the newcomer’s poetic wordplay, intriguing flow and subtly smooth voice over bold and captivating soundscapes. From the haunting, self-produced opener ‘Sugar Mama’ to the equally arresting ‘Warm Pants’ and ‘Kickflip’, Dua Saleh effortlessly tackles everything from politics and gender identity to self expression, proving why she’s one of the most exciting creative voices around.

Lizzo – Juice

January 20

Based in Minneapolis, Lizzo is a playfully fierce wordsmith and dynamically diverse artist. Practising powerful versatility, she bangs out unconventional bars and in the next breath, breaks to belt out a classic bridge. Lizzo is responsible for lyrical revolutions in the modern rap world that most might first recognise from groups like Grrrl Party, but she’s since set a steadily burning fire under her own “Big Grrrl Small World” solo career. She spans genres, styles and aesthetic personas from funk infused battle raps to pop inspired ballads and soulful glam slams like her latest single, ‘Juice’.

The Reminders – I Remember

Intentionally acclaimed duo The Reminders offer an eclectic blend of beats born from hip-hop’s classic era with soulful vocals and funk filled bass lines, founded upon a lyrical focus toward fiercely positive, empowering poetry. Their high energy shows weave wild dance breaks with anthemic choruses and reggae drops in a unique collage of shamelessly openhearted, self expression and a diverse style that is entirely their own. Married in life as well as partners in music, The Reminders, who’re comprised of Brussels-born Big Samir and Queens-born Aja Black, purposefully share their personal stories to inspire people to transcend any separation that might exist between the artists and their audiences, reminding their listeners that we are one family. This is wonderfully embodied in their brilliant track ‘I Remember’ which is lifted from their ‘Born Champions’ album.

Mereba – Bet

January 1

Ethiopian-American musician and songwriter Mereba yields a voice that heals, warms and soothes on gorgeously textured songs that evoke the deepest of emotions. Her latest offering, the unequivocally beautiful and relaxing ‘Bet’ which dropped towards the end of last year, sees the L.A. based artist capture a love that’s worth fighting for against all odds. Mereba’s golden tones flutter across the gentle guitar-laden soundscape, before lifting off in an unexpected but poetic spoken word piece that adds another layer to the track. With her debut project set to be released later this year, allow the tranquillity of ‘Bet’ to soothe your soul.

Dead Wicks – Glyph Trip

September 25

Dead Wicks is a self proclaimed “psycho-delic grunge-hop” group of New York-grown artists wielding a unique talent for re-working motown songs. Their recently released debut EP ‘Curses’ gifts its listeners a pandora’s box of irreverent genre-bending anthems filled with unusual chord progressions and twisted guitars through alt-pop craftsmanship and poetically chaotic lyricism. The first track on the EP, entitled “Glyph Trip”, kicks things off with a hard electro funk bass line and breathy staccato vocals, before flipping into sitar sounds echoing in a void of synth breakdowns and soulful wails.

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Elton – Elevated

Chicago emcee Elton makes a profound and soulful introduction with his debut EP, “Elevated”. Sitting at 6-tracks deep, the breakout project is packed with soulful jazz-infused production and introspective lyricism, with the young newcomer’s powerful versatility making it one of 2018’s most impressive new hip-hop offerings. Featuring a slew of his peers in fellow Chicago artists Phoelix, Akenya, Blake Davis and Luke Titus, with this effort Elton has created an impressive foundation for his inevitable ascension.

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Tropa Mágica – Koopa-Cabras

August 30

‘Koopa-Cabras’ is a unpredictable celebration of monsters and folklore. The latest release of Tropa Mágica, the musical project of brothers Rene and David Pacheco, the track stars modern mythological creature Koopa merged with a more cryptic Latin-American character in The Chupacabras, who’s name comes from the beast’s reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock.

The track starts with synth arpeggios that mark the “arcade videogame ultimate villain feeling”, before suspensive percussion appears followed by a bassline and surf style guitars that creates the tropical punk mood characteristic of the Pacheco Brothers. The siblings, based in Los Angeles but of Mexican roots, collaborated in this occasion with two other Latin artists: Fredo Ortiz and César Mejía.

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