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Swedish MC Silvana Imam linked up with two of the hottest names in the country’s hip-hop scene, Fricky and Khan-Ji, for a brand new 2-track release. First track ‘4 h’ is a slow, grooving love song; Khan-Ji sings with his distinctive deep, warbled voice ‘4 timmar, jag och du baby’ (‘4 hours, you and I baby’) over a bashment-infused rhythm, as Imam explains her love for her partner and Fricky completes the song with his sweet auto-tuned vocals. The mix between her direct rap delivery with Fricky’s piercing vocals combines again on smooth pop-trap effort ‘Ta Hand Om Dig’ (which means ‘Take Care Of You’), with the duo expressing their responsibility to be there for their loved ones. Imam’s ability to channel true emotions into her music and this collaboration’s careful blend of rap and melody has resulted in a pair of slick late summer jams.
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Following in the lineage of the city’s rich modern musical history, Detroit has introduced another talented mind in Choker. Last year, his self-produced debut album ‘Peak’ received acclaim for uncannily evoking sounds of Frank Ocean, yet still crafting his own individual sound. His follow-up project ‘Honeybloom’ released this month, creates a unique ethereal atmosphere through its experimental approach and depth, with beautifully expressive vocals driving unpredictable, unconventional melodies. Choker is a truly multi-faceted artist dedicated to pushing boundaries while still remaining accessible through his meaningful lyricism.
Performing under the stage name LONER, Lean Ordinario is an independent Filipino artist with an intriguing sound and a promising future. His recent single ‘autopilot’ evokes a darker mood fit for cold nights of solitude, with dreamlike tinkling pianos and sparse percussion taking a different path from his usual indie/neo-punk rock sound. The track builds the excitement for his LP entitled ‘no fidelity’, coming in the near future.
MaMan’s triple-threat ability to sing, rap, and produce with equal strength mark him as one of the most notable talents to come out of Sudan in recent years. Entitled after the year of his birth, his latest album “1991” aptly represents the struggle of a young Sudanese creative fighting their way through the country’s economic and socio-political strife, a scenario that many of the marginalised young generation can relate to. Sonically, “1991” boasts genre-fusing electronic beats and diverse hip-hop flows, running the gamut of emotions as the mood shifts from uplifting positivity to brooding introspection, tied together by dark, swirling production.
Sammy & Johnny Bennett hit the Swedish rap scene in spring 2016 when they released the video for the song ”5DF”, and the talk about the two brothers from Gothenburg quickly spread throughout the Scandinavian borders thanks to the duo’s outstanding rhythm and vibe.
Together with local RnB singer Parham Pazooki, they’ve cooked up ’Chans’ – a song about taking a chance on someone you really care for. The twins mix their slick rap flow together with Pazooki’s smooth, intriguing singing voice to create a late-night summer banger.
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Berlin-based, Argentinian producer and feline fanatic Catnapp combines rap, breakbeat, drum and bass and more to create an intense, nostalgic atmosphere. Fat beats are driven by lyrics confessing the deepest childhood memories over huge, compressed pads and synths, resulting in a unique, original sound. ‘No Cover’, her most recent release, is an aggressive two-track EP engendered by feelings of deceit, disappointment and anger. Heavy breaks and broken glasses give ‘No Cover’ an air of invincibility, belligerence and empowerment.
Artigeardit is one of the most exciting young hip-hop acts in Denmark right now, blending old-school hip-hop elements with fresh flows and contemporary narratives to build a distinctly 2018 flavour. He released his debut album ‘VILDEDAGE’ (which translates as ‘WILD DAYS’) in May this year. The project expresses both the melancholy and joy of youth; the heartbreaks, the parties and the hangovers. ‘Værformig’ is a standout track from the project, capturing the essence of the album, incorporating lyrical, poetic elements to a introspective mood.
“Rosa” is a stunning single from Danish duo WIINSTON. It unfolds with all the moody atmosphere of a classic movie, with a blurry, strangely nostalgic feel and a gorgeously sleepy groove. Made up of a pair of longtime friends, producer Alfred Thomas and singer/songwriter Daniel Richards, most of WIINSTON’s music is recorded in Thomas’s tiny apartment. “Rosa” embodies their sound perfectly; a cinematic and nostalgic take on electronic R&B that stirs up intense emotion and captivates the listener with its memorable melody.
Botswana born singer-songwriter Mpho Sebina incorporates hip-hop, soul, jazz, traditional Setswana music and folklore into her sound. Authentic and experimental, the self-taught musician has built a loyal audience through her signature a cappella mash-ups including Brenda Fassie with the The Fugees and Boom Shaka with Erykah Badu. She’s performed in venues across Botswana and South Africa, as well as hosting a monthly live music co-operative ‘NakedSoul Sessions’, curating a performance line-up of yet to be discovered local music and merchandisers.
Sebina released her debut EP titled Neo in October 2017 with the first single ‘Black Butterfly’ a soulful hip-hop track with sonic facets of the new generation of melancholic trap-soul. “My music is autobiographical; the stuff I’ve written is self-reflection time for me,” she says. “As a 28-year-old African woman my music is about the journey to discovering one’s self through this world. I would like to stir up that quest for self, to bring about a healing type of vibe. It’s a lot about overcoming and focusing on the personal stuff. Sometimes we get wrapped in anxiety, myself included. My music is about providing an outlet for listeners to forget.”
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Dive into the world of Sabina Ddumba. One of the most prominent figures in Sweden’s pop scene, her effortless, natural vocal tone makes her stand out from the crowd. At the age of 16 she joined Stockholm’s prestigious Tensta Gospel Choir (which has produced the likes of Lykke Li and Kristin Amparo), and it was here that she honed her talent and the star we see today was born. With a powerful voice and a charismatic aura, the listener is drawn into Sabina’s universe; her latest single ’Small World’ is a melodic story about finding hope in the commotion of everyday life, making the world seems to be a lot bigger than it really is; ”Maybe it’s a small world? You are not alone.”
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Born in Oman and now based in the Philippines, model and singer Jason Dhakal is a serious talent. With a penchant for smooth, contemporary R&B, he’s collaborated with Iloilo-based producer dot.jaime on ‘Night In’, a debut EP built for its own name: lonely, late-night feelings. Though he originally began his music career “accidentally” during a sleepover at his friend’s house, Jason Dhakal, at only 17-years-old, now offers an impressive sound full of sultry passion.
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Not satisfied with producing one of France’s hardest trap projects of the year in 13 Block’s “Triple S”, Ikaz Boi returns with “Brutal”, a debut album of his own that welcomes the audience into his eclectic universe through a portal of diverse instrumentals, features, and interludes. The project counts Ateyaba (fka Joke) amongst its guests, a voice that has become increasingly scarce over the past few years; building on their past collaborations, the pair offer up ‘Pyramid Tokyo’, a vibrant performance that serves as a reminder of why the French scene misses the Montpellier rapper’s unique flow.
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Maria Beraldo only recently released her first album, but she’s by no means a rookie in Brazilian’s music scene. A renowned clarinetist who has already played alongside significant avant-garde and música popular brasileira (MPB) artists such as Elza Soares and Arrigo Barnabé, on her debut album ‘Cavala’ she crafts an in-depth study of what it means to be lesbian in a country and society where the dominant macho culture is such an undermining force for minorities. The song ‘Amor Verdade’ (Love True) is a moving confession of the artist’s sexual orientation to her parents, with the power of the lyrics emphasised by the minimalistic psychedelic style, encouraging the listener to focus on what the artist has to say.
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Jess Connelly is a household name in Filipino music and a rising star in the international scene. Commonly referred to as JCon, the singer specialises in delivering smooth and soulful R&B tunes, and has opened for foreign acts like Kehlani and Macklemore at their tour dates in her home country. Connelly often collaborates with some of Manila’s finest producers such as crwn, similarobjects, LUSTBASS and eyedress; despite her growing popularity, she continues to release her music as an independent artist and is passionate about promoting promising local acts to her fanbase. Building on the success of her track ‘Mine’ earlier this year, her latest single ‘On My Way Up’ is an ethereal banger, as she charts her ascendant status over distorted trap-infused production.
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Yxng Bane has been carving his own lane within the UK’s diverse music landscape. Incorporating elements of trap, RnB and dancehall to create a dynamic blend of styles, his latest visual sees the east Londoner allude to his previous hit ‘Vroom’ as he flexes in a gold motor, showcasing his dexterity as his woozy vocals switch flows either side of an infectious hook.
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Fricky is the sparkling new voice from Sweden’s “dirty north”. One of the most exciting new artists to emerge on the country’s music scene, he has long been an acclaimed rapper but recently transitioned into RnB territory, unleashing a velvet smooth singing voice. His debut EP ‘Aqua Aura’ is the result of his reflections on life, and kicks off with the titular opening track, a slick, melodic trap affair.
South London artist Gregor the Blue has honed his unique sound over the last few years; a classically trained violinist as a child, he taught himself to play guitar and keys, and soon his bedroom productions started to accumulate a substantial online following. Gregor’s new EP builds on the themes of his 2016 debut album ‘Estate’, taking up where the last project left off in conjuring the same distinctive moody, swirling world but adding a sharper, electronic edge, as the 24-year-old’s sound has matured; tackling themes of longing and insecurity as well as his struggles with darker emotions, the tape is tied together with his trademark woozy, after-hours atmosphere. Enlisting guest vocals from rappers Ant Lavelle and Carl Blarx as well as a feature from long-time collaborator Thieta on lead single Faults, he incorporates elements of alternative blues, ska, RnB and contemporary hip-hop together to create a nuanced, unique sound with genuine depth and texture.
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Stockholm’s Cherrie is back at it once again. After the viral success of last year’s anthem ‘163 För Evigt’, the Swedish-Somali singer returns to deliver another smooth dose of R&B. An empowering testament to feminine strength and a declaration of love to family and friends, Cherrie’s honeyed vocals are the track’s driving force, creating a sound reminiscent of the early 00’s golden era, yet with a slick modern sheen.
Lose yourself in the blissful world of ODIE. The 21-year-old singer’s debut album, ‘Analogue’ is an expertly crafted body of work, showcasing his own slick, original brand of contemporary RnB. The album incorporates a wide range of influences and subject matter, from tales of longing on classic guitar ballads like ‘North Face’ and ‘Little Lies’ to paying homage to his Nigerian heritage on the infectious ‘Faith’, all held together by his warm and soulful vocals, creating a vivid, dream-like atmosphere.
UK-based singer Yiigaa enlists the assistance of E/M rapper Louis Culture for her powerful new single. The two south London artists exchange instropective verses, dealing with memories of past relationships and the struggle of moving forward and growing. Production comes courtesy of Shax Maja, with dynamic drums and distorted horns creating an uplifting, nostalgic tone.
The track is the second single from her forthcoming mixtape ‘Blue Rivers in My Wrist’, due to release in June.