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Rotation combines with fellow member of Sudanese collective nuslang. on banger ‘Affin Affin’. The track adopts a ‘trap-zanig’ style, fusing Sudani instruments with contemporary hip-hop to inject a refreshing dynamic energy. Driven by Rotation’s unique flow and a spine-chilling guitar solo by producer WillyWill, “Affin Affin” is a powerful example of the strength of the East African country’s vibrant rap scene, incorporating Western influences to create new original gems.
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.
Paris’ Guizmo is a complex figure, with a personal life troubled with self-destructive tendencies and struggles with vice and addiction. In his music he painfully describes his experiences in this dark environment and his slow journey to redemption, revisiting the iconic Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin classic “Je t’aime… Moi non plus” as he explains to his lover how tortured he is and warns her to stay away from him.
Eritrea-born, Amsterdam-based RIMON is a multi-faceted artist with a bright future ahead. The 20-year-old announced herself on the scene in the last few months, capturing her audience by releasing three diverse singles with accompanying visuals, highlighting her versatility in harnessing a range of musical styles. “Realize”, the last in this trilogy of releases, is a vibrant, melodic bashment-infused tune driven by RIMON’s husky, emotive vocals, providing the perfect energy to soundtrack the end of the long hot summer.
Paloalto takes his name from the city in California’s San Francisco Bay Area where the veteran rapper used to live when he was young. After moving back to Korea, he became a founder of Hi-Lite Records, the heavyweight hip-hop label that has been so influential in the country’s scene over the last decade. His reflective messages are delivered in a baritone voice which embodies the depth of his music, built by sincere experience and growth over his lengthy career. Paloalto demonstrates his technical ability and mastery of flow on ‘Joy’, the first track of his newly-released album ‘Summer Grooves’, a laid-back summer anthem with an uplifting vocal melody courtesy of guest Korean American singer-songwriter Ted Park.
Indie-pop duo Parekh & Singh are bringing a refreshing, dynamic energy to India’s buzzing music scene. With dreamer Nischay Parekh driving the melodies, singing and playing guitar, keyboards and synths and the more grounded, logical Jivraj Singh handling percussion and FX, they combine to conjure glowing tracks of cosmic pop that shimmer like an Indian sunset. With vibrant synth lines, stripped-down drum grooves and pop hooks, the duo establishes the addition of soul to their music to create their effortlessly crisp, neo-psychedelic sound. This year they re-released their breakthrough 2016 debut album Oceans as a deluxe version with three new ‘Dream Levels’ versions of standout tracks from the record. From the infectious, melodic opener ‘I love you Baby, I love you Doll’, the music charts the agony and ecstasy of uncertain young love, portrayed in Wes Anderson-inspired visuals that depict them working in a hotel dressed up in vivid tailored suits. Together, they represent India’s cosmopolitan youth, incoporating western influences into their rich cultural heritage; the dreamlike quality of their music and videos is firmly rooted in their hometown of Kolkata, a city frozen in time after decades of communist rule.
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Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins announced his new album by sharing powerful new banger ‘Bruce Banner’. The 27-year-old flexes his lyrical muscle as he unleashes his inner Hulk, channeling his aggression into a dense, intricate flow spat over a menacing instrumental from producers NEZ and RIO. A track packed with endless quotable bars, his declaration that “honestly, can’t nobody come for me except Kendrick” has already created a significant buzz, and will only heighten the anticipation for the release of his sophomore LP ‘Pieces Of Man’ this coming autumn.
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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.
Tinyman continues to build the momentum with the dynamic video for his banger the ‘The Mountains’. The South London rapper flows effortlessly over Subcultures’s bouncing production for an infectious headknocker, as the visuals depict the ORPHGANG collective member exploring tropical climes. Moreover, the video’s outro showcases this artists versatility as he switches up the style, crooning soulfully over a slow acoustic guitar accompaniment.
A2H is no newcomer. Over the course of a career spanning more than a decade he has already proven his skill and versatility many times over. On ‘Nudes’, the first single off his upcoming album ‘L’Amour’, the rapper shares a melodic, passionate ode to receiving intimate pictures, as stirring strings drive Ohleogan’s moving production.
Yangze is a fairly new name on the electronic scene, however the man behind the project, Copenhagen-based producer Jakob Littauer, has been an influential figure within the Danish scene in various different roles prior. A part of Copenhagen’s Escho collective which has released music from artists like Smerz and Iceage, he has also performed live with the likes of Liss & Soleima. As Yangze, Littauer draws on his electronic roots, incorporating pitched up vocals and melodic synths, giving his music an avant-garde feel that keeps the optimal balance between challenging the listener whilst still maintaining a very listenable strand of electro-pop.
In 2016 Mercedes Nasta, former vocalist of Mexican electronic rock band Disco Ruido, undertook her solo adventure. Creating her own downtempo, hypnotic brand of cumbia (the carribean-infused folk music of northern Latin America), Nasta took the reins of the project as she developed her production skills; this, combined with her deep poetry, soft voice and the collaboration of gifted musicians under her direction produced a masterful project inspired by basalt, the form of cold lava from which the album takes its name. ‘Basalto’ is a experiment, record with a soulful, psychedelic touch that whispers a nostalgic and mystical lullaby, exploring a range of themes including architecture, internal transformations and pre-hispanic art.
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Born and raised in the Philippines, Valiant Vermin is a rising star with her own signature, experimental sound. Her recent album, ‘Singles’, radiates its own feminine energy through a distinctive bedroom pop sound infused with electronic synths. Real name Bettina Campomanes, she describes her persona as a “bedroom project by some college chick”; she is now based in New York and currently attends university at Bard College while simultaneously making her mark in the music industry.
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OLNL has been making waves in the Korean hip-hop and RnB sphere, establishing his own fairytale-like world through imaginative lyricism and escapist imagery. Now he’s teamed up with the childlike rapper and producer Cosmic Boy to create a new collaborative project under the name of ‘Areyouchildish’. On their single ‘Merry-go-round’, OLNL’s characteristic slurred pronunciation floats over Cosmic Boys’ uplifting melodic soundscapes, as they lament the immature behaviour of adults.
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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21-year-old Azamaan Hoyvoy is carving a niche by applying modern electronic production techniques to influences from RnB, funk, folk & jazz, creating a unique balance of these diverse musical attributes while still maintaining core soulful elements within his material. Currently working on his first EP with the use of vocal harmonies and funk-infused bass lines over minimalistic percussion, Hoyvoy is a member of a burgeoning new generation of Indian artists to watch out for. His single ‘Taking Off’ taps into the wanderlust desires of an individual who travels all over the world in pursuit of spiritual experiences, capturing the emotion with searing vocal intensity supported by a rhythm section focused on boiling funk.
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Josman is on the rise. His latest offering ‘L’Occasion’ continues his upward momentum, following his favorite recipe: Eazy Dew on the beat and Marius Gonzales behind the camera. Once again, the alchemy is at its peak, as the Parisian rapper demonstrates a new panel of flows, flexing his technical ability over old-school style production. The track is the third single from his forthcoming debut album ‘J.O.$’, due September 14th.
Innanet James has been keeping things lowkey for a minute now. Following the breakout success of his 2016 debut project ‘Quebec Place’ and its hit single ‘Summer’, the Maryland rapper has taken his time to perfect his follow-up record, and the 22-year-old does not disappoint with his long-awaited return. ‘Bag’ is an undeniable banger from the first kick drum, as James flows effortlessly over soulful keys and a playful trap percussion infused with a bossa nova rhythm, serving to build the excitement for his forthcoming EP slated to feature the likes of Pusha T, Rexx Life Raj and Mac Ayres.
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Vallerie Muthoni raps with the conviction of legends like Foxy Brown and “Left Eye” Lisa Lopes. Delivering subversive content and controversial quips with a smile, laughs and cracks jokes in a collection of dialects, setting up stories in English before the punchlines come in Swahili, drawing listeners into her youthful world and then hitting them with a wisdom that belies her years. Collaborating on the playful energetic, track “Brown Suga”, producer Kahealbeats brings out the best in Muthoni, demonstrating his ability to enhance and evolve his artists’ vocal delivery as Muthoni finds melodic pockets in his hard-hitting beat. “Brown Suga” is the first release off of Muthoni’s upcoming EP “the Wavey Soul.”