Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Best New Albums - Week 13 2017

The best albums that were released this past weekend include releases by Wu Tang Clan rapper Raekwon, Atlanta Hip Hop producer Mike WiLL Made-It, RnB crooner Trey Songz, Washington DC rapper Goldlink and talented duo Mansionz. All are available to stream below.

Mansionz - Mansionz

Mansionz is made up of multi talented duo Mike Posner and blackbear, who sing, produce and write their own songs. The two interchange the lead role with blackbear being taking up lead vocalist on much of the first half of the album and Mike Posner primarily takes the lead on the second half. Some songs have two parts, which on songs like “A Million Miles” feels like a bonus round. Mansionz’s self titled new album is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “My Beloved”, “STFU”, “A Million Miles”

GoldLink - At What Cost

At What Cost is a decent album giving us Goldlink’s unique brand of Hip Hop, which encompasses RnB, dance music and of course Hip Hop. His vocals fall somewhere between singing and rapping, mixing melody with his raps resulting in a style that stands out, especially in this era of copycat rappers. GoldLink’s new album At What Cost is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “Have You Seen That Girl?”, “Meditation”, “Herside Story”, “Crew”

Raekwon - The Wild

Raekwon’s new album The Wild is full of boom bap production, soul samples and Raekwon’s trademark detail heavy and story orientated bars. The album’s opener, “This is What It Comes To”, is a good example of how good Rae can still sound when everything’s on point. Unfortunately though much of the album falls flat and is forgettable. Raekwon’s new album The Wild is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “This is What It Comes To”, “Nothing”, “Marvin”

Mike WiLL Made-It - Ransom 2

Pretty soon into the album it became evident that the production is far better than the rapping. Lil Yachty struggles and fails miserably to bring bars above nursery rhyme level on “Hasselhoff” and it basically doesn’t get better. Even though probably the top rapper at the moment Kendrick Lamar pops up on “Perfect Pint”. This should have just been an instrumental album. Mike WiLL Made-It’s new album Ransom 2 is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “W Y O (What You On)”, “Nothing is Promised”

Trey Songz - Tremaine

The opening lyrics to “The Sheets... Still” pretty much some up Trey Songz’s new album Tremaine, “this ain't no "all up in your phone, tryna see what's going on" love song, noo/This that turn your phone off, this that do it 'til you can't no more, oh.” The album isn’t really one to put on and play when on your own, if you know what I mean, as it’s a highly sexual one. Trey Songz’s new album Tremaine is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “Nobody Else But You”, “Playboy”, “What Are We Here For”

Last Week: Best New Albums - Week 12 2017

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Best New Albums - Week 12 2017

The best new albums to be released this past weekend include Drake's latest offering More Life, Rick Ross' new album Rather You Than Me, Frances' debut album Things I've Never Said and UK Garage super group TQD's UKG. You can listen them and the other best new albums below, in full.

Drake - More Life
Following several delays Drake dropped his latest project (or playlist as he calls it) titled More Life. The project includes a variety of genres including Hip Hop, RnB, UK Funky, and Afrobeats. There’s also a heavy UK influence with London rapper Giggs featuring on two songs, Jorja Smith is featured on “Get it Together” as well as Grime MC Skepta and there’s even a song titled “Gyalchester”. More Life is easily the best album to be released over the weekend even though some of the songs don’t feel complete and it feels more like a mixtape. More Life is also available to stream on Apple Music.

Frances - Things I've Never Said
While it’s good to hear Frances show some variation by switching up the tempo on a few songs, it’s on the ballads that she sounds best. “Let it Out” and “Don’t Worry About Me” still sound great almost a year after their release and that’s a testament to Frances’ songwriting and singing talents. Things I've Never Said is also available to stream on Apple Music

Royal T, DJ Q, and Flava D link up to from TQD, their debut collaborative album UKG is a brilliant reminder that UK Garage isn’t dead. The songs are largely up beat feel good instrumentals with small vocal samples, with the sole vocal feature being P Money on “Ghosts”. Highlights include the brilliantly named “A Letter to EZ” and “Baked Beans”. TQD’s UKG is UK Garage production at it’s best. UKG is also available to stream on Apple Music

Bonkaz - Quality Control 2.0
One thing that’s evident on Quality Control 2.0 is that Bonkaz can rap, very well. The opening intro track is a taster of his abilities with lines like, “Rappers like Slazenger, they make the same old racket.” While his ability at writing stand out bars is his greatest strength and songwriting ability shines on songs like “Easier”, on which he speaks about depression. Quality Control 2.0 is also available to stream on Apple Music.

Rick Ross - Rather You Than Me
Rather You Than Me is remarkably, Miami rapper Rick Ross’ ninth studio album. His inability to write good choruses or expand beyond the trademark (and now dated) Rick Ross beat is evident on poor songs such as “She on My Dick”. Rick Ross has a smooth flow, but when mixed with his slow orchestral beats this album gets boring very quick. Not leaving much to enjoy. Rather You Than Me is also available to stream on Apple Music.

Zara Larsson - So Good
The thing about pop music is much of it is safe, bland and emotionless. The same can be said for Zara’s ironically titled debut album So Good. Even though many of the songs are about relationships, much of the album lacks emotion. Previous singles “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You” are however two of the album’s better songs. Not sure why anyone would listen to this in its entirety. So Good is also available to stream on Apple Music.

ANOHNI - Paradise EP
ANOHNI’s Paradise EP is one of the most exciting new releases this week. Not because it’s an EP full of bangers (because it’s certainly not) but because it’s not safe, bland or generic. The production doesn’t sound like every other song that you’ll hear on the radio, you can feel the pain in ANOHNI’s haunting voice and most importantly: the music sounds good. Paradise is a dark, emotive and (much needed) experimental take on pop that is well worth a listen if you can handle its bleakness. ANOHNI’s Paradise EP is also available to stream on Apple Music.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Best New Albums - Week 8 2017

The best of this week’s releases includes JONES’ Acoustic EP, Future’s self titled album, Jonwayne’s Rap Album Two and Mila J’s Milaulongtime mixtape. Listen to them and more in full below.


London singer songwriter Cherie Jones aka JONES’ Acoustic EP is splendid. The eight song EP contains acoustic versions of previous singles like “Indulge”, “Hoops” and “Wild” along with an acoustic cover of Calvin Harris’ “How Deep is Your Love”. The EP is a great introduction to the singer, whose songs sound even better when stripped back. Jones' Acoustic EP is aslo avilable to stream on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “Hoops”, “Wild”, “Becoming”

Mila J - Milaulongtime (Mixtape)

Mila J released her Milaulongtime mixtape on Valentine’s Day as a surprise.  The seven track RnB mixtape shares the same name as her snapchat handle Milaulongtime. Looks like it’s only available to stream on Soundcloud for the moment  though.
Best Songs: “Fuckboy”, “Yesterday”, “The Long Way”

Future - Future

There’s some bangers on Future’s new self titled album, but if you’re not keen on basic, formulaic rap then you’re not going to enjoy it. Future’s new self titled album is also available to stream on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “Good Dope”, “Zoom”, “Mask Off”

Jonwayne - Rap Album Two

Admittedly I wasn’t too familiar with Jonwayne’s music before listening to his latest release, Rap Album Two. Before that the only John Wayne I knew of was the one that featured in Hollywood Westerns. This one is a skilled technical rapper, that's a brilliant alternative to the dumbed down rap music of today. Jonwayne's Rap Album Two is also available to stream now on Apple Music.

Jidenna - The Chief

Jidenna brings you a bland, generic brand of pop music with an RnB sound. Not only can Jidenna sing but he can also rap, frequently mixing the two throughout the album. The best example of his rapping abilities is the album’s crudley titled penultimate song “White Niggas”. There’s a few good songs but not enough to warrant listening to this album in full. Jidenna's new album The Chief is also available to stream on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “Helicopters/ Beware”, “The Let Out”, “Safari”

Bebe Rexha - All Your Fault: Pt 1 EP

Bebe Rexha’s brand of RnB is very upbeat and has a strong dose of Pop, much like her new EP’s lead single “I Got You”. She’s clearly going to have a massive year and her songwriting has alot to do with why. There will be a follow up to Bebe’s All Your Fault: Pt 1 EP to be released in April, let’s just hope that it’s a little more adventurous than part 1 is. Bebe Rexha's All Your Fault: Pt 1 EP is also available to stream now on Apple Music.
Best Songs: “I Got You”, “Gateway Drug”, “Bad Bitch”

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Best New Albums - Week 7 2017

This week’s best new album is Devlin’s The Devil In, if you’re not familiar with him or haven’t heard it yet listen to it in full below along with Nines’ new album One Foot Out, Lupe Fiasco’s new album DROGAS Light and the best new EPs including SiR’s Her Too EP and Laura White’s The Painted Door EP,

Lupe Fiasco - DROGAS Light

Lupe Fiasco’s DROGAS Light is probably his best release since his 2009 mixtape Enemy of the State: A Love Story. Like the mixtape, DROGAS mixes the current sound (drill) with Lupe’s master lyricism, which is far easier to enjoy than any of his recent albums. Anyone for the heavy version of this?
Best Songs: “Dopamine Lit (Intro)”, “Promise”

Nines - One Foot Out

Nines’ raps are probably less fictitious than your average rapper considering his rap sheet but his lowkey, lazy delivery makes this fifteen track album feel like it’s far longer. Shame that.
Best Songs: “High Roller”, “Trap Music”

SiR - Her Too EP

SiR is the newest artist to join Top Dawg Entertainment and now counts Kendrick Lemar, SZA and ScHoolboy Q as label mates. Like them he’s a talented and exciting artist, his latest release the Her Too EP is the follow up to his Her EP which was released late last year. It’s a smooth and soulful EP that you’re bound to have on repeat after your first play.
Best Songs: “Ooh Nah Nah”, “SUGAR”

Laura White - The Painted Door EP

Wigan singer songwriter Laura White’s The Painted Door EP is well worth a listen. She sounds alot like a younger, poppier version of Amy Winehouse. She makes pop music with a bit of soul and RnB thrown in. Much of this EP would be a staple on daytime radio of their were made on the quality of the music alone.
Best Songs: “That Girl”, “Unbelievable”

BEST NEW ALBUM: Devlin - The Devil In

London Grime MC turned rapper teamed up with Term X Rachet for his third studio album The Devil In. The independent route seems to have been a good mood for him as there aren’t any songs desperetaly yearning to be played on daytime radio. It’s just Devlin’s incredible lyrical ability on show alongside arguably the best production you’ll hear Devlin on to date. This is one the best rap releases of the 2017.
Best Songs: “Cold Blooded”, "Blow Your Mind", "Blue Skies"

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Best New Albums - Week 6 2017

The best of this week’s album releases include Sampha’s debut album Process, Big Sean’s concept album I Decided. and Odd Future’s Syd’s brilliant solo debut FIN. Listen to them all, in full below.

Sampha - Process
It’s great to finally hear Sampha’s debut album following brilliant collaborations with the likes of Drake, Jessie Ware, Skepta and most notably SBTRKT. Process showcases his ability for writing wonderfully emotional songs, which are underpinned by soulful vocals. Sampha’s brand of soul is an exciting one encapsulating Dance, Pop, R&B, and acoustic music with a a forward thinking twist.
Best songs: “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”, “Kora Sings”, “Reverse Faults”, “Timmy’s Prayer”

Big Sean - I Decided.

I Decided. might just be Big Sean’s best album. The Detriot rapper sounds maturer and better skilled as a song writer on the album and the music is some of his best as a result. Songs like“Bounce Back” sound great as part of a random playlist, but are also a great fit into the concept album’s story. This is Big Sean’s best album, I've decided.
Best Songs: “Bounce Back”, “Jump Out The Window”, “Owe Me”

Best New Album: Syd - FIN
Syd finally steps out on her own having been a founding member of the Odd Future collective and one half of The Internet. Her debut album FIN is a stunning one that can be enjoyed in its entirety from front to back. Better yet songs like “Body” will sound great when she performs them live, I can’t wait until Syd comes back to the UK!
Best Songs: “Know”, “Smile More”, “Body”

Previously: Best New Albums - Week 5 2017

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Best New Albums - Week 5 2017

The best of last week's album releases includes Kehlani's long awaited debut album SweetSexySavage, XL's Urban compilation album New Gen, Lancashire duo Aquilo's brilliant debut album Silhouette and Atlanta Hip Hop trio Migos' latest album Culture. You can listen to them all below.

Migos - Culture
Much like sweets (candy), Migos' music is good and enjoyable in small doses. One whole sitting or more of the album and you’ll feel like you’ve overdosed on thoughtless rap music. Even though it’s only thirteen songs in length and just under an hour. Migos' Culture is a great album to play when getting ready for a night out, on the commute or in the car. If you’re not a fan of Atlanta rap trio Migos’ trademark stop start flow then this definitely isn’t the album for you though.

Kehlani - SweetSexySavage
SweetSexySavage is the debut album from Cali singer songwriter Kehlani Parrish. She's been making good music for a while now, so it's great to see her follow up her mixtapes with a decent album. From pop ("CRZY") to slow jams ("Everything Is Yours") to Kehlanhi's gangsta side it's all here.

New Gen - New Gen
Compilation album from New Gen featuring some of London’s most exciting Urban acts including AJ Tracey, Avelino, Stefflon Don and 67. A taste of what London Urban music sounds like in 2017, hopefully we get an annual release of this compilation.

Best Songs: Jevon - "Man of The Hour", Stefflon Don & Avelino - “Money Haffi Mek”, AJ Tracey & J Warner - “My Ways”

Aquilo - Silhouette
I had to save the best til last: Silhouette the stunning debut album by Lancashire duo Aquilo. It's an album that you can enjoy in it's entirety, from start to finish. There's no filler here, it's strictly all killer. I could have included far more songs below than I did, but I'll let you find the other gems on the album.

Best songs: "Never Hurt Again", "You Won't Know Where You Stand", "I Gave It All"