2021 : Week One
Nashville's Reaux Marquez Begins Year with 'NO RENEGADES' Exclamation Point
Released: Jan 1, 2021
From the always in motion mind of Reaux Marquez, comes his first-of-the-year exclamation point, NO RENEGADES. Working towards the release of a larger project, the poetic Nashville lyricist first dropped NO DECOYS at the tail end of November – a mirroring 4-track EP putting both range and ubiquity into focus. With his new short, his focus remains intact, albeit even more wide ranging. A meandering exhibition of his lyrical, melodic, and thematic exploits, NO RENEGADES never adheres to one sound or one style, but instead aims to give a listener – whether an established fan of Reaux and the Nashville scene, or a new listener altogether – a glimpse into the breadth with which he’s curating his one-of-a-kind sound. And it achieves exactly that.
Folding in the likewise wide-ranging artistry of fellow Nashvillians: Brian Brown, Lul Lion, and producer, A.B. Eastwood, NO RENEGADES boasts more creative depth than most projects twice its length. Through the permeable poetry of Reaux Marquez who never sidesteps his lyrical bread & butter, extends the NO RENEGADES line of variable nuance to the fluid melody and relatable penmanship of Brian Brown and the crystalline vocalism of Lul Lion. And through the breadth that their multiple stylistic ranges bring to the table, the project emerges more than a glimpse into the roads where Reaux Marquez is taking his unique sound, but as a micro-thesis on the Nashville scene at large where stylistic expectation of hip-hop and Neo-Soul need not apply, because Reaux’s experimentalism is the driving underline of its actual aesthetic.
Ciscero & Oddisee Team Up for Anthemic, Timeless 'Beautiful Mind'
Released: Jan 5, 2021
Ciscero had himself a 2019. And the D.C. artist is already starting 2020 off with a bang. Beautiful Mind is his latest, and it comes on the tail end of a year that, among other releases, brought to life the funk of Masego collaboration, Good to Know, and the anthemic old-school hip-hop nuance of Poetry Jam with Foggieraw. True to that lineage of intriguing, one-of-a-kind collabs, Beautiful Mind folds in fellow DMV rapper, Oddissee, and the results are buttery smooth.
Both rappers – maybe it’s a D.C. thing – flow with the effortless poetry of a spoken word artist, yet with the raw lyrical fluidity of the underground. Together, they make Beautiful Mind not only a timeless exhibition of hip-hop, but another reason we can’t stop looking towards where this is all leading for Ciscero and for the budding DMV scene at large.
Nao & Adekunle Gold Drop UK Neo-Soul West African Highlife Crossover Anthem, 'Antidote'
Released: Jan 7, 2021
Perhaps when it comes to the UK – when it comes to Neo-Soul or even vocalism at large – Nao is the artist whose sound boasts the most unique aesthetic. Unparalleled in range with a natural leaning to the incredibly high, her music bleeds with emotion and intrigue at every turn.
Perhaps when it comes to Nigeria – when it comes to Highlife music or even the West African Cultural Renaissance at large – Adekunle Gold is the name most synonymous with the unique directions its artistry continues to take everything from music to fashion and beyond. Unparalleled in reach and the way that reach is tethered to the roots of Nigerian cultural movements and to the future, his music shines with the inescapable wave of everything creatively Nigerian.
Together, their collaborative single, Antidote is as wide-ranging and unique as is to be expected. More than anything it’s a UK Neo-Soul West African Cultural Renaissance crossover jam finding its happiest of mediums as an anthemic love song. And for all the things that Antidote weaves together and all the balance it finds along the way, the single is a hopeful sign that 2021 will brim with the same kind of smoothness, understanding, creativity, and love.