2021 : Week Two

VanJess Team Up with Jimi Tents & Garren for Retrofuturistic R&B Banger, 'Curious'

 Released: Jan 8, 2021 

When a new delivery comes from the unmistakably retro nuance of VanJess – a timeless R&B duo whose aesthetic also draws from the futuristic electronic explorations of modern production – it’s always a celebration. And that’s because, for any fan of R&B, VanJess pull from the best that the now and the then have to offer, utilizing the duality not only in their eras of influence, but also in their dichotomy of roots. You see, VanJess call home to two places: Nigeria and California. And from that breadth of background, too, comes a breadth of understanding stylistic range. The result? Anything they put their craft to is a staple of R&B through the ages.

 

VanJess’s latest is Curious. Curiously slow danceable. Curiously addicting. Curiously tethering the timelessness of the Golden Era to the crispness of the electronic age. And curiously enough, with the additions of Jimi Tents and Garren, the single is another crisp image of perfection from VanJess, who continue to prove themselves a staple of the modern R&B scene.

 Related: 

Chicago's Just Adam & Flex are Simple with the Beat, Complex with the Rhymes for New Single, 'Birds'

 Released: Jan 8, 2021 

Alongside friend and collaborator, Flex, with whom he connected for his 2020 project, March’s most standout track, Diamonds, Just Adam is again effortlessly curating a low fidelity feel. He’s doing it with Birds – a new single built on the most minimal of piano and bass beats, allowing both he and Flex to flex rap’s rawest pillars: rhythm and poetry. Truthfully, such a creative exhibition is nothing new for Just Adam who has been simplistically putting to paper, and subsequently to soundwaves, complex raps worthy of his ChiTown roots for years. But even for Just Adam, there is something special in his collaborative joints with Flex. It’s their juxtaposing voices, their harmonious ability to rhyme, and more than anything, their knack for immersing listeners not only in the worlds of their music, but in the seeming effortlessness of real rap.

 

With Birds, their fluid give-and-take is again on display, curating another easy-listening, any-time-of-day kind of timeless rap track, that begs for more from both Chicago emcees.

 Related: 

PSA : Langston Bristol & redveil are the Timeless Truth with New Single

 Released: Jan 8, 2021 

There is something undeniably old-school in the shared vibes between Detroit’s Langston Bristol and the DMV area’s redveil. Somewhere in their collaborative single, PSA, exists an aesthetic brimming with the kind of head-bobbing charm and effortlessness that used to soundtrack Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. And that timeless feel and positivist aesthetic is exactly what we love about it.

 

Though just breaching the two-minute mark, not a moment of PSA is wasted. From its very onset, a quirky, synth-fueled beat and an addicting chorus introduce the fluid transcendence of Langston Bristol floating from the rapped to the sung and back again. And by the time his verse sets in, PSA is nothing if not an announcement that the 21-year-old could have thrived in any hip-hop era.

 

Years even his younger, redveil - a rap phenom teen - is the perfect collaborative fit for PSA, whose own sound - put on full exhibition with last Summer’s Niagara - is also a rap-heavy, melodically endowed transcendence of the hip-hop spectrum through time.

 

At the end of the day, PSA is more than a single. For the two up-and-coming powerhouses, it’s an introduction into deeper canons that are both equally worth exploring for an fan of hip-hop’s past, present, or future. And with more on the way from Bristol soon - his new album, M-Side Odyssey 2 on the horizon - there couldn’t be a better time to become acquainted with his wide-ranging sound. (We strongly recommend his 2019 project, Y O O F from start to finish.)

 Related: 

Case Arnold's Flow Blooms with New Single, 'Flowers'

 Released: Jan 9, 2021 

The jazzy rap mosaic of Nashville’s Case Arnold has been a blooming exhibition for years. But more recently, with a smattering of singles last year, and now, too, in 2021, he’s been experimenting at an even wider scope that sees him defying genre altogether in favor of a more fluid meandering of style.

 

With latest single, Flowers, it’s all about the flow and rhyme – the rhythm and poetry. An instrumental beat from Dallas’s Carmine Prophets, some raw penmanship, an always emotional knack with his melodic breakdown, and an unmistakably signature delivery of it all, Flowers emerges as another necessary addition to the explosive collection of releases we’ve seen through the last year.

 Related: 

Emotional Oranges & Chiiild Connect for Ethereal Wintertime Jam, 'Bonafide'

 Released: Jan 12, 2021 

There is something about the word ethereal that just gets tossed all over the damn place in music journalism. But there’s something to the adjective, also, that is so fittingly perfect for some of the auditory aesthetics on which its plastered. For example: Bonafide – the new single from enigmatic atmosphere duo, Emotional Oranges and their new friend, Montreal’s equally unique Chiiild.

 

The track, like so much of the work to come from either side of the collaboration, is hard to speak on without weather-related descriptors. And to wit, it’s a synth-laden, deeply layered wintertime mosaic that breathes of fresh air and rides a foundation of funky bass. In a blendalline storm between the vocals of Emotional Orange’s leading soulstress and Chiiild’s breezy sonic silk, Bonafide is nothing if not a bonafide bit of electro-soul inventiveness.

 Related: