2021 : Week Three

K. Forest’s ‘Bad Neighbors’ is an Expectedly Emotional Jam from R&B’s Most Underrated Force
 

 Released: Jan 15, 2021 

Brimming with his emotionally flooded, register waving signature, K. Forest is back with Bad Neighbors. It’s the Toronto vocalist’s first single of the year, and as expected, it’s an experimental R&B vibe worthy of the nuanced aesthetic come to be famous in his city. There is something eternally anthemic in K. Forest’s sound. Perhaps it’s the lustful tales of encounters that soundtrack rainy drives of reminiscence on situationships past; perhaps it’s the unique range of his vocally dominated, electronically nuanced R&B; perhaps it’s the raw emotion with which he infuses every moment of his music. Whatever it is, Bad Neighbors has it, too.

 

Riding the rails of a low-key, dark beat, K. Forest’s many high keys, potent sensual penmanship, and effortless flow in and out of the crooned and the more corralled, rap-oriented make Bad Neighbors nothing of not another damn good track from one of the more underrated and boundary-breaking names in modern R&B music.

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dvsn Tell their Story Backwards with Introductory A-Side Add-on, ‘Amusing Her Feelings’
 

 Released: Jan 15, 2021 

A culminative moment for Toronto’s dominant duo, dvsn, Amusing Her Feelings is an exclamatory point of well-rounded storytelling at the intersection of their ever-evolving, experimental, and yet utterly timeless brand of vocally dominated, keyboard infused Rhythm & Blues music. An introductory prelude chapter released behind 2020’s A Muse In Her Feelings, but meant to be played on its frontside, Amusing Her Feelings continues the stories of love, lust, and loss that they began telling with their 2016 debut, Sept 5th. And yet, tied to the acclaimed 2020 album, this 4-track inclusion is something of an unreleased A-Side to a greater R&B story that fans of the genre, and fans outside of its grip altogether, are sure to find both tantalizing and enthralling, especially when listened to it fully attached to its second half.

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Australia’s Electro-Soulstress, Esmé Takes Cues From Brooklyn with Debut EP
 

 Released: Jan 19, 2021 

Australia’s Esmé travelled to Brooklyn in 2018 to birth the so-titled debut EP brimming with the barrage of sounds she found there. Rooted in Neo-Soul and Jazz just as she is in Bass and Trap, the young electro soulstress never delivers anything quite expected. Instead, her mosaic is simply hers. As her vibrantly high tones and jazz-oriented vocalism weave in and out of electronically nuanced production from a flurry of producers, her aesthetic lands in a space of nondescript independence, in which she seems to thrive.

 

The Brooklyn EP folds in her myriad influence, while also leaving her starkly removed from other electronic vocalists by way of her uniquely soulful register. The result is something of a difficult EP to nail, down, though it’s in equal breath, an effortless and fluid project to listen to. For any fans of any of the stylistic adherences mentioned above, there is something – perhaps some things – to find enthralling and ultimately immersive in Esmé’s experimentally curated debut.

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The BlackSon Squeezes all the Bars & Bass Possible into 90-Second Short, ‘Uncle Fester’
 

 Released: Jan 19, 2021 

Lyrically dynamic doesn’t really cut it as a descriptor for Nashville’s The BlackSon. There are more than simple bars. There’s energy, there’s angst; there’s vibrant punchlines and violent braggadocio. He curates his sound for a specific vibe, and does more with a 90-second track than most modern artists are able to squeeze into a full EP. It all comes back to his innate energy – his hard-nosed aesthetic that makes each and every The BlackSon track a fiery exhibition of lyricism at an intersection with something indefinable and unteachable. Just listen to Uncle Fester.

 

Overtop a grungy, basement, bass-ridden beat, The BlackSon inoculates a listener off the bat with a meditative flow and a whole lot of wordplay that doesn’t cut until the track ends a minute-and-a-half later. But, with no wasted space and more music certainly on the way riding the backs of his calls for prolificity at the end of the track, it’s another must-listen for anyone following the Nashville scene, and anyone looking simply for some hard-hitting, lyrically-focused rap.

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Kelechi Takes Lyrical Flight and Airs Grievances with New Single, ‘Get High’
 

 Released: Jan 21, 2021 

Maybe 2021’s early prolific standout, Kelechi has been releasing weekly singles putting on display the range of his artistry. Continuing a jarring pace of release dating back to last year, the Atlanta artist who transcends hip-hop and highlife takes from his West African roots, is always hip to something unexpected with each and every single. And as for Get High, it’s a must listen for any fan of his, and any fan of hip-hop.

 

Though also an adept vocalist and a fluid artist exploring the positivist vibes that come in tow with his Nigerian influence, Kelechi’s rap-oriented takes carry an edge. They seem like the space for him to outlet his energy, holding nothing back from his flow to his lyricism. A hard-nosed airing of the grievances against anyone who couldn’t connect his Nigerian and Atlantan roots, Get High does the bidding for him, applying to both camps in a way that only Kelechi – whose transcendent approach to stylistic merging speaks of his broad background – could conjure.

 

‘All I ever did was do me, and them n****s mad.’

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