click on a release's cover art to be directed straight to its accompanying write-up
2021 : Week Six
Raveena Channels 90's Idols for Fun-Loving, Summery Throwback, 'Tweety'
Evan Dale | Feb 5, 2021
Born of 90’s Summers drives with the windows down where artists from Corinne Bailey Rae to TLC were using their own blend of R&B and pop sensitivities to craft lighthearted, positivist radio anthems, Raveena’s latest single, Tweety is an ode to her roots and an homage to how capable she is at blending the past with her future. The New York soulstress is always evolving as an artist, utilizing her soft yet powerful voice to speak lessons of warmth, overcoming, and love into existence. And with Tweety, all of those things – particularly her musical evolution – are on display.
The track is inarguably different from Raveena, merging her usually understated and timeless instrumentation with a guitar riff ripped straight from the 90’s soundscape, and seeing her own signature vocal runs run headfirst into a more quickfire hip-hop adjacent approach to lyricism in the song’s second half. In result, Tweety is a welcomed and successful bit of warm-weather experimentation from one of R&B’s most unique and quickly rising names.
Freddie Gibbs & Schoolboy Q Team Up for Quick Lyrical Cut, 'Gang Signs'
Evan Dale | Feb 5, 2021
Freddie Gibbs and Schoolboy Q? Yes, please. The pair of immaculate lyricists and heavy-hitting icons are forces to be reckoned with by their own weight. And together, overtop a jazzy and minimalist beat for Gang Signs, their collaboration is even heavier than the sum of their parts. The single is a short one, but there isn’t any wasted space. Instead, with a pair of anthemic hooks and a verse each to call their own, Gang Signs emerges as a positivist, encouraging hip-hop hit from two of the mainstream’s most underrated names.
Where the collaboration could have been a nod to the more radio affluent space that their established fame grants them, Gang Signs is instead a timeless sort of rap classic, keeping their craft pure and their message simple.
Soft Glas Returns with Mellow Single 'Prudence & Poise'
Evan Dale | Feb 5, 2021
Brooklyn by way of Cuba, one listen to Soft Glas’s unique aesthetic and his wide-ranging roots make sense. A producer, a DJ, a vocalist, and one hell of an instrumentalist, his mellow and understated delivery is his always constant signature, while everything else about his sound flows between any expectation of genre, seeming to exist more on an emotional spectrum than a definitively stylistic one. And with his newest single, Prudence & Poise, the mood feels right for an iced coffee, a book, and a rooftop bathed in sun.
Soft Glas’s single preludes Spring but speaks directly to its accompanying emotionality, breathing of a series of guitar-driven breaks and more calming interludes of poetic calm. For more than four minutes, the track is an appeasement towards the emotional spectrum of anyone listening who finds moments of peace in the musical spectrums of Neo-Soul, Folk Indie, and Bedroom Pop. And for that, Prudence & Poise is poetic and perfectly timed for anyone looking for a soundtrack to simplicity in a particularly complex moment in history.
Topaz Jones Returns After Long Hiatus with Wide-Ranging Single, 'Herringbone'
Evan Dale | Feb 6, 2021
In 2018, Topaz Jones curated a telling trio of A-Side / B-Side releases that put on exhibition the breadth of his stylistic range, Juxtaposing one another, each inclusion on each two-track cut was fit with an equal and opposite exploration of his creative capability, setting the stage for him to navigate wherever the hell he wanted moving forward. Three years later, he’s been mostly silent and without the release of any personal music. But that changes now.
Herringbone is his first single since Black & White at the tail end of 2018, but Topaz Jones is still shining with a dynamic and broad understanding of his own sound. The single is an indefinable amalgamation of his many tantalizing lanes, weaving a deeply layered melody in and out of an electro-funk beat, and brimming with highlighting rap verses in a way that calls to mind an early Frank Ocean aesthetic. All around, it’s an expectedly unexpected release from one of modern music’s most mysterious names that we can never get enough of.
Thankfully for all of us, his album is supposedly on the way, spearheaded by Herringbone.
Marvin Dolo Taps Afro-Fusion & Caribbean Influence for New Single, 'Pop A Tag'
Evan Dale | Feb 9, 2021
Rooted in particularly West African influence by its beat and by its accompanying cadence, Marvin Dolo’s latest single, Pop A Tag is another experimental single from an artist in seemingly constant evolution with his own stylistic sense. You see, Marvin Dolo is an established name in the R&B underground, weaving his powerful, rangy register in and out of delicate keystrokes and heavy bass. But, he’s also much more than that. A thought-provoking lyricist who can seamlessly transcend the rapped and the sung, certain tracks from him – like 6th Gear pulled from 2018’s Crctr Dfcts – are anthemic, radio-worthy hip-hop hits.
So, it’s no surprise that he should try something new with his newest single. Though short, Pop A Tag is further proof that Dolo, whatever lane he’s traveling, is capable of making any song feel like a hit from an established hip-hop pop star willing to take some risks. And pulling particular influence from the underlining aesthetic of the West African Cultural Renaissance and the Caribbean, it’s further proof that he’s a wide-ranging force incredibly understanding of the modern happenings across his many collected soundscapes.
More than anything, Pop A Tag is a lighthearted, positive anthem brimming with some unique cultural takes.