Miguel-Art Dealer Chic Vol. 3

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Miguel’s ADC series, and there’s no doubt that those who have given any or both of the previous instalments a try will hold Miguel in much higher regard as a result. Sadly, this is the final volume of the series but here’s to hoping that means there’s a full-length project on the way.

The three track EP opens with Party Life, a lively effort that stays true to its title, boasting a nice tempo alongside a scratchy bass and some catchy vocal for a good upbeat track that’ll make many playlists better. Ooh Aah! slows things down with an edgy guitar riff helping to create a punchy backdrop, whilst the slow pace of it all adds an intensity to the diverse vocal work, whilst Candles In The Sun lands takes another step away from the positivity of the opening track, as a somewhat dark and menacing production with often moody lyricism from Miguel. Another solid three-pack from Miguel: stream it here, or download it below.

Miguel-Art Dealer Chic Vol. 3

Usher-Lemme See ft. Rick Ross

Brand new single from the incomparable Usher, taken from his upcoming and much-anticipated Looking For Myself album. Riding the wave of popularity that Climax built, Usher grabs Rick Ross for the assist on this somewhat more ‘typical’ track.

The production is decent enough, and though the general vibe of it is relatively standard pop R&B stuff, some of the individual elements are enjoyable, with the fragments of sultry style adding a nice balance to some of the more mainstream melodies. Ush’s vocals are solid as ever, though certainly not as engaging or downright addictive as his performance on Climax, whilst Ross drops off a typically-braggadocios verse. Not a patch on Climax for me, but an OK single that might play well on the club scene.

Nas-The Don Video

I’ve had this song on repeat since its release, as have many other hip-hop heads, and Nas now comes through with the visuals for the lead single from Life Is Good.

Stepping away from the grittier videos that feature heavily in his back catalogue, this one is full of luxuries, lavish living and a general air of celebration that adds a little more affability and positivity to Nas’ generally-serious image. Themetically though, it’s nothing groundbreaking as once you look beyond the change in style, it’s essentially a standard hip-hop video, though credit for the stunning aerial shots of NYC that are interspersed throughout the clip.

A decent video though and it supplements the audio well enough. Be sure to grab the single on iTunes now.

Kid Cudi-Dennis, Hook Me Up With Some More Of This Whiskey!

Not a particularly snappy title eh?

Kid Cudi’s back on in his solo (dolo) lane, dropping off what could be material from Man on the Moon III, or possibly just some new material for the fun of it. After the successful WZRD experiment, he’s back to rapping on this one, coming through with a stop-start, stuttered flow that packs in some decent lyrical work, combining a little introspection with some eccentricity for a nice blend of content. Cudi’s also helmed the production on this one, serving up a beat with a slightly dark yet lively nature, as dramatic synth work accompanies bouncy bass work for a production that doesn’t nail itself to any particular genre. The raps match the alternative stylings of this difficult production well, and most Cudi fans will enjoy this one.

Childish Gambino Performs 4 New Songs

Winding up for his first post-Camp project with an upcoming mixtape, Childish Gambino performs a few tracks slated for the project.

The key notable is Gambino’s increased tenacity and aggression in comparison to his previous material, suggesting a departure from his lighter, more universally-friendly style, and you get the impression he’s embraced hip-hop a little more, rather than the more eclectic approach previously taken. Whilst narrowing your horizons isn’t usually a good move, there’s potential that this shift will lead to him being taken more seriously as a rapper, and may signal a lyrical change from the relatively samey content of Camp.

The tracks themselves vary in style, with the opener having a nice drive and intensity to it, whilst the second is the highlight courtesy of an addictive upbeat production. The third has a minimality that confidently puts all of the spotlight on the raps, whilst the final track has a Lex Luger-esque production coupled with some excellent flows, making for the most ‘typical’ hip-hop track of the quartet. Good diversity between the four, and I’m looking forward to that tape.

Purity Ring-Obedear

Every so often, I’ll take a chance on a track from an artist I’ve never heard of, or seen mentioned in any great detail in any media outlet, just to try and stumble upon something special. Often, it doesn’t come off but this is quite possibly one of the times it has.

The track opens with a surprisingly easygoing introduction, as a soft yet punchy electronic production saunters its way through your speakers, blending light and airy melodies with a hip-hop inspired percussion for a fresh and engaging instrumental. The fun doesn’t end there, as some solid vocals are thrown in on top, switching between an innocent softness to a more heightened emotional delivery, with both deliveries complimenting different elements of the production. A superb piece of electronic/alternative music that makes for a very easy listen.

Jadakiss-Paper Tags ft. Styles P, Wale and French Montana

A hard-hitting, grimey instrumental and 2/3 of the LOX? The combination promises much for the hip-hop heads, and it definitely delivers.

From Jada’s upcoming Consignment mixtape, the production has a real dark aura around it, blending some horror-esque melodies with pounding bass, sharp additional percussion and packaging them into a slow, menacing pace that enhances the atmosphere of the track. Wale opens the track with a disappointing verse, largely as his style doesn’t suit the beat at all, though Styles and Jada recover the song well with their verses, whilst French’s string of hook features continues here with another simple yet catchy chorus.

Christian Rich-Till Dawn

Having released a solid single a short while back, Christian Rich are back this time with a visual offering.

If Pharrell and/or The Neptunes didn’t produce this then they’ve strongly influenced the duo: the electronic-style production has a very strong Neptunes feel about it from start to finish, combining a base pop element with an infusion of alternative lashings for a great production that boasts energy, power and a touch of cool, making it one that could certainly be a favourite with the mainstream. The Autotune is initially a little offputting, but gradually it works well enough with the instrumental and the whispery nature of their vocals. Inevitably, the track would be better without it, but it works well enough.

The video’s a good accompaniment to the track, using a mostly-monochrome filter and general minimalism to take the audio away from feeling like a pop track and further into a less-definable realm. Worth a watch, worth a listen, and a duo to keep your eye on.

Mikill Pane-You Guest It EP

The ever clever Mikill Pane is back with an excellently-titled EP, drawing inspiration from the project that launched him to national fame, Ed Sheeran’s Collaborations EP, for a guest-packed effort of his own.

Mikill’s stock has risen considerably over the last 6 months, and that increase in stature is represented by the feature list reading like a who’s who of the UK music scene (and Katie Price, for some reason), as artists from a wide gamut of genres come together to help Mikill produce another reputation-boosting project, with Paloma Faith, Yasmin, Ed Sheeran, P Money and more making appearances. I’ve yet to dive into the music, but being the hugely consistent rapper that he is I’m sure the content will match the co-signs. Free grab courtesy of SB.TV below.

Mikill Pane-You Guest It EP

Wiz Khalifa-Work Hard Play Hard

The first single from Wiz’s upcoming O.N.I.F.C. album, and he’s started things off pretty well with this one. The general vibe and tone of the track is considerably more driven and mature than the lighthearted nature of his previous album’s work, and certainly more in line with the recent Taylor Allderdice mixtape, with a thumping instrumental that boasts a speaker-rattling low end, alongside a couple of lighter elements to retain some appeal to his core mainstream fans. In that vein, the hook is rather pop-oriented, so much so that it almost feels out of place amongst the more serious style that his verses emanate, though again that’s clearly to ensure his majority fanbase are catered to. Generally, it’s a pretty solid effort that will surely rack up some airplay.

Slaughterhouse-Hammer Dance Video

The Slaughterhouse machine is in full motion, and here goes the first video from their upcoming Welcome To Our House album. Hammer Dance is exactly the type of pulsating, driven hip-hop that fans expect from the foursome, and having given it some serious playtime upon the track’s emergence a little while back, the video release makes for a timely refresh of the track.

Opening with live footage that really sets the video off with some considerable energy, the video switches between a mixture of clips from live shows, backstage footage with several big name cameos (including some genuinely surprising ones), and some regular footage of each rapper performing their respective verse. It’s an uncomplicated, no frills video that pretty much nails the basic no-nonsense element of Slaughterhouse as a result, and is most definitely worth a watch for the hip-hop heads amongst you.


Yet another collective emerging from the Odd Future clan, as this time Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis get together as MellowHigh, putting a stoner spin on Hodgy and Left Brain’s MellowHype name.

Whilst their name may be light-hearted, the music certainly isn’t. Sporting an intense Lex Luger beat, Timbs showcases Hodgy and Domo in their most ‘serious’ light to date, as each rapper steps away from the OFWGKTA freeform carnage to lay down some slick, structured raps that will take many by surprise. The production has a real knock to it, with a driving percussion that is supported by little more than some ominous synth work, creating a simple and effective backdrop for both rappers to come through with some excellent flows, whilst the lyricism has a ‘regular’ hip-hop style for the most part, and as a result is far more accessible to the wider hip-hop audience. Arguably, this is one of the clan’s most rounded and audience-friendly tracks to date, and I’m really interested to see how this duo progress from here. Free grab below.


Asher Roth-Party Girl ft. Meek Mill

That sophomore album keeps getting delayed or re-titled. Set to be the lead single from Is This Too Orange?, despite various other ‘lead singles’ being released, and hopefully we’re finally getting Asher’s second LP.

An energetic one with a dance-influenced beat, blended with a sampled hook of Eddie Murphy’s Party All The Time, and I’m not entirely sold on this one. The sample is annoying, and the thudding electro-style bass in the verses feels like an unnecessary addition, whilst the mainstream vibe of the track causes Asher to take his clever raps down a peg to match the production, and hence what brings are somewhat diluted raps by his standards. The Meek Mill feature doesn’t quite come off either, with his style not a great match for this style of production both from a flow and vocal perspective, which leads to an awkward-sounding verse. I’ve always supported Asher, but this isn’t a good release by his standards and strikes me as a label-enforced single.

Sh*t You Forgot About: Episode 3

After a forced hiatus due to various other commitments, we can finally resume the latest weekly series from the OTU brain trust. I must admit, this is fast becoming my personal favourite series in OTU history, purely because it allows both yourselves and I to rediscover tracks that we either once loved or once forgot about, and that’s frankly a lot of fun.

Enough of the self-appreciation.

Click on below for another diversity-laden edition of SYFA, featuring a trio of prominent current mainstream names, alongside a couple of acts that have slipped away somewhat.

→ Continue Reading

A$AP Rocky-Goldie

Second A$AP blast of the day, and this one comes straight from Rocky’s upcoming debut album, LongLiveA$AP, with Rocky dropping off the first single today as promised.

Picking up from where LiveLoveA$AP left off, Rocky once again relies heavily on his style over substance, keeping things relatively uncomplicated and riding the Hit-Boy production crisply and with confidence, without ever really breaking a sweat. The beat is definitely a grower, thanks in part to a bevvy of small nuances that become more apparent with each listen, but mostly due to Hit-Boy’s hypnotising drum work and addictively airy melodies combining to good effect, whilst the bass snakes through various different ‘moods’ with great skill. A$AP Rocky’s key skill is his synergistic connection with an instrumental, and this is another fine example of that, with arguably more replayability than some of his back catalogue thanks to an instrumental that improves with every listen.

Linkin Park-Burn It Down

After their hugely disappointing A Thousand Suns album of 2010, Linkin Park look set to return on 26th June with Living Things, and have preceded that release with the first single Burn It Down.

Immediately concerning is the dance/electronic melody that opens the track, almost having a Calvin Harris-esque style, suggesting another turn down the wrong creative avenue. Thankfully, the song recovers quite sharply, bringing a little more meat and power courtesy of a thudding percussion and thundering guitar work on the hook, whilst Chester’s ever-harmonic yet angsty vocals compliment both the electronic elements and the rock core well, alongside Mike’s short rapped contributions which are enjoyable and certainly leave you wanting more from him. A stronger lead single than that of the last album, fingers crossed that the album will deliver in the same vein. Stream here, and grab it on iTunes next Monday.

R&B Fridays: Episode 144

Hurry, we forgot to put this out!

Quick! Stop reading this!

(One to catch up on: newcomer Jade Alston’s excellent Searching)

Go go go.
→ Continue Reading

Theophilus London and A$AP Rocky-Big Spender

This has been buzzed about for quite some time, and Theophilus finally comes through with his hotly-anticipated collaboration with fellow hipster favourite and NY native, A$AP Rocky.

The collaboration certainly comes off well, with the biggest notable being the surprisingly heavy vintage influence on the production. The Big Spender sample requires little background information, adding a heavy dose of classic cool to the track, and that foundation is embellished with horns and a laidback tempo, whilst a pounding bass and sharp claps infuse the hip-hop sensibility needed to work this old soul-esque production into a hip-hop environment. The raps are decent enough throughout, with both acts feeding off the natural charisma of the sample to deliver confident, easygoing performances that give the track a wholesome, well-rounded feel. Something very different, and that’s the best possible route for this collaboration.

The Audition announce UK EP release + live dates‏

After departing Victory Records in July of 2010, Chicago-based pop-punk band THE AUDITION is set to write their own history with the self-release of their brand new EP, titled ‘Chapter II’ on 11th June in the UK to coincide with appearances at the 2012 Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds, Herts and Wales. Backed by the support of their fans around the world, ‘Chapter II’ sees the band heading in a fresh direction and honing their signature sound into one that demonstrates a maturity and breadth evident in their earlier releases but not fully realized until now. The first single from the EP, the catchy ‘You Make Me Sick’ can be heard here. Click on for EP and tour details.

→ Continue Reading

OFF! Unveil 'Wiped Out' Music Video + European Tour Dates

OFF! have unleashed a music video to accompany the track ‘Wiped Out’, which will appear on the band’s forthcoming self-titled album – their first proper full-length. A slew of European live dates is also plotted, including headline performances across the continent (with seven dates in the UK), as well as festival sets at the likes of Primavera Sound in Barcelona.

The album ‘OFF!’ will drop on May 7th, 2012 via Vice Records. Barreling through sixteen high intensity tracks in as many minutes, the album demonstrates the LA quartet had still further to ratchet up their visceral sonic maelstrom, delivering a “dark party” soundtrack of unleashed exasperation and bitterness executed with a rigorous precision that more than lives up to the cavalcade of accolades heaped upon them so far by the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian, NPR, Kerrang!, LA Times, among many others.

Click on below to check out their tour dates!
→ Continue Reading

Azad Right-Intuition

The talented Azad Right is back, and he’s got another excellent sample in tow. Having introduced himself with the assistance of The xx’s Intro, Azad’s latest effort borrows from yet another UK favourite as he selects Jamie Woon’s Spirits for accompaniment here.

Azad utilises the natural melancholy of the production superbly throughout this one, conveying disappointment, sadness and negativity in his voice to emphasis the failed relationship-centric lyricism. There’s plenty of relatability here, and the clear personal touch in the lyrics and the delivery makes the most of the dark synths and sombre percussion, with the overall end product being another top effort from the fast-rising rapper.

Jade Alston-Searching

Searching is the first of a series of visuals by emerging R&B singer/songwriter Jade Alston. A fan-favorite from Jade’s recently released FreEP Single On A Saturday Night, Searching was written by Jade Alston and produced by MPIII Productions.

Smoothed out production and strong vocals, this soulful effort from the upcoming Jade Alston will undoubtedly make for a refreshing listen to many R&B/soul heads.

The synergy between the vocal and production work is strong throughout, maintaining a mellow flavour without excessively capping Jade’s natural energy and vocal strength. The lyrical work is simple and effective, going with a very honest, open approach that has a couple of nice twists, particularly in the hook, whilst the video efficiently serves its purpose of giving Alston some camera time to get viewers familiar. Definitely a talent to watch, and you can grab her full EP (with this track on) for free here.

Casey Veggies-Customized Greatly Vol. 3

Slowly, Casey Veggies has won me over. His recent features have been very enjoyable, standing out on tracks alongside some well-known peers, whilst the small amount of his own material I’ve caught over the last couple of months has been equally likeable.

Whilst my personal favourite, his horn-driven and appropriately-titled F*cking Awesome, didn’t appear to make the tape, there’s plenty more to get stuck into from a rapper who’s surely on the cusp of exposure to much bigger audiences. A couple of the features here will certainly help, as the likes of Jhene Aiko and the Odd Future clan get involved to back up Casey’s project. Grab this for free below.

Casey Veggies-Customised Greatly Vol. 3

R&B Fridays: Episode 143

After a few weeks away, R&B Fridays is back and swollen with star quality for this week’s edition. Of course, in keeping with tradition, it’s also released on a Sunday. Nice to be back into routine eh?

Not too much to catch up on in terms of related audio posts, but there are a few videos that’ll interest the R&BF crowd, including Rita Ora’s debut visual, Preeya Kalidas’ latest effort, and a couple of new clips from Drake’s Take Care. Head on below to compliment that visual feast with some audio refreshment.
→ Continue Reading

Preeya Kalidas - Love Between Us ft. Davinche [Video]

Preeya’s recently finished her second (or third?) stint at Eastenders and returns to the music scene with this new single. Featuring one of my favourite UK producers in Davinche, the production on this track doesn’t disappoint. The song is about Preeya trying to keep her private life just that, private.

Drake - Take Care ft. Rihanna [Video]

The second, and probably more anticipated, video release from Drake sees him deliver visuals for his huge collaboration with Rihanna. Seen by many as the headline track from the album of the same name, this is a mainstream smash hit.

Personally this song got played out very quickly, but I’m sure there’s lots out there who still enjoy it and will lap up the video, so enjoy!

Drake - HYFR ft. Lil' Wayne [Video]

The first of two new video releases from Drake this Easter weekend, this one for his collaboration with Lil’ Wayne.

Interestingly and quite bizarrely, this video takes place at a Bar Mitzvah!? Drake keeps in touch with his heritage, as he shows us how they do things, with friends: DJ Khaled and Trey Songz in attendance.

It’s quite weird to watch, but nice to see something different from a hip hop video.

Supa Dupa Fly @ Jazz Cafe - Friday 13th April

SDF has quickly become the monthly necessity in any 90′s hip-hop lovers diary. Since launching in March 2011, the events have gone from strength to strength, receiving features from the likes of The Guardian Guide, The Evening Standard, Time Out, The Metro, SB.TV and hosting acts including Rita Ora, Rizzle Kicks, Josh Osho & Stooshe. This month we’re hitting you with a live set from the awesome Conor Maynard. Expect to hear 90s Hip-hop from Dre, Snoop, KRS One, Wu-Tang, Nas, Bigge, Tupac & A Tribe Called Quest & RnB from TLC, Montell Jordon, 112, SWV, Salt N Pepa, Destiny’s Child & more.

Conor Maynard signed to EMI’s Parlophone, and caught the attention of Pharrell, who flew him out to his Miami pad at the weekend to work with him. The video to Can’t Say No, has notched up over a million views on Youtube.
Dj Emily Rawson is the brains behind Rock The Belles & Supa Dupa Fly. She is one of the most diverse dj’s on the scene and had played at everything from events for Mathew Williamson and Vogue to parties for Kanye West and support slots for Big Boi, Tinie Tempah and Eliza Doolittle.
The Digga Please? DJs will be spinning their 7″ collection of classic 90s hiphop. DJs, Shepdog and Kombine are collectors and purveyors of the finest golden era gems.

Queue jump advance tickets: £6 from jazzcafe.co.uk / www.rockthebelles.com – highly advised.
Concessions: £7 / £8 on the door
Time: 10.30pm-3am – arrival at 10.30pm is a must.
Address: The Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PG Transport: Camden Tube

Rita Ora - R.I.P. ft. Tinie Tempah [Video]

I find it hard to separate this track from Drake’s demo that leaked the other year. Obviously we were never supposed to hear the Drake version as he wrote it for a female lead in mind, but he did a damn good job of it! Once it had leaked I didn’t think we’d ever hear a singer take and finish it, but eventually it’s found its way to new Roc Nation signee, Rita Ora. Those who aren’t familiar with that name should know that she’s a British singer, who’s creating a lot of buzz at the moment, so get in on the hype now.

The video itself is nothing special but does well as support for a big single. I do think that getting Tinie Tempah in as a feature is a good attempt to add some original flavour to a song many had rinsed when the Drake version had leaked. You can pre-order this single by clicking on below.

Rita Ora – R.I.P. ft. Tinie Tempah