JD Era - Break From Toronto (Remix)

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Toronto native (and Raekwon signee) JD Era comes through with a remix of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s single, in another show of appreciation for the young R&B star’s excellent track (and album).

The instrumental is left largely intact, save for a couple of looped sections to extend it out a little further, which is no bad thing as the crunching bassline of this one has yet to grow boring in my world. JD’s raps aren’t bad at all, and though (much like MeLo-X’s remix) they aren’t as addictive as the rap/singing hybrid that PND offers, as an independent performance it’s a good showing: the flows are varied yet with an unerring tightness, and the raps themselves are packed with touches of cool and flashes of aggression. Lyrically, it’s the expected arrogant raps, as per the original, and it’s fair to say that JD Era does make the most of what he’s working with here, in terms of the thunderous production. Worth a go if you liked the original, or if the original was “too R&B” for you.

Like (of Pac Div) - Sao Paulo

Mibbs dropped an EP earlier this year, and now Like comes through with some solo work, letting loose a feelgood jam that’ll have you longing for the summer.

A quick blast that comes in at just over 2:30, Like’s supplied with a jazzy production built on distorted keys, punchy percussion and a dash of strings that combines into a bright, vintage soundscape oozing a nostalgic summer appeal. I daresay there’s an infusion of a 90s hip-hop vibe running through this one (or maybe it’s just that it evokes the same memories and imagery that Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith’s Summertime does), but in any case it’s an excellent production that would light up any summer.

Like’s performance is strong throughout, flipping between his husky singing voice and a few sharp, slick raps for a good mix of elements. The raps are easygoing and descriptive, performed as “a letter about the city“, whilst the airy singing on the hook is a lovely complement to the uplifting production, and does a great job in finishing off that sunny day feel. Add the bright, positive video to the mix and you’ve got an excellent dose of summer vibes to warm you up until the season rolls around.

Kendrick Lamar - Poetic Justice (Vestige Remix)

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Consider this one of those odd situations where I’ve been listened to a track for quite a while, but just forgot to share it with everyone. It’s been a fixture in my playlists for a couple of months after stumbling on it completely accidentally (it got automatically played by Soundcloud right after I was listening to something else), and offers a nice refresh of the popular single from Kendrick’s GKMC album.

The original’s production wasn’t exactly lacking in gentle or smooth qualities, but this takes those elements and really enhances them a great deal. The entire original beat is stripped out, and in its place come airy, delicate synths, feather-light piano touches and light, unobtrusive percussion- it combines into a relaxing production that feels excellently suited to a summer evening. Kendrick and Drake’s raps were far from aggressive on the original incarnation, and hence here their laidback qualities are enhanced even further, with the production infusing a more easygoing vibe into their flows and vocal work, versus the occasional jagged edges (not a criticism) found in the Janet Jackson-sampling source work. Definitely worth giving a go, and a simple yet effective twist on the enjoyable original.

Flying Lotus - Ideas + Drafts + Loops (Compilation)

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To celebrate reaching 300k followers a few days back, FlyLo let loose of a .zip file full of remixes, draft tracks, loops, unreleased material and much more for his evidently growing fanbase. Given the amount of material some artists sit on (looking at you Dre), it makes you wonder why more acts don’t just do the same with tracks they never intend on doing much else with, though in fairness recieving this from someone the calibre of Flying Lotus at least comes with the comfort that even his cast-offs will be good material.

Plenty of his previous collaborators are invovled, from Thundercat to Earl Sweatshirt, whilst it seems the remix of Kanye West’s Black Skinhead has been one of the releases from the pack gaining the most traction thus far. Add to that the inclusion of material from his “side project” as Captain Murphy, and you’ve got plenty of potential contained in this archive, and enough to keep fans going until the next album. That being said, there’s another of these generous offerings planned before his next LP release- we’re basically spoilt.

Flying Lotus – Ideas + Drafts + Loops

MeLo-X-Break From Flatbush

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PARTYNEXTDOOR’s self-titled album/mixtape is easily one of the most underrated projects this year, and whilst Break From Toronto was recently given the video treatment, it’s probably fair to say that amongst those who did enjoy PND’s project, that track gets a little underappreciated as it’s rather short. Nonetheless, MeLo takes it for a spin here, and gives some extra shine to what is an excellent production.

No surprise with the formula: the atmospheric yet bassy sound of the original is completely intact, and MeLo just chooses to kick some rhymes over the top, throwing forth some fairly solid work that works well with the slow pace of the production. Whilst it’s missing that mix of both rapping and singing that PND offers, MeLo’s raps are generally clever and he switches through a handful of flows to offer a little variety. Nothing complicated, but a good remix and nice appreciation for an overlooked gem. MeLo’s GOD: Pièce de Résistance is available now.