Cassie-RockaByeBaby (Mixtape)

It’s been a very, very long time in the making but Cassie finally comes through with a full-length project, her first since her 2006 debut album. Hard to believe given the steady stream of loose material that’s emerged from her camp in the interim period, but it’s good that in that time she’s evolved and refined her sound into the laidback electro R&B stylings that this mixtape is expected to be filled with.

Features are plentiful here, with appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jeremih, Pusha T, Fabolous and more, whilst I’m sure the production credits (which aren’t listed) won’t be lacking either. Datpiff seem to be having problems, but expect the download to be available at the below link shortly.


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Cassie-Numb ft. Rick Ross (Video)

Cassie is finally gearing up to release a full-length project, the #RockAByeBaby mixtape (yeah, hashtagging titles caught on sadly), and with it set to land on 11th April we get the first set of visuals.

Slowly, she’s built herself as one of the better acts at delivering chillout R&B, via a unique blend of pop, soul and electro held together with mellow sensibilities. Combining airy synths with drifty melodies and pillowy bass, the production is a masterclass in laidback R&B, and full credit to whomever helmed the board work on this one. Credit goes to Cassie for picking a beat suited to her abilities, and her decision to vocalise in a slightly rapped delivery almost goes unnoticed due to her voice’s inherent synergy with the production, and hence her performance is one that definitely raises expectations for that tape. Even Ross’ verse is tolerable, with the production’s injection of sharper percussion supporting his rough tones nicely, whilst that drum line’s continued use further into the track helps maintain that momentum created.

The visual is as laidback as the audio, moving between minimal motion in monochromatics to short bursts of faded colour, with both capturing the mellow vibe of the song. Nothing else to distract you here, and it’s essentially camera time for Cassie surrounded by some smooth visual effects. A good audiovisual ahead of next week’s release.

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Cassie-All Gold, All Girls ft. Lola Monroe and Trina

The latest in a now-plentiful range of All Gold Everything remixes, but one with a nice twist of originality as 13 for ’13 nominee Cassie grabs Trina and Taylor Gang’s Lola Munroe for a remake.

The intro sets things off really well, as Cassie harmonises over the faint sounds of Trinidad’s single, before the track fully expands with her own take (though it could be both her and Lola) on the ubiquitous hook, with the double-layered vocals being an excellent choice of delivery. Trina’s verse is the highlight as far as the rap contributions go, bringing a heavy dose of much-needed intensity to proceedings, whereas Lola’s seems just a little too close to the flow style of Nicki Minaj’s more recent works, though there are glimpses of talent in there. Nice to get a remix of this that doesn’t rely on the original’s hook, and it’s at the very least one of the more unique takes on the track.

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13 for '13

2013 v3(2)

Year after year, we change the format of the end-of-year OTU round-up (routine is boring), and this year I’ve opted for a forward-looking feature rather than reflecting on what was a rather disappointing year in the music world. Many are desperate to have their tastes for 2013 dictated to them by either the BBC Sound of 2013 or MTV’s Brand New for 2013, but the interesting thing is we’ve been championing some of the acts they’ve thrust upon you this past week for quite some time. The rest of them we probably don’t care about.

So, here’s a chance to get clued up with some genuine upcoming talents that I expect to release more fantastic material this year and break through that next barrier of success, whether it’s into mainstream consciousness or slightly wider underground appreciation. Note that I didn’t say commercial success. Whilst some will certainly find that and it is a facet of their potential growth this year, it’s far from essential, and each selection here deserves to be so on quality and potential more than anything. Regular reader or not, you’ll have heard of several of these selections before and be assured those acts are here on merit, not because a label asked us to do so; something the aforementioned 2013 ‘predictions’ from the mainstream outlets can’t honestly claim. Let’s go. → Continue Reading

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Cassie-Trilogy Collection

The response to Cassie’s End of the Line video has been interesting to say the least. The actual video itself is a little unremarkable, but many seem to be impressed with her soft, chillout-driven style on the song and rightfully so. What’s odd is how the majority are seemingly surprised by that style from Cassie, despite her delivering in this sort of vein for the last couple of years (though admittedly, very sporadically).

Understandably however, not everyone can follow the scene quite as tightly as some of us do. So, a dedicated Cassie fan has rounded up the numerous loose tracks that have been released in various ways and places over the past few years, and packaged them into a trilogy of mixtapes. Not only is there some nice Weeknd-themed artwork to go with them, but each one is broken down into one of three styles: either dark and slower tracks, upbeat pop work, or somewhere in between the two. You can grab each one for absolutely free below, and I’d recommend doing so: Cassie’s been underrated in recent times, and I expect that to end soon.

Cassie-Trilogy Collecton

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Colin Munroe-Unsung Hero (Album)

It’s been a long time since we had a new project from Colin, and whilst he’s released small bits of material over the last couple of years, it’s great to have him back dropping off something full-length.

Arguably, he didn’t quite capitalise on his huge buzz back in 2009-10, but that doesn’t seem to have hindered his reputation within the industry; features on this include RZA, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Pusha T, Cassie and more. His relative inactivity has seemingly led to his sound being a little less unique, given the slew of eclectic artists who’ve broken out in recent years, but a quick listen to this tape shows that few have the same level of command over all of the genres he tries to cover. A man who has a great talent for melodies, here’s to hoping this tape revives his career, and that there’s more to come. Download and/or stream below.

Colin Munroe-Unsung Hero
(click here to stream)

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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.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 137

A few more tracks than usual this week, and from an enjoyably-eclectic range of acts, including Raheem DeVaughn, Lloyd, and many more.

Just the two noteworthy posts to recap on, with a free 4-track EP from The Internet, who solidified their place as one of my current favourites in the wider R&B scene (given that R&B doesn’t categorise their music with any great accuracy), and of course the second instalment of our popular 5-track Winter EP.

Click below for another 5 tracks to add to this week’s plentiful bounty.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 120

A longer episode this week, with plenty of R&B’s luminaries making appearances this week, including Frank Ocean, Ne-Yo and Trey Songz, alongside a track from the latest group emerging from the Odd Future collective.

Nothing to recap on from the week gone by, so go ahead and treat yourself by clicking below and gorging yourself on the treats within.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 116

Is R&B currently suffering from one of its worst recessions? Outside of a few upcoming stars (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and others) there hasn’t been much in terms of consistent quality, and outside of the aforementioned two artists, it’s increasingly difficult to see where the recovery will come from.

However, one of the few artists in recent years to really come away with credit recently released a free album, as The-Dream dropped off a new project, and even if R&B is struggling, soul season is underway with debut visuals from John West and the latest single from Goapele.

Click below for this week’s six pack, and see if an R&B comeback is on the cards.
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Wiz Khalifa-Roll Up Video

One of those songs that’ll always put a smile on your face. Mainstream hip-hop is certainly in good hands right now with Wiz, as he comes through with another head-nodder that’s ridiculously infectious: it’s perfect driving material, and has been in my car for weeks!

The video keeps that feelgood, happy-go-lucky vibe with bright, warm imagery and lots of positivity. Wiz’s beaming smile is about as infectious as the song itself, and plenty of emphasis is on his childish happy face! It makes a really nice change of pace from the moody, ‘pretend to be angry, no matter what’ faces in most (hip-hop) videos, and as strange as it sounds it really does make a difference.

Whilst we’re talking about faces, it’s hard to be mad at Cassie making an appearance in the video and whilst she’s probably looked better, she’s always easy on the eye. Good track, and has every chance of being another big hit for Wiz. Audio is here.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 29

The first episode of 2010 brings a nice blend of established and new artists this week, which makes a pleasant change from the recent R&B Friday domination by big names.

This episode includes a remix to one of my favourites songs of 2008, and other cracking tracks, coming in at a collective total of 19 tracks this week. There are a couple of names making comebacks in this post too, so be sure to click on and start the year off with plenty of music.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 27

New/unreleased tracks this week from Usher, Lloyd, Tyrese and many more to keep you going. Before you scurry off to click through, there have been a couple of tracks dropped this week that were more than capable of headlining today’s episode, but I chose to release them earlier. Head here, this way, that way, and finally here to see which stuff I’m talking about.

Once you’ve done that, come back here, and continue your R&B adventures with more quality music. Deal?

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