For most artists, getting Prince on a remix is not only an honour, but a massive surprise. Here however, it’s not actually that shocking, given both the funky vibe of the track and the eclectic nature of the two talented ladies involved, and instead it feels like a rather natural fit.
The production is retooled to pull back a little on the bouncy, upbeat elements and instead Prince throws in sleazy, late 80s/early 90s-style melodies for a throwback vibe that works perfectly with the original vocals. The addition of thick, chunky bass is what really anchors that retro vibe, evoking memories of the funk-inspired hip-hop beats Digital Underground often favoured, whilst the the retention of the more vintage pieces in the original production only serve to further that trip down memory lane. Sadly, there’s no vocal contribution on this potentially-unfinished version, but we can hold out hope that we’ll get a sprinkling of Prince’s unique delivery on a proper release for this remix. Nonetheless, it’s a good rework of the Janelle Monae single that doesn’t stray too far from its original charm.
It only happens with particularly gifted acts, but when you spend a lot of time immersed in someone’s music, it’s rather easy to forget the other facets of their act, brand and personality. Allow Janelle’s new video to be a reminder of just what she can bring to the table.
Whether it’s a crisp fashion sense that lands somewhere between vintage and forward-thinking, a hugely charismatic on-screen presence through fun facial expressions and great body language, or her skills as both a choreographed dancer and a freeform rhythmic mover, Janelle’s one of the most rounded entertainers in music today. And we’ve not even touched on her impressive vocal capabilities.
This clip combines all of the above talents in with a video that’s wrapped in good production values and great colour palettes: opening with the minimal white environment, Janelle’s movements are similarly economical before expanding into more energetic expressionism, which coincides with the injection of more chromatic vibrancy. Things get suitably leftfield when Badu enters the fray, with the track’s relative mellowing coinciding with the appearance of a poodle, lots of clocks, and Erykah looking rather dishevelled. The video ends well, with Monae’s defiant closer throwing out all of the detailing used previously and instead focusing on her lyricism and its empassioned delivery. It’s a fantastic video for a track that gets better with every listen, and that Electric Lady LP can’t come soon enough.
No-one in the last 5 years has made as big an impact on the soul genre as Janelle Monae. Her 2010 album, The ArchAndroid, has stood up in the intervening period as one of the best neo-soul albums in recent memory, whilst her exploits elsewhere (not least on fun.’s huge We Are Young single) have allowed her talents to be exposed to wider audiences. Monae returns with this brand new effort, featuring one of neo-soul’s pioneers, and taken from her upcoming Electric Lady album.
Immediately noticeable is the funk influence on the instrumentation, with jagged, razor-sharp guitar plucks instantly adding attitude and a fun rebelliousness to the track. Those strums are eventually backed by retro-style samples, smooth, clap-heavy percussion and more, adding plenty of character and padding out that backdrop with a positivity that’s quite infectious. Janelle and Erykah are two of the finest vocalists in the game, and the guitar work brings the best from both, with energetic, stop-start vocals that annunciate heavily to enhance the in-your-face, punchy nature of the track, whilst the brief moments where they cut loose from that mould are great demonstrations of their melodic ability. A lively track with plenty of bounce, it’s a track that should find favour with both Janelle’s fans and a wider R&B/soul audience.
Wolf lands officially tomorrow, and for those of you who’ve avoided any leaks and such, you can check out the entire 18-track LP here. From a very brief listen to a few of the tracks, there’s a marked maturity in his music, and in keeping with the two previously-released tracks, the dichotomy of Tyler’s chaotic and introspective sides are represented well. The maturity comes in the form of the weighting-it seems as though the album’s highlight tracks (and those said by Tyler to be his favourites) lean more toward the reflective side of his work, and there’s no doubt he’s delivered well on that front in that past.
Features include Pharrell, Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu, Coco O of Quadron, Casey Veggies, Earl Sweatshirt and a handful more of the Odd Future clan. Plenty of promise, and you can preview the LP below before making your purchase decision tomorrow.
This Autumn, Flying Lotus releases Until The Quiet Comes, the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Cosmogramma. Featuring the inimitable queen of leftfield R&B herself, Erykah Badu, ‘See Thru To U’ is one of the many highlights of an album composed, according to Flylo, as “a collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies”.
I’ve not got much of Lotus’ previous material, and if you’re anything like me, this is a great place to start. The production fuses all sorts of influences together, and the outcome is a jazz-style production with a heavy neo-soul sensibility. A modern sound in a vintage packaging. Erykah’s drifty vocals are seeded in an almost freeform manner throughout the track, and instead of the usual production-vocal division her tones are instead used in as another ‘instrument’, moulding into the production excellently and embellishing it in a non-extravagant manner.
Following on from the superb DJ Premier and Berklee Symphony Orchestra track from a few days ago, the second track from the ReGeneration concept brings together a fantastic range of artists to infuse the wonderful New Orleans jazz style with a little hip-hop and soul.
Badu sounds as interested as I’ve heard her in a long time, as she comes through with a phenomenally addictive performance from start to finish, with vocals full of vibrancy and bounce that spans the range of genres to anchor them together in a cohesively funky sound. Zigaboo is relentless on the drums as he drives the track along, whilst Trombone Shorty provides energetic bursts of his horn that blend with the instrumentation brought by the Dap Kings to create a lovely feelgood vibe, with the overall combination proving a genuinely exceptional backdrop to Erykah’s vocals.
Another absolutely fantastic track from the ReGeneration project, and I hope this inspires more to try these styles out. In a music scene increasingly devoid of true character and worth to the music, the passion and purity of the music here makes for a brilliantly refreshing listen.
Probably the last leak we’ll post from Teflon Don (unless Ricky leaks the Jay-Z collaboration himself). This is quite simply a great collaboration, has that epic feel to it that Justice League are renowned for producing. Surprisingly Rick Ross’ verse steals the show on this one. Go grab it below.
This video is nothing short of magnificent. Must-watch for everyone.
I’ve been liking this song for some time, as it’s so chilled out and mellow it’s practically perfect to listen to any time. If you’re seeing this after a heavy night, watch this and you’ll find it really easygoing.
The video is utterly brilliant. I won’t ruin it, but it’s such a departure from what I expected from the audio and is possibly a contender for video of the year so far. It’s so, so simple which leaves it wonderously open to interpretation. Great job that will inevitably be hugely underrated.
Very unexpected collabo. Apparently, there are 9-10 other version with different rappers in place of Lil’ Wayne that may surface: please, please let that be true.
The track is decent, although it is a bit mainstreamy compared to a lot of Erykah’s material. It’s not too bad though, and I’d much rather have Erykah and Bilal in the mainstream than most other people.