Theophilus London-Rio ft. The Menahan Street Band (Video)

There’s been plenty of talk about ‘summer music’ on here in recent weeks, but I’m not sure anything comes close to this for that all-round sunny beach vibe.

The ever-stylish London has three overlapping segments to the video, each well costumed of course, and they combine for an enjoyable watch. The first has him performing, rather humbly I might add, in a small venue with the few audience members sitting around the band; it’s an intimate setting that exudes a vintage vibe, and hence manages to curtail the occasionally expansive nature of the production and bring it down into a warm, friendly environment. The second is the interspersing of his interactions with the leading lady, one who clearly isn’t intended to fit into the ‘classic video girl’ mould, and instead seems like a real person. Once again, it adds a humility to the video that takes the audio into more relatable, personal territory when combined with the scenes mentioned previously. The final setting has London and the band performing in a white, dream-like landscape that adds a touch of cool and a little more atmosphere, working well with the ‘daydream factor’ the audio invariably invokes, and making for a nice contrast to the previous two scenes. It’s not a complicated clip in the slightest, but it does work the audio well, and whilst admittedly it would have been good to see more open, expansive backdrops, it would also have been a little cliche so credit to Theophilus for the direction taken. Buy it.

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Theophilus London-Rio ft. The Menahan Street Band

theophilus london
This song sounds like this picture looks. It’s incredibly summery, light and yet with a sense of restrained cool that makes it perfect for a warm evening on the beach. Of course, very few of our readers live in Rio (hello to those who do!), so the rest of us will have to make do with giving this one a spin at those summer BBQs and on the sunny day drives. Ray Bans are mandatory.

The band accompanying TL offer a lovely range of instrumentation, from both traditional, tribal-style drums to a more modern variant, and on top of that is a nice blend of synth, gentle electronic samples and soft, drifty vocal contributions that coat the song in a retro vibe, and are essential in setting the mellow mood. It really is a masterclass of easygoing soundscape creation, and TL’s vocal and lyrical contribution helps to narrow that vibe down into the Rio beach feel, with his harmonic delivery (quite rare to hear him go with 100% singing) and geographically-centred lyrics making for a mellow and positive listen throughout. I can’t get enough of this now, so I dread to think how heavily it’ll get overplayed this summer. Hits iTunes on 16th April.

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Paris 96 (Jesse Boykins III and Theophilus London)-Afternoon

Introducing a new super group made up of the two long-time friends. Together, Theophilus London and Jesse Boykins III are PARIS 96. Theophilus and Jesse wrote songs together early on in their careers (“Cold Pillow,” “Humdrum Town”) when they were both coming up.

Nice to see two great upcomers (re)connect here, and grabbing the talented Xaphoon Jones to helm the beat makes this a combination of acts with plenty of promise. They all certainly deliver too, with the latter’s production being a great blend of laidback and progressive, starting minimally with soft melodies and light percussion, before evolving into soft soul for the hook, and coming out electro synth-driven. True dynamism throughout the beat, and that’s matched by the diversity of TL and JB3, with the former’s two verses adopting two distinct flows that each take the production on well, whilst Jesse’s hook is arguably the highlight courtesy of his increasingly-passionate vocals blending beautifully with the soft backdrop. A duo with plenty of promise.

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Yuna-Live Your Life Remix ft. Theophilus London

Two of the more unique and upcoming talents in the music game hook up for a remix to Yuna’s lead single from her self-titled album. I’ve waxed lyrical about both Yuna and the aforementioned album at length previously, and hence I’ll spare you me doing that again. This is however a nice reminder and refresh of a relaxing yet perky track, arguably one of the more ‘upbeat’ efforts from the album, with the short Theophilus verse adding a contrast to Yuna’s soft vocals. Not a great deal else to be said on this one, as otherwise it’s identical to the previously-reviewed original, but if you’re unfamiliar with Yuna this is an excellent starting point.

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Big Boi-She Said OK ft. Theophilus London and Tre Luce (Video)

So first off, this is neither work safe nor child safe. That goes for both the video and the audio.

I’ve had a special spot for this song since its release, and not because its a feat of hip-hop ingenuity, but because the hook is just hilarious. That’s not to take away from the verses though, which are most definitely enjoyable and as mentioned in the audio review, Big Boi and Theophilus clearly work well together to create an old-school Outkast vibe about this one.

The video is about as sleazy as the audio, packing close-ups of lady parts into performance shots of the rappers into a dimly-lit, slow-moving and bedroom-oriented theme, and hence it’s a good synergy between the two. An easygoing track that’s generally quite likeable, and you can grab it from iTunes now (iTunes US, sadly).

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Theophilus London-Rose Island Vol 1 Mixtape

I feel like this guy is only inches away from widespread mainstream appeal, and with some of the features he’s snagged recently, he’s edging ever closer to being the next hip-hop/alternative hybrid star. And even if not, his music’s still got tons of replayability that’ll keep the rest of us entertained.

High hopes for this one, as it’s the final home for two of his biggest collaborations to date, namely Big Spender with A$AP Rocky and She Said OK with Big Boi. Amongst such company the rest of his material really needs to hold up, and given the quality of some of his work in the past (the thoroughly excellent Last Night, which I still play often, has made the cut), I’m sure there’ll be a few gems on here to meet those expectations. The Sade and Marvin Gaye samples listed certainly won’t hurt. Free grab below.

Theophilus London-Rose Island Vol 1

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Big Boi and Theophilus London-She Said OK ft. Tre Luce

Given that both Big Boi and Theophilus are credited as the lead artists here, I’m not sure who’s upcoming album it’s destined for (sidenote: Big Boi announced his next solo LP is titled Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors), but it’s good to see a hip-hop veteran hooking up with a young upcomer for this one.

There’s no ambiguity with regards to subject matter here, as the first 30 seconds attest to: Theo and Big Boi are right after the ladies with this one, and in a pretty blunt way. The audacious nature of it smacks of old school Outkast, and that vibe is backed by a slow and sleazy production that winds its way through the track softly, giving it a laidback summer vibe that’ll sound great turned right up in the car. The vocal work from Tre is soulful too, working well with the chillout vibe and further enhancing the suggestive vibe of the track. Decent all-rounder, and I’d quite like to hear more from this duo as they’ve clearly got a solid chemistry.

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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.

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Theophilus London-Last Night (LVRS Anthem)

It still confuses me why Theophilus isn’t a mainstream favourite already. He’s signed to a major, has a very diverse, mainstream-friendly sound, is a little eclectic with his fashion, and generally has a good knack of making catchy, easy-to-digest music.

This one is from the upcoming Lovers Holiday II project, and combines an upbeat core with a laidback sensibility that makes for a very replayable alternative/R&B/hip-hop hybrid. Thick and bassy electro synths create a thumping backdrop, whilst the soft vocal mellows things slightly, and an ever-changing percussion keeps the track a little unpredictable. The combination is effective, and the progressive nature underpinning the whole thing gives the track a feelgood vibe that will find favour with many mainstream fans. A very good hybrid effort from an underrated talent.

Theophilus London-Last Night (LVRS Anthem)

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Theophilus London-I Stand Alone Video

Theophilus London is certainly one of the more genre-crossing, boundary-free ‘rappers’ around these days, and this alternative track undoubtedly stands out as one of his better tracks to date.

Many will be familiar with it from its superb use as a sync in the How To Make It In America season 2 teaser, though unfortunately the official music video doesn’t quite work as well as the trailer did. The idea to go with a more tongue-in-cheek approach doesn’t really pay off here, given the uplifting energy in the track, which would have been far better suited for a more focused, motivational video, and could have resulted in a big hit for Theophilus. It’s not without its moments though, and there are some entertaining snippets, whilst London’s charisma is evident even in the face of thematic incongruence.

There’s almost a hint of Andre 3000 about his offbeat, non-conformist style on the whole and hopefully he’ll continue to improve himself. The audio can be found on his Timez Are Weird These Days album, out now.

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How To Make It In America: Season 2 Trailer

HBO are seriously putting the work in, and having recently released the season 2 teaser for Boardwalk Empire, they’ve also let the teaser loose for this superb series. My TV viewing will increase exponentially when these two shows return!

HTMIIA is undoubtedly one of the most feelgood, easy-to-watch TV shows in recent memory, drawing rightful comparisons with Entourage but with somewhat more relatable characters and realistic storylines. There isn’t too much given away here but I did catch a couple of stills involving Rachel, suggesting her role in the series isn’t quite finished yet, whilst a couple of newer characters appear to be given some focus alongside those we already know and love. It was also previously announced that Kid Cudi’s Domingo character will have a more prominent role in the next season, which will undoubtedly be interesting viewing.

Before you ask, the song in the trailer is Theophilus London-I Stand Alone, taken from his upcoming debut album Timez Are Weird These Days (July 19th).

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Theophilus London and Sara Quin-Why Even Try Video

Big fan of this track when it first dropped, and whilst I didn’t end up replaying it as much as I thought I would, there’s no denying it is a solid track.

The video is pretty offbeat and most of it has a very candid feel, with a paparazzi-style focus that adds a slightly different perspective to the track. Initially, I felt it wasn’t the direction I would have chosen as it seems to cheapen the audio a little, but the video does progress in a manner that uses the ‘real’ filming style well by portraying the evolution of the characters’ relationship.

The photoshoot scenes add the necessary hipster scenes, and round off the video fairly well. It’s not a classic by any means, but it’s decent enough and does improve over the course of the video. Audio can be listened to here if you’re not familiar..

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Theophilus London and Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara)-Why Even Try

I’m guessing that’s a pretty big feature for young Theophilus, seeing as I always see Tegan and Sara’s name in-and-around mainstream circles.

Pretty big fan of this track too, delivering a similar production to Flying Overseas with a stuttery, thumping percussion that suits Theophilus’ stop-start rapping style brilliantly, along with pop/soft electro samples that blend a throwback vibe with a futuristic sensibility.

Fantastically harmonic work on the hook too, as both vocalists come together for a catchy, melodic chorus that almost guarantees this will have a very diverse fanbase. I’m becomign quite a big believer in this guy’s talent, largely down to the very, very high quality of his work in the last few months. You can both preview and download this great bit of music in the widget included: I highly recommend giving this at least a listen, as I’m expecting big things from Theophilus in 2011.

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Theophilus London and Lindsay Lohan-Oops Video

Not work/school safe!

Big move for Theophilus, as he’s managed to snag Lindsay Lohan for a short video to his cover of Tweet’s Oops. The audio itself is actually really good, being a refreshingly-modern take on the memorable R&B jam.

The video is a dark, sordid collection of Lohan (and miscellaneous cohorts) doing all sorts of things, held together by a theme of drugs and sex. It’s a really good fit for the audio, as the smooth, winding feel of the song matches up perfectly. Worth a watch.

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Theophilus London, Solange Knowles and Devonte Hynes-Flying Overseas

I’ve been enjoying this song for a couple of weeks now, and let you all down a little by not posting it: it simply got lost in the shuffle of the huge music releases of the last fortnight.

It’s a relaxing, soulful piece that boasts influences from a wide range of genres, as the hip-hop flavour blends with a soul sensibility to deliver an enjoyable fusion sound. With the diversity of the acts on show, you’d certainly expect that to be the case, and they each bring worthy contributions to the track.

The video creates a retro, vintage feel in both the ‘story’ of the video and the grainy effect used in filming, and combines that with a datamosh effect on the transitions to further play up to that hybrid feel. Really smooth, enjoyable track that’s worth grabbing: do that here.

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Theophilus London, Blu and Jesse Boykins III-Life of A Lover

A collabo to set the ‘modern-day’ underground heads (I really don’t want to use the word hipster!) off, this is undoubtedly a collection of some of the best young acts around.

Theophilus and Blu come through with two great verses on this track, with Theophilus definitely impressing with one of his strongest verses to date. Huge fan of this soulful, vintage jazz-inspired beat, with the prominent horn melody blending effortlessly with the hip-hop sensibility in the percussion. Boykins comes through with a typically smooth hook, rolling out some whispery vocals to strengthen the soul aspect of the track.

Theophilus London-Life of a Lover Remix ft. Blu and Jesse Boykins III

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