Kid Bookie – Fast Forward (Remix)
SHRLT – Parachutes
The BRITS were big news last week; Madonna fell over, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran won awards, and then there was Kanye West. His performance was genius and hidden in all the aggression was a symbol of progress which was quite beautiful. Much has been written about the BRITS, the Oscars and their lack of diversity so I don’t need to add my 10 pence to that debate (VV Brown wrote a brave piece on this in Pride).
I can talk on Kanye’s audacious performance which was just what the BRITs needed. A reminder the mainstream British music scene is every bit about the Emcees and the rappers who grind out mixtapes, working tirelessly in an industry that wants to keep them on the periphery. Thanks to Kanye there is a now a class that can say, “we were on stage at the BRIT Awards.” It’s a beautiful thing. These are musicians often marginaliaed or forced to changed the content of their music just to have to have small chance at ‘making it.’ Kanye with his ferocious performance, surrounded by the great and good sent a message that couldn’t be ignored.
His performance also made me proud to be British. I don’t think he could have gotten away with it in the US as the media would have torn him apart. In all the accusations of racism, and a lack of diversity, someone pretty high-up in the BRIT organisation stood-up and signed-off this stage full of young men, in black hoodies holding flame throwers as Kanye West performed an expletive laden record. That gives me hope.
And it was in this mindset that DJ Cameo’s BlackHeart EP (well it’s 32 tracks, so not sure if that counts as an ‘EP’) found its way to my ears. The ‘EP’ is a diverse mix of songs from all across the UK R&B/Hip-Hop/Grime scene (I refuse to use the “U” word) which pretty much says, “this is the scene right now”, and it looks to be in a very good place indeed. It is a record brimming full of highlights.
Nefera delivers potentially her best record to date on the delicious Override. Skarpz samples The XX on Get Prepared and goes on to create a powerful and introspective record. Joker of the set goes to Courtney Bennett on Fool In Love. “Next time Cupid’s at my door / I hit him with a punch straight to his jaw / I don’t wanna seem like i’m complaining / but the dude really need to work on his aiming…” I feel ya girl!
There are just too many great songs to call out all individually. First of the two songs I decided to post is Fast Forward (Remix). Kid Bookie and a star-studded cast throw down over hypnotic beat. I love these old school style remixes because they force everyone to go their hardest and the end result is pure fire.
The second is Parachute on which SHRLT teams up with Skrapz and Rough Copy for a delicate slow jam. This is one those beats built for the vocalists and they all shine wonderfully. Major props to DJ Cameo for pulling this one together.
Snoh Aalegra – Emotional
Emotional places Snoh Aalegra in a new musical space; one which showcases her prowess for retro sounding soul. I love the way everything works toward the explosive chorus. The verses are purposeful yet patient and make the eruption of the chorus that much more satisfying. The music suits her voice, the subtle raspiness adding edge to each lyric see sings.
My fingers are tightly crossed this represents a change of direction for Snoh Aalegra because she sounds like a lot more comfortable, and a more free with this sound. When she goes full pelt, the grit in her voice is just so scrumptious. “Ooooo I need somebody to hold me” she cries on the chorus… and with that she can drop the mic and leave the stage. You may be on a “high that’s coming down”, I certainly will not be coming down any time soon! Great record that needs to be heard.
The Jack Moves – Seasons Change
And staying with the retro influenced soul, The Jack Moves may just be setting themselves up to become regulars on my little blog. Seasons Change is an atmospheric slice of soul music. The production is perfectly layered and when the strings sweep in and around the vocals it just seems to transport you away and only serves to focus the listening experience.