With everything that is happening in the world, sometimes music expresses it better than anything else. Here’s the best conscious hip-hop, and R&B tracks we got in this week that hits home. Same ol’ reviews, compiled in a neat playlist for our readers on the go.
Des Brennan “On and On” (Produced by Karnaval Blues)- “My music will tell you more about me than I ever will...” are the simple words that are placed in the bio of New York rapper, Des Brennan. His track “On and On” glides over an easy-going sample, that will leave a listener at ease with their surroundings. Brennan’s laid-back vocal approach, delivers a sense of trust, and honesty, that is similar from hearing wise words from a friend across the table. With lyrics that question the stages of aging in life, and the next move, “On and On” captures the essence of life going on.
Driftwood “Sycamore Grove“- Hailing from Sydney, Australia, comes a smooth, and experimental fusion of hip-hop and ambiance by Driftwood, and his latest track “Sycamore Grove.” Produced by Colourd Noyz, the track engulfs you from the start into a state of tranquility. As the guitar opens up for something bigger, the samples wash away into Driftwood’s versatile vocals for the first minute and a half. By the time the break picks up, Driftwood returns into rhyme, and becomes night to the day, heard in the beginning of the track. Driftwood’s use of genre blending may be too much for other artists, but is delivered with ease and balance on “Sycamore Grove.”
Realystic “Questions” – 17-year-old Washington rapper and producer, Realystic, regurgitates everything that is happening in the world, into the questions that we all have thought. From his UNFAMILIAR LP, Realystic draws influences from the likes of Phora, and let’s out a raw flow, filled with honesty. Backed by a consistent guitar riff, Realystic brings up the many trials of losing people in life, to segregation, the dislike of a “racist” like Trump, to the current battle with Cops. It’s a track that mirrors what we all have been wondering, and delivers in a way that isn’t overpowering with opinion, but enough power to lay all the cards on the table.
Mari “All-Amerikkka“- Chicago born rapper, Mari, is a fresh breath of air with his sharp tongue, emotive tone, and stance on the injustices in the home we call “land of the free.” Opening where his roots hail from, Mari begins his bounce from pronunciations, to syllable word-play, as the heavy issues arise. Mari doesn’t dance around what he feels, and creates a beautiful tragic piece of art. Guided by the keys of a piano, and a simple beat, the soul of the track rests within the real-life Mari bleeds from his words, and enough cannot be praised, nor described, as much as the minimal words used to protest by Mari.
“Damn / Rosa Parked / Then rosa swerved / Coretta Scott met / Beretta glock / Pockets picked / When the pickets stopped / Pick your poison / Patience for better times / Or a icy watch / Can’t blame my brothers for wanting what’s not needed / What’s Independence and Freedom / He already been defeated“
Daryl Donald “Odessa“- UK artist, Daryl Donald, and his track “Odessa” is a smooth instrumental hip-hop track that is best to sit back and vibe along with. Opening with a sample of vocals asking the question, “What is beautiful?” the track answers this question with the use of high-vocalized strings, and the product of fusing different elements. Mixture is a beautiful thing.
Appleby “How Many” Featuring Ayelle- Mysterious Illinois artist Applyby, teams up with the lovely Ayelle to bring us a steady R&B track, with dark electronic and mechanical peaks, on his latest release “How Many.” The metamorphosis of sounds that occur throughout the duration of the track perfectly adapts to Appleby’s and Ayelle’s vocals. With great use of layers, and a somewhat “deconstruction” of sounds, “How Many” mimics Applyby’s core of the song: “How many more people will walk out of my life?”
junejissle “Aylesha” – Instrumental hip-hop that conveys feelings are hard to come by. New Haven producer June Jissle, and his smooth track, “Aylesha” leaves a listener embedded in a nostalgic hip-hop haze, and a heavy amount of replays to absorb the melody. While only being a little over a minute, this track’s easy going vibe centered around repeated piano chords is enough to subdue any beast after a long day.
Azekel “Stuck“- London artist Azekel, brilliantly shines on his track “Stuck,” from his forthcoming EP, Raw, Vol. 2. Using the right amount of R&B vibes, with a hint of blues soul, Azekel’s craftsmanship of sound mirrors perfection. Balancing unique splashes of samples, and genre blending elements at selective moments, Azekel knows the art of editing. As the track takes us on a ride of emotions, we return to infectious piano chords and the ultimately feeling of continuing to be “stuck.”
Val Maugenest “Prove (Interlude)” Taken as a bonus/interlude track for Val Maugenest’s debut EP, 20/20, “Prove” is an acapella heartbeat of emotions and soul, slowly being pumped into a soft hymn. Normally, the London artist dabbles towards the jazz and pop realm,yet isolating primarily on Maugenest’s vocals and delivery, displays a natural R&B core. As simple as the track is, the echos of vocals, and controlled state Maugenest is in, shows an intimate intent and desire that is overall beautiful.
Celia Inside “Pressure” – NYC’s sultry songstress, Celia Inside, caught our attention with her catchy covers, and diverse vocal range. “Pressure” takes a stance on a love dilemma through Celia’s breathy and wanting vocals. The track’s core is chill, with small doses of electronic flares embedded in the hook.