Picture the ocean, awash with whales and sea anemone. Then go deeper, imagine space, going on forever. And then, still, you’re not close to the size of the internet – or at least that’s how it seems, at existential times – and so it’s easy to miss stuff. That’s why we’re doing a round-up.
We already posted one of these in January, on songs that dropped over the holiday period. But since the year has really only just started to kick into gear, and much of that has probably involved Brexit/being sick/doing Dry January/breaking all your New Year’s resolutions, and not paying proper attention to the internet, it’s time for another one, on stuff you might have missed now 2019 has entered the starting gate and is revving itself up, waiting to leave the grid.
Okay, so Little Simz is releasing a new album
Sure, she has always had a knack for knocking out the kind of tunes that might loosely fall into backpack rap, but she’s constantly added an extra level to it – a distinct, singular quality, defined as undeniable presence. That's what makes Simz one of the best rappers working today. This week she dropped "Selfish", the first track from her upcoming album Grey Area, and it’s her smoothest tune yet. Helped along by a rude yet tight bassline and a chakra-cleansing hook from celestial singer Cleo Sol, this is an ideal palette cleanser, the aural equivalent of sipping through pint after pint of tap water. Read our 2017 interview with her here.
Oh, and so are Fat White Family
Here, above, is the gnarly south London group’s starter serving from their upcoming third album Serf’s Up. According to the press release, where “once they soundtracked a grubby Britain of vape shops, Fray Bentos dinners and blackened tin-foil, a crepuscular comedown realm stalked by Shipman, Goebbels and Mark E. Smith, Fat White Family now inhabit another cosmos entirely.” In practice, that’s a lot of money thrown at them by UK record label Domino, a slight cleaning up of their act (but no less references to warfare), and perhaps the smartest thing they’ve released. Read our 2016 interview with them here.
Oh, and The Japanese House are too
And to round of the trio of new albums to look forward to in the coming months, it’s Amber Bain of The Japanese House. Building on the warmer, sun-soaked sound of 2017 EP Saw Your In A Dream, latest single “Maybe You’re The Reason” sees The Japanese House move further away from the relative darkness and mystery that shrouded her debut EP and into something that feels clean, leaning into her pop talent. Read our 2015 interview her here.
ILoveMakonnen has returned with one of the best songs of his career (and a Gucci Mane feature)
Look, just listen to this hook. Then do it again, and again. This is motivational music. Read our 2017 interview with him here.
Crashment is a thing, it’s a genre, here it is
The clue is in the name but in case you were wondering, crashment is like bashment, but with that extra energy. In practice that’s a sound sitting between drill and bashment, of which Russ’ “Gun Lean” is the prime example. As the name suggests, it’s the name of a dance too. Have a go on the latest craze above, then read our interview with Russ (the UK rapper, not US one) here.
Soulja Boy did an interview where he dragggggggged everyone
You gotta watch it.
Plus, Loski has an album coming too
This is “Boasy” – a track where he boasts about splashing 20 grand in one month. It’s come ahead of his upcoming mixtape Mad Move.
And here’s a couple other things you should hear if you somehow still haven’t:
Stefflon Don, intent on not ever having a month off, drips the mellow end of her vocals and bars on Sean Paul's "Shot & Wine." Yes, it's a very well-calibrated pop collab, ticking the rap verse, earworm chorus, warm-as-a-beach-day production boxes but her ease and confidence on the mic makes it stick. Hey, Sean's not shabby either. Tshepo Mokoena
Yeah, so Fredo has one of the most ridiculous coats I've seen in a minute – it cost him two stacks, he says, but it does remind me of the look regularly practiced by mums waiting outside school to pick up their kids (I'm sorry). Still, this is a wavey track and adds weight to the UK MC's unique road-rap flair. Also look out for a familiar face in the video in Since '93 label mate Loski.
"I've been tearing around in my fucking nightgown / 24/7 Sylvia Plath / writing in blood, on the walls / cause the pen don't work in my notepad" is an iconic line, and when I've been sick and dosed up on Night Nurse this week, Lana Del Rey appears to me like a vision, singing it through delirious fog, as though Jesus himself or a ghost. Even better is that lyric about the iPad, and saying hi dad. Roll on Norman Fucking Rockwell. Ryan Bassil
Everyone already knows 10cc's original bangs, but none of us were ready for Kelsey to basically make an arthouse suspense film out of her music video set to this "I'm Not in Love" cover. Someone give hair artist Tanya Melendez a raise. Tshepo Mokoena
I've said it before and I'll say it again: James Blake is slick enough to be the only white man on the Black Panther soundtrack so absolutely fair play to him for this Metro Boomin and Travis Scott collab. I'm not totally sold on his Auto-Tuned vocal about two-thirds of the way in, but chances are this album is going to be a beauty anyway. Tshepo Mokoena
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