Beyond The Surface

You Are Here was released late 2018 by April + Vista, a DMV duo that came together in 2014. The album is their first-- and 3rd of a catalog inclusive of two EPs. On You Are Here the dynamic duo showcases their classical backgrounds while keeping their unique attributes infused and at the forefront-- April, a gifted writer and Vista, a sound master. Their project is all about relationship with self respectively first, then others. You Are Here is available on major platforms.
Days ago staple southern artist, Big KRIT, dropped an EP entitled TDT which is comprised of mini projects Double Down and Thrice X, released in the ladder part of 2018. Amongst the already released songs are three new tracks, "Energy", "1 Oh Oh" and "4 Tha Three".
I vowed that 2019 would be 'Hashtag: MoreTrap2019', so I will be sure to include a trap (in this case versatile) artist with each BTS post. Los Angeles artist, Huey Briss delivered on said versatility with the release of "Regardless", a track in opposition of his usual West Coast lo-fi sound, captured on Black Wax, a collaborative project with producer, Niko Beats.
On January 4, UK sound engineer, Marc Mac released the eighth part to a continuum documentary on wax, Beats N Knowledge". All Power To The People, like the other seven parts, consists of historic educational audio over sounds by Marc Mac, this cute specifically focuses on the legacy of the Black Panther Party-- genius and truly a vibe.
Urban soprano, Ryahn, delivers a hit about living up to romantic desires with the release of her single, "Popstar". Other recent singles can be found on major streaming platforms like Apple Music along with her breakout track, "Baby Boy", released 3 years ago.

Beyond The surface

The first visual of Noname's Room 25 went viral on the 4th. The "Blaxploitation" visual accurately captures the extensive demonization of "Black" America by the media and its brainwashed consumers.
On the 7th, upcoming rapper, Domo Genesis, released a super chill uptempo Hip-Hop EP, Facade Records. On it, the Cali bred rapper speaks on his crime ridden beginnings, weed and carrying out plans to elevate his career. Amongst my favorite tracks are "Two Tone Durag", "Online" and "Power Trip", which features Dreamville's Cozz. Facade Records is available on major streaming platforms.
Earlier this week RnB songstress, Tink, dropped her single, "Different", on which the decline of a relationship begins with the singer's intuition.
Jaden finally shared a more than fit visual for his single, "GOKU", months after its October release.
Latin lover, A.CHAL, released EXOTIGAZ, an 18 minute trap EP centered around his unwillingness to take life too seriously right present day. On EXOTIGAZ, A.CHAL speaks on turning down the possibility of a longterm commitment to instead party, smoke and "hook-up". "Indigo Girl" is my favorite track of course, followed by "000000". EXOTIGAZ is available on major streaming platforms.
Saba is up again this week with his forth single since November, a love song entitled "Papaya".
Nigerian artist, Davido, took the opportunity to make a beautiful gesture to honor powerful African women with the visual release of his "Wonder Woman" single.
Jorja Smith dropped the official video for her single, "The One". The song can be heard on the artist's Lost & Found album, released June of this year.

Beyond the Surface

On the 26th, JID released his highly anticipated LP, DiCaprio 2, the sequel to DiCaprio (released in 2015). On DiCaprio 2, JID lays down more skillfully executed verses as he allows his past to resurface alongside his heightened awareness; the artist's platform has always served as a revolving door to his mind and each go around its expansion is up for consumption by listeners. On DiCaprio 2, JID does more rapping than anything, and instead uses beat selection, delivery, and subject matter as means of creating depth. The project is solid for sure-- but then again, JID never misses! Amongst my absolute favorites are "Off da Zoinkys", "Workin Out", "Tiied" and "Skrawberries". DiCaprio 2 is available on major streaming platforms.
A new wave has washed up on my lap. The quartet, Good Girl, is a heavily melinated 90's heir to the throne's dream. The dream team released their single "I Can Be Yours" which features upcoming rap artist, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Their 2016 EP, Goodie the Appetizer is available on major platforms.
This week, Ravyn Lenae shared a glamorous visual for "The Night Song", a single off her EP Crush.
On the 30th, sound engineer, Kaytra released an EP entitled Nothin Like U/ Chances. On the project the soundstress features artists Ty Dolla $ign and Shay Lia. Assumably the project is short and sweet ode to an apparently magical muse-- because vibes don't lie. Nothing Like U/ Chances is available on major streaming platforms.
Krizzle, formally known as Big KRIT released another EP, entitled Double Down. The 2 track project is more in line with KRIT's signature southern rap sound in comparison to Thrice X.
Odd Future member, Earl Sweatshirt, released his third solo project, Some Rap Songs, earlier this week, and I would describe it as a 'casserole of vibes'. The LP is a mesh up of verses or maybe chop up of songs; however every thought is complete. The project is reflective of Earl's journey through a metaphorical shadowed valley as a rite of passage into divine manhood. On the journey the artist has come to realize that it is up to him to unchain himself from drug dependency and to relieve himself of the pain that keeps him chains him to it, all of which he elaborates on. Some Rap Song's 15 tracks can be listened to in under 30 minutes on major streaming platforms.
Saba released another single entitled "Excited". On it he reveals a new project is in the works, but we knew this!

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Beyond The Surface

Dreamville's Ari shared two more singles this week, one entitled "Pedigree" and the other "No One", both soulful.
JID shared "Off Deez", a single that will be featured on his upcoming album, DiCaprio 2. The project is set to release this year on the artist's birthday, November 26th.
On the 16th, Big KRIT released a short compilation entitled, Thrice X. The project is centered around finding God in isolation and in return not feeling indebted to anybody. Thrice X is available on major streaming platforms.
Tyler, The Creator released a not so festive holiday EP, entitled Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr, Seuss' The Grinch. If you and your cousins like to make "Store runs" (side-eye) before joining the rest of the family for holiday dinner, this just may be the EP for your. The project is available on major streaming platforms.
This week Saba released "Beautiful Smile", a single about maintaining optimism when things are bad.

On the 16th, Anderson .Paak released his highly anticipated album, Oxnard and it did not disappoint. The Self-righteous revolutionary album is relevant and just on time. Paak, who is keen on using his instruments to make statements allows us to relate where we can to his firsthand experiences. Taboo subjects based in politics, spirituality, love, financial freedom, and more are discussed as the artist spill from his heart. The album is very much so a rock and funk influenced classic that can be played for many summers. Oxnard is available on major streaming platforms.

Beyond The Surface

On the 8th, smittened Smino, released his second studio album, NOIR, an ode to his "life being a black ass movie". The versatile rapper delivers scatted verses that tell-all about his highs and lows as of late, mentioning partying, casual relationships, heartache and hardship. NOIR is full of timeless sounds, from jazz and caribbean influences to galactic effects and latin flavor. The album is available on all streaming platforms.
Anderson .Paak released his second single from his upcoming album, "Who R U?", which takes on a much different sound than "Tints". Both singles will be featured on his upcoming album Oxnard which is available for pre-order now.

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Upcoming rapper, Kash Doll released a visual for her new single, "Ice Me Out". The single is separate from the rapper's Brat Mail mixtape, released in March.
Dreamville, Princess, Ari Lennox released two jazzy love songs this week. The artist, known for her candid approach, sings about wanting to "pull up" and get choked out-- during sex of course. She makes it's sound so dreamy though. "Grandpa" and "40 Shades of Choke" are available on major platforms along with "Whipped Cream".
Artist: Khalid
Album: Suncity
On Things Could Be Worse rising Hip-Hop artist, Alex Aff speaks on life post-transition from Durham to Charlotte, NC-- a move made in hopes of "getting rich quick". Instead, the artist was met with obstacles and resolved friendships, but in turn used love, and the "little things" as his solace. Things Could Be Worse is self-recorded and produced, therefore takes on Aff's signature raw, coasting sound. The album is available on major stream platforms.
Known Hip-Hop Producer, 9th Wonder brought out the Jamala Squad with the recently released 9th Wonder Presents: Jamla is the Squad II, a sequel to part one, released in 2014. The project, mostly Hip-Hop, is dense in appearances, featuring the likes of J. Cole, Rapsody, Busta Rhymes and to my surprise, King Draft.

Beyond The Surface

On the 12th, upcoming RnB singer, Summer Walker, released her first full studio project entitled Last Day of Summer. Summer, who makes music for the fluidly feminine, type-A, hopeless romantic woman that will flip the script with little notice, reveals her own psychological views of how love should go. The young artist relates to many women in her desires to be free in love, not leashed to societal or superficial standards. She also presses the taboo topic of role reversal on the album's first single, "Girls Need Love", wanting it to be socially acceptable for women to assume the role of the aggressor if they choose. Overall the album gives off trap-soul vibes. Last Day of Summer is available to all platforms.
Jay Pluss, released his single "On One"exactly a week ago, just months after his project, Triple Blackness. On his new single, Jay (+) talks about laying low and mapping out his major comeback.
On the 25th, Amber Mark shared the official visual for her feel-good track "Put You On" which features rap artist DRAM.
Known soul singer, Daniel Caesar, shows us his wild side with his sexy new single "Who Hurt You?".
Khalid released his second album, Suncity days ago on the 21st. The album, seamless all around, is an open letter to the upcoming star's hometown El Paso, Texas, its latin influence sprinkled through out the album in various ways. On Suncity, Khalid celebrates being a light. What can be seen as a plague of misunderstanding is actually a gift. The singer celebrates finding the correlation between life, experience, growth and love. The album is another fusion project, off-centered between RnB and Pop on the genre spectrum. Suncity is available on all streaming platforms.
Lord Jah-Monte OGBON, brought us more "King Callis" vibes with the release of #BestRapperCLT (Real Life 3). While the rapper has chosen to go by his birth name, he remains the same in essence. The name change was essentially the embodiment of integration; the rapper continues to rhyme about his origin, destination, and everything in between. On #BestRapperCLT, Lord Jah-Monte talks about simultaneously navigating different avenues with one eye open, carefully avoiding pitfalls of the past. The lyricist is aggressive in his delivery of threatening punch lines over delicately classic lo-fi beats-- definitely a vibe.
Lost, released on the 18th, is compilation of Brent Faiyaz mixed emotions. The RnB artist is a product of a brutal environment, yet remains in tune with his emotional body. On Lost, Brent unbottles his unsettling feelings about the space between his current position and end goal. In the process of sorting through those feels, life continues to happen to Faiyaz, causing his anxiety to boil over and seep into other areas of his life. The troubled artist sings about his fear of "opps" or gold-diggers, while deeply longing to dedicate himself to a woman that will love him at his lowest. The contemporary project has 90's RnB and rock undertones and signature euphoric transitions. Lost is available on major streaming platforms.
RnB artist Amerie, who has been missing in action, has resurfaced with a double side album, Side A entitled 4AM Mulholland and Side B entitled After 4AM. On the double sided project, Amerie gives way to the idea of loving now and thinking later. Sometimes that means rehashing a failed relationship, dropping our bags ("hoes") at the door, and always ignoring the possibilities of failure. While both sides are about the same thing, they take on different sounds. I prefer Side B for its fluidity and natural tones. The album is available on all streaming platforms.

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Beyond The Surface

On the 12th, London turned U.S. RnB star, Ella Mai released her self-titled debut album, which is solely about love. The acronym "ELLA" is revealed as the album progresses to highlight emotion, lust, love, and awareness as progressive stages of romance. Ella uses ballads and two-part harmonies to address her short-comings and offerings-- made privy by conscious involvement, and she celebrates being loved regardless of imperfection. The singer brings light to the idea of using love as a healing mechanism, understanding that healing through love is only possible when all parties surrender their need to control and embrace vulnerability-- a twin flame concept. Obviously the singer is a hopeless romantic. The album, well-written, cohesive, and diverse, is ultimately a classic RnB album made simple. Ella Mai is available on all streaming platforms.
Earlier this week, Mahalia shared the official visual for her single, "Surprise Me". The visual is collection of choreographed candids of a seemingly great love, while the song is Mahalia's acceptance of the thought-to-be love as an illusion. The single is one of five on Mahalia's EP, Seasons.
Longtime RnB artist, Nivea has returned over a decade later after being sidelined by the industry. The diamond in the ruff was the first chosen to unveil the raw truths behind her career coming to a sudden halt years ago on BET's web docu-series, "Finding". Shortly after its airing on September 21st, Nivea released her single, "Circles" which is a sure RnB hit.
Champagne Eyes is AlunaGeorge's third studio project and also a concise personification of the divine feminine becoming aware of herself. Aluna eludes to the patriarchal idealism of the divine feminine, speaking on the expectation to be perfect, "emotional", dependent and "wholesome". The artist classifies her work as RnB/soul but there are definitely some stylistic fusions present in her music. The EP is available on all streaming platforms.

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