“Rolling Papers” is unexpectedly light-hearted and playful from Brandyn Burnette @EMAN8 and Toronto’s @leFrenchBraids

BRANDYN BURNETTE and FRENCH BRAIDS, “Rolling Papers”

“Rolling Papers” is one new song that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  Brandyn Burnette has been hard at work in 2020 as both a solo and feature artist, regularly releasing new songs to showcase his pop, hip hop and R&B styles.  “Rolling Papers” might be a bit of a crapshoot but it’s a whole lot of fun.  The singer shows off his deft wordsmithing and is aptly supported by rising Toronto electronic producer French Braids (aka Sean Fischer), with whom Brandyn worked earlier this year on the track “Legend”.  But in “Rolling Papers” it’s great to hear Brandyn’s verses freewheelin’ in a lighter, feel-good setting, and that is a big win for fans and new listeners.

Life-changing things can happen on “Tuesdays In July” according to Canadian singer/songwriter @Jeymon_me

JEYMON, “Tuesdays In July”

Waiting to put some spunk into your Autumn playlists is British Columbian singer/songwriter Jeymon with his debut single “Tuesdays In July”. It’s got a playful, sometimes linear-sounding melody that will resonate with you with subsequent listens. Not only that, but the song evokes a special time for the singer (previously known as JMON) when he encountered someone special on a Tuesday in July after a club event. So all of a sudden, Tuesdays in July became equally special, and he shares that happiness he found in this song. Fans of the lighter sides of The Weeknd and Miguel will enjoy the crossover pop-R&B-hip hop music of Jeymon, and you can also appreciate some melodic influences from his Punjabi heritage in the mix. Trading in his accounting education for music, you’ve got to appreciate a guy who offers this quote: “All I want to do in life is cheer people up with my music, literally just vibe and eat unlimited amounts of dried mangoes.”

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out @BretSears’ minimalist hip hop flavours in “Breaks My Heart” from his EP Imperfections

BRET SEARS, “Breaks My Heart”

Baltimore’s Bret Sears has shifted back and forth between electronic dance pop and hip hop in past releases which I’ve written about in the last few years. He recently released an EP called Imperfections, which almost anecdotally touches on a number of relationships in five very short songs. “Breaks My Heart” is the standout, drawing from influences from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bryson Tiller, Party Next Door, and others, in a sheer, minimalist production that captures the isolation which takes place when a relationship is ending. Though the song sometimes seems more like stream of consciousness without a centre, it still works well and demonstrates Bret’s ongoing close attention to his craft.

Published in: on September 25, 2020 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“You” is gritty soulful hip hop flavoured pop from Maine artist Shang-High

SHANG-HIGH, “You”

“You” is 3:19 of infectious and gritty soulful pop brought to your attention by Maine hip hop artist Shang-High.  The singer/songwriter has been off to a stellar start these past years with two albums and Spotify streams over one million for his song “What Did We Do”.  Since his last album in 2018, it’s been a steady outpouring of singles, and “You” definitely has all of the chops in place to draw in a variety of listeners.  Shang-High’s singing voice is totally on point, sometimes recalling a Daryl Hall or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai – and then it’s often brought to a raspy edge.  His hip hop break in “You” flows beautifully, and he’s clearly well-versed in that style (since hip hop isn’t my thing, I won’t even try to cite any influences), though to me it’s a secondary attraction in this particular song.  Overall, “You” is an energetic bop that will easily get stuck in your head.

Published in: on July 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A. producer @PrizmOfficial shows versatility with standout “Her Symphony” and earworm “Baby Do” featuring @RapperJayCee

THE PRIZM “Her Symphony”

THE PRIZM and RAPPERJAYCEE, “Baby Do”

L.A. progressive electronic and dance producer The Prizm recently unveiled his debut self-titled album.  It seems to be a conceptual piece about the search for a mysterious and important woman or entity called “ID”.  I previously wrote about the lead-off single “Hello” featuring pitched up vocals by singer McEwen.  The album will definitely appeal to those who enjoy Illenium in particular but other artists like Ekali, Crystal Skies, and Trivecta, and is tightly packed at only 32 minutes long. But the standout track is “Her Symphony”.  The soothing female vocal honestly just gets stuck in your head and the song has a nuanced, almost classically-based melody.  It’s also not quite like what the other artists I’ve mentioned are creating, so appropriately it really stands out.

Right after the release of the album came an almost instantaneous release of “Baby Do”, featuring Maryland’s RapperJayCee.  It’s completely in a different space than the music in the album.  “Baby Do” is a radio-friendly earworm that draws from late 90’s and early 00’s europop like Alice Deejay and marries it with a likeable rap style that you might hear in releases by Big Sean and definitely Drake.  It’s also got a positive message about ‘just doing you’ – no need for phoniness when you’re trying to attract someone’s attention.  “Baby Do” is a real surprise and well-worth hearing – because you’ll keep playing it!

Dig the 90’s hip hop and jazzy vibes in “Thinking A Lot” by Brooklyn The Kid @thatkidBrooklyn and @ConradoMuluc

BROOKLYN THE KID and CONRADO MULUC, “Thinking A Lot”

I don’t write a lot about hip hop as I’m not an expert in that genre, but I do know a good song when I hear it.  DMV-based rapper with Latin roots Brooklyn The Kid impresses with “Thinking A Lot” featuring fellow rapper Conrado Muluc.  The song takes a well-rounded sampling of hip hop styles post-Lauryn Hill and takes us back on a retro trip to the time of Digable Planets and Arrested Development.  The jazzy-Latin backdrop is incredibly inviting and the verses by Brooklyn and Conrado, a likeable M/F combo, flow freely, stream of consciousness-style.  “Thinking A Lot” certainly deserves your attention for all it has to offer in its loaded 2:41 length.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is “Bump This” a catch phrase of the winter? Listen to the contagious new hip hop song from @MichaelMedrano @JakeGermain_ and @Michete

MICHAEL MEDRANO, JAKE GERMAIN & MICHETE, “Bump This”

I’m not one to normally feature a song that’s basically about partying and taking drugs, and I’m no hip hop expert BUT the chorus, beat and rhythm made me do it 😛  I remembered L.A.’s Michael Medrano from his heartfelt collaboration with Steve Grand a few years ago called “Heal”, but I certainly didn’t expect the underground pop/hip hop of “Bump This”.  It’s positively contagious in a very retro way – think early 2000’s Dr. Dre or Lil Jon, or even 90’s Snoop Dogg, with a dash of what was once known as ‘whisper rap’.  Michael is joined in this salute to hedonism by two hip hop performers, Chicago’s Jake Germain and Seattle’s Michete.  The production is appropriately minimalist and all three performers acquit themselves well.  But it’s that beat and rhythm and that chorus, “bump this if you wanna get wild”, that will bring the listeners and make it blow up.  A video is much needed!!

“Wow” by NYC-based producer @NeilJacksonNY and rapper @Daytonaofficial surprises with infectious fusion of hip hop and bass house

NEIL JACKSON and THE KID DAYTONA, “Wow”

While there are many performers finding an interesting path with mixes of hip hop and electronic music, there are only a few that cut their way through a lot of similar-sounding songs and create some tantalizing fresh vibes.  Such is the case with “Wow” by NYC-based producer Neil Jackson and hip hop artist The Kid Daytona, which I must admit takes a few listens to appreciate where the song is heading.  Just when you think it’s getting comfortable in a contemporary hip hop style at the start, Neil turns the song almost sideways with big bass beats and synths while The Kid Daytona’s flow gets amped up and wraps itself tight around the electronic rhythms.  By the time the song reaches just under the 2 minute mark, there is no turning back, the groove is secured, and the convincing is over.  Bass house is one sub-genre you don’t usually find locking horns with hip hop but Neil Jackson and The Kid Daytona definitely have a winning combination that will appeal to fans of both styles.

Published in: on December 6, 2019 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Australia’s @YvngJalapeno reinvents “Not At All” by @Jayceeoh @StaffordBros and @Waka_Flocka_F

JAYCEEOH, STAFFORD BROTHERS and WAKA FLOCKA FLAME, “Not At All” (Yvng Jalapeño remix)

Australian producer Yvng Jalapeño goes all out to impress this time with his reinvention of “Not At All” by veteran producers and fellow Aussies the Stafford Brothers and L.A.’s Jayceeoh, along with Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame.  He takes a pretty slamming hip hop/electro track and turns it inside out and sideways.  Oh the song still goes really hard but in a Matrix kind of way 🙂 it’s kind of like anti-gravity trap and dubstep rolled all into one.  Waka Flocka Flame’s potent vocal in the original is now used as a startling and haunting effect.  “Not At All” is a busy track and not for everyone.  I have heard remixes before by Jvng Jalapeño but this one truly brings it and is meant to be played really loud.  Club DJ’s who want to keep their audience guessing will have fun with this one.  “Not At All” is also available in three other remixes should you wish to compare.

“Recycled Youth” is the compelling latest release from Minnesota’s @CallMeKarizma

CALL ME KARIZMA, “Recycled Youth”

After a brief break, Minnesota’s Call Me Karizma returns stronger than ever with “Recycled Youth”.  In a bit of stylistic departure, “Recycled Youth” goes for a more alt.rock/hip hop sound that recalls the early days of Beck and the post-punk music of the late street poet Jim Carroll.  Keeping his dedicated audience close to his heart, “Recycled Youth” puts ‘Riz in among many young people with complex issues in their lives and lets them know they are not alone.  And part of that dedicated audience also consists of other young people who can help just by being there for the rest.  “Recycled Youth” also seems to straddle different decades for parts of the song that even recall artists like T. Rex and Blink 182.  “Recycled Youth” is Call Me Karizma’s third release for the Sony-revised Arista label following “Serotonin” and the Billboard-charting “Monster (Under My Bed)”.

Published in: on May 23, 2019 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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