We all need to slip into a little minor-key melancholy from time to time when we want to be torn away from our own pensive narratives and tune into new ones to find less-odious ways of viewing the world.
December Fades’ latest single Say Their Names does exactly that. It poignantly, poetically and powerfully commemorates the lives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd while softly, scathingly attacking the injustice which brought about their deaths. It may be a sorrowful single, but it affirms that beauty can bloom from tragedy. December Fades and their darkly soulful approach to Pop is exactly what 2020 needs, a reminder that vengeance doesn’t need to be violent or ugly. Kill them with kindness. Kill them with poetry entwined in melody.
Say Their Names was released on October 23rd, you’ll be able to check it out for yourselves by heading over to the artist’s Spotify.
I unashamedly admit that the first verse in Pop Singer-Songwriter Maya La Maya’s debut single Keep on Fighting allowed the floodgates to open. From there on out, you’re in for an evocative ride as you hear the pure unfaltering conviction in Maya La Maya’s vocal delivery as she compels the listener to keep on fighting in the war against injustice. She finds clever ways of reminding you how ignorance is complicity and holds no bars when it comes to alluding to the extent of the sufferance.
The Rap verse was extremely efficacious at hammering home the extent of injustice which is currently plaguing the planet. Without any hint of hyperbole Keep on Fighting is the most powerful song I’ve heard this year. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful track which will no doubt stay with me for the rest of my life. Not just the polished, matured and extremely authentic sound which Maya La Maya offered with Keep on Fighting. But the feeling of responsibility it leaves you with. If you can listen to the names of the black lives lost due to systemic racial hatred being listed and not feel compelled to do something, you probably have no soul.
In the wake of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor killings comes Gallileo Damascus’ “Long Time Come”. A Black Lives Matter challenge song that opens, in its accompanying YouTube video, with a ‘naming of the dead’ amid scenes of flames, helmeted riot police, and protestors’ placards. A quietly burning protest song, softly spoken but no less powerful for it, the repeated refrain of “It’s been a long long long time/since we stood up and we fight” quietly but firmly voicing the outrage and frustration of the #BLM movement.
Produced by Grime and Afrobeat hotshot Ransom Beatz, ‘Long Time Come’ is a low tempo jazzy hip-hop affair, Gallileo’s autotune-heavy poetic vocals sitting atop a bed of hi-hat and rimshot beats and mellow saxophone, the drums and bassline driving behind a soft-spoken but insistent call for justice for those on the wrong end of oppression and brutality.
You can check out Gallileo Damascus’ track Long Time Come via Spotify.
It’s not every day we get the pleasure of describing Hip Hop as mesmeric, but we couldn’t help being transfixed by UK-based Hip Hop artist Gus’ latest hazy single Colors.
Colors kicks off with a stunning low-tempo Jazz piano arrangement before the atmospheric beats create the perfect platform for Gus’ bars. It’s within the Rap bars that Gus’ sets himself apart with an insane amount of distinction.
Gus didn’t just scratch at the surface for the lyricism, he dug deep to offer his own experience of oppression. Yet, there was no apathy or anger within his tone, simply a request for understanding and an olive branch of connection to everyone else who feels defeated by injustice and prejudice.
I could say Colors is emotional and compelling, or I can admit that I was a teary mess before the track was even halfway through.
Colors is available to stream and download through all major platforms via this link
After a string of successful singles, up and coming US Rap artist Dan B. has dropped a firestorm of a hit with his latest release “Please” featuring Zorenzo.
Every time I hear a contemporary track tackling current issues, I feel my perspectives shift. After hearing Please, my perspective took a seismic transposition. The slow and evocatively compelling feat of RnB Hip Hop is sure to hit a nerve if you have a shred of empathy left Their sobering introspection which shows just how deeply systemic racism is ingrained within our society will leave you grounded, but Please is anything but your usual morose RnB single. It’s empowering, it’s comforting, and importantly it’s educational.
I’m not ashamed to say that I couldn’t make it to the end of the mix with dry eyes. The stunning Alt-Rock instrumentals which lay down absorbing riffs behind the solid structure of the drumbeats are the perfect sweetener to this sobering hit.
There’s also plenty to say about the poetic air to Dan B.’s lyrics. I could tell you all about it, but you’ve got ears. You can check out Dan B.’s latest single Please which dropped on June 17th for yourselves via apple music.
AkaMicLarry is a Colombian born indie artist, freelance music producer, videographer and graphic design artist who has just dropped his visuals for ”George Floyd”.
AkaMicLarry who moved to London with his family when he was young as a refugee, sends out quite the powerful tribute to the sad loss of George Floyd. This song details exactly what happened and the absolute frustration with the local police force. The visuals here are striking with the the protests out in the streets and what is really going on out there.
”George Floyd” is a huge statement and the rhymes from AkaMicLarry are of like a freestyler who is making a raw song with tight flows. This is a Hip Hop charged video and song with a massive message of unity against atrocious acts against the Black community. Black Lives Matter and the huge support has left tremors blowing all the way around the world. Hopefully this song AkaMicLarry helps educate those that think with about anything else they have read or watched on TV.
RnB Soul artist Brent Williams’ latest single “What If It Was Me” asks a sobering question which has been on the minds of black people for generations. Not just after George Floyd’s murder.
While I’ve heard innumerable justified aggressive attacks on systematic racial oppression lately, Brent Williams took a more soulful approach to point out the devastating reality for every black person living in fear.
Hopefully, their release can help the narrowminded realise the utter absurdity in racial prejudice. On the flip side, I can only imagine how many people fighting the same battle as Brent Williams will find invaluable resonance in this single. It may be a downtempo ambient RnB hit, but that doesn’t prevent What If It Was Me from hitting excruciatingly hard.
You can check out What If It Was Me which dropped on July 10th by heading over to Apple Music.
Up and coming Neo-Soul artist SLSTRSS dropped the music video for her seminal single Better on July 4th. Prepare to be galvanized.
We’re all feeling a little caged and frustrated at the state of the world right now, SLSTRSS latest single offers you an inspirationally powerful different outlook. Refusing to deal with the world as it is doesn’t have to mean resigning in apathy, as SLSTRSS poignantly alludes, we can simply start to be better.
Despite the smooth soulful production, Better is definitely one of the most hard-hitting tracks I’ve heard this year. If you’re looking for an empowering aural pick me up, look no further.
You can check out the official video to SLSTRSS’ latest single by heading over to YouTube.
Up and coming Hip Hop artist AJ Peoples’ latest single “Do I…” stands as a testament to the fact that the best music is born out of dark times.
The track perfectly captures the anger, confusion and need for revolution that we’ve all felt over the last few months. But AJ Peoples does far more than just relay details from a shared experience. The passion, venom and conviction in Do I… have the power to change your outlook on lockdown and the BLM movement. The energising track gives you a fresh hit of frustration with how the world is currently unravelling before us, it also compels you to throw away any complacency and apathy and use your voice. We might not all have the lyrical prowess as AJ Peoples, but that’s no reason to stay silent.
In short, Do I… is an unforgettable perception-shifting track which I’d need a significant brain injury to forget.
You can check out the official video to AJ Peoples’ single which dropped on June 24th for yourselves via YouTube.
Alt Hip Hop artist JAY DVRDEN’s tracks always have an overwhelmingly profound effect. Naturally, their latest release “No Justice” featuring Rap artist Lil Rose TFB which chillingly alludes to the injustice revolving around the unforgivable number of black lives lost hit insanely hard.
JAY DVRDEN kept with their usual sludgy Grunge Trap style with No Justice. The angular cutting notes weave through the rattle of the 808s and vocals bleed into the mix just enough to find perfect synergy with the morose melodies.
The Trap artist’s ability to make nuances of Shoegaze carry the same mesmerising hypnotic draw as they do in Slowdive’s tracks makes JAY DVRDEN one of the most pioneering artist’s I’ve heard this year.
Aural fascination aside, No Justice is exactly the kind of track which we need more of right now. It grounds you in empathy and compassion for the victims of police brutality and charges you with the motivation to take a stand.
You can check out the official music video to No Justice which premiered on June 21st via YouTube.