Memphis-hailing hip hop artist 2Deep the Southern President paved the way to mental resilience with his latest single, ‘2020’, that dropped on March 20th.
By utilising his talent for storytelling and lyrical wordplay, he was able to summarise the atrocities of 2020 and create a time capsule that we’ll be able to throwback to in years to come and hopefully see how pivotal it was to spark social change.
With lyrics such as “it took a pandemic for white folks to notice their knee on our neck, it has been there for a hundred years, can we finally get some respect”, it’s a sobering track that unapologetically asks the listener to see past the media spins, look into the root of societal sickness and do something about it.
It’s a stellar feat of old school hip hop, born from 2Deep the Southern President’s affinity for artists just as Jay Z, UGK, Outkast, 88 Ball and MJG. His sound already packs the same punch. For your sanity’s sake, get him on your radar.
The official video to 2020 is now available to stream via YouTube.
Boston-based RnB pop duo the LOOP made their debut in February 2021 with their soulfully interrogative single, ‘See Me Beyond My Skin’, featuring collaborative artists MZ Starr and Marcia.
It’s the pinnacle of elegance as it confronts subconscious and conscious prejudice and invites the listener to look deeper when attempting to understand women of colour. The single possess plenty of sonic power, but the real weight in this single is how it allows you to find compassion for people who are in view but never truly seen.
Hopefully, one day, tracks such as See Me Beyond My Skin won’t need to exist; for now, we’ll have to heed the words of artists such as the Loop who are bringing that day closer with their melodic grooves, unfiltered lyrics and harmonically sweet vocals.
See Me Beyond My Skin is now available to stream via Spotify.
With a funk/rock pedigree that includes collaborations with artists such as Sheila E, Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr, John Legend, St. Vincent, and George Clinton, Mychael Gabriel is at the forefront of a new Minneapolis Sound generation. Now, with ‘Fury’, he brings forth probably the most danceable groove of a protest song that Michael Jackson never wrote.
Sounding like early, Off The Wall-era Jackson coupled with some of Nile Rodgers’ best ‘Chic’ guitar chops – plus some proper ‘guitar hero’ funk shredding on the solo at around the two-minute mark – ‘Fury’ rages at the injustice of peaceful protest scapegoating rioting and unrest, wrestling with racism and intolerance, but always with a style and groove that lifts it above being ‘just’ a protest song. ‘Fury’ is a bona fide funk/rock powerhouse of a track, chock-full of swagger and funk alongside its outrage and, well yeah, Fury.
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.