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Music

Don Lifted – Brain Fluid

The latest from rising Memphis artist Don Lifted is a moody rap cut based around themes of sexual and gender multiplicity, desire and vulnerability, and according to the artist written from “a moment of extreme longing for something that didn’t exist and I feared never would and what it would be like if the moment was presented to me.” That’s a whole lot of double (triple?) negatives that I haven’t quite got my head around, but suffice to say it’s a very fine, evocative piece of work.

https://www.instagram.com/donlifted

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Golden Rules – Never Die feat. Freddie Gibbs & Yasiin Bey (Prefuse 73 Remix)

Brilliantly woozy retro-leaning hip-hop for you today from a heavyweight lineup of exceptionally talented dudes, but I’m having a bit of a hectic day and can’t go on about it too much so just listen to it, it’s a vibe.

https://www.instagram.com/lexrecords

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Platnume – Romans

Produced by Platnume and DJ Jaden, the intention behind Romans was to make a fun but still impactful rap cut without the use of profanity: an admirable aim, and one that pays off. The Queens duo have cited artists like Kid N Play and Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, the influence of whom aren’t immediately obvious as Romans is significantly moodier than the vast majority of these 90s icons’ output. However, there is A LOT of autotune rap out there and this definitely cuts through the crowd, so they must be doing something right.

https://www.instagram.com/iamplatnume/

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D’sinatra – Virgil Abloh

I can find out absolutely no information whatsoever about D’sinatra online except that’s he’s from Toronto, but this is a fucking brilliant, moody, atmospheric hip-hop track that more people should be listening to, so here you go.

https://www.instagram.com/deesinatramusic

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Flying Lotus – Mind Flight

Flying Lotus occupies one of my many blind spots for artists I should really know about and be listening to a lot, but never seem to get around to. My thought process goes something like: Flying Lotus is really good / everyone seems to love him / I expect I’d really enjoy it if I dedicated a bit of time to exploring his catalogue / that seems like hard work / I’ll just listen to Nation of Language again. So it’s odd that what’s essentially a soundtrack album is the one that’s caught my attention, but here we are. Mind Flight is taken from Yasuke – which is a six-part Anime series for Netflix – and the entire thing is brilliant. But I guess you already knew that, didn’t you?

https://flying-lotus.com

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FairRose – The Feels (feat. Snt Harper, Apollo Naps, Joe Nora & Frankie Jax No Mad)

Considering the amount of featured artists appearing on it, The Feels is both understated and concise: a lazy, hazy hip-hop jam that never tries too hard, or at all really. This came out back in February as part of FairRose’s album The Antics which is a laidback delight from start to finish, conjuring a tone and atmosphere distinct from anything else I’ve heard this year. It’s probably a little bit of a lazy comparison, but I can hear definite echos of The Fugees, both in the collaborative approach and the specific style of production, which pays homage to the dusty sampling techniques of the 90s without ever feeling like it’s ripping anyone off.

https://soundcloud.com/fairroseave

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The Egyptian Lover – Cinnamon Oil Massage

Pioneering electro pioneer The Egyptian Lover has doubled down on his 2015 album 1985 with new LP 1986. Like its predecessor it focusses entirely on the kind of sounds and techniques he was using back in the mid-1980s, and aside from it perhaps sounding a little more polished that some of the electro and proto-hip-hop being produced then, its otherwise sounds completely indistinguishable. Cinnamon Oil Massage is a definite highlights, complete with the omnipresent crisp, punchy 808 beats and an outrageously over the top electric guitar solo which is absolutely joyous.

https://thegyptianlover.bandcamp.com/album/1986

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Cam Be – Summer In September

Aside from being an accomplished musician, Cam Be is also an Emmy award-winning produced for TV, director, artist and photographer, and Summer In September taken from his 2020 album of the same name. Now accompanied by a dream-like video from director Briana Clearly, there’s more than a hint of Frank Ocean in its tender, drifting melodies and hazy vocals: a pure, innocent snapshot of a burgeoning love frozen in time, looping for eternity.

https://3arts.org/artist/cam-be

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Smino & Saba – Plead the .45th

Smino & Saba’s soulful new collab is their contribution to the Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack, a new film based on the life of Black Panther head Fred Hampton and his death as a result of FBI informant William O’ Neal. The accompanying album Judas And The Black Messiah: The Inspired Album includes 22 tracks from artists like H.E.R., Nas, Hit-Boy, Black Thought, Nipsey Hussle, JAY-Z, JID, BJ The Chicago Kid, A$AP Rocky etc, etc, and – perhaps unsurprisingly given the calibre of that list – is well worth a listen.

https://JATBM.lnk.to/TheInspiredAlbumID

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Burd Hauz – Fated Feel

There’s very little information out there about Burd Haus, but what I do know is: she’s from Philadelphia, she’s just released her debut album In My Sky and she makes really good music. Also, Fated Feel reminds me a lot of Yves Tumor, which can only ever be a good thing, even though it’s significantly more chill than a lot of their recent work. Possibly it’s the slightly tuned-out guitar licks or the drawling vocal delivery, but whatever, this sits somewhere between R&B, hip hop and indie rock and is highly recommended.

https://www.instagram.com/burdhauz