Recorded in Crown Heights, Brooklyn over a three-year period from 2019 to 2022, Nappy Nina’s new LP Mourning Due is billed as “a record that considers grief a currency and questions who is owed what”. Her voice throughout is hushed and contemplative, backed up by nicely varied production characterised by dreamily looped samples and raw, complex drum patterns. Weeping Waltz featuring a guest spot from Cavalier is a stand out, but the entire album is definitely worth a listen.
Dean Blunt, TYSON – PRESSED
You have three days left to download Dean Blunt’s new EP via the Wetransfer link he made available out over the weekend. Clocking in at less than eight minutes, Give me a moment features five new original tracks, including PRESSED. His ability to create and rapidly exit a vibe remains unparalleled.
Lil Yachty – the BLACK seminole.
It’s arguably a touch early to make this call, but: Lil Yachty’s Let’s Start Here is the album of the year. It’s incredible! And the opening track, the BLACK semihole encapsulate everything that’s great about it, moving from Steve Lacy-esque funk rock to Echoes-era Pink Floyd, complete with mid-song tempo shift. Time will tell whether I’ve been grossly premature – and to be fair I’ve only listened to it twice – but for now, this is the album by which all others should be judged.
Kota The Friend – WALES
Kota The Friend’s Lyrics to GO started life as a visual project that Kota released as episodes via YouTube, due to Kota’s lack of funds for shooting music videos alongside a desire to increase social media visibility as an independent artist. I’m not sure whether this is still the case – the latest drop Vol.4 doesn’t seem to have any accompanying music videos as yet – but the tracks keep coming; rarely clocking in over two minutes, yet always as fresh and engaging as you’d expect.
Raw Poetic and Damu The Fudgemunk collaborated on one of my favourite albums of this year – the massively underrated Laminated Skies – and this is similarly brilliant: robotic funk, hypnotic lyrics and the second single from their forthcoming album Space Beyond the Solar System, which lands this Friday.
Slezz – Slezzin
I’m really not going to make a habit of sharing festive songs this month, but I just heard this and it made me laugh: a hyperpop/rap/Twelve Days of Christmas mashup that’s totally unhinged in a very enjoyable way.
Quinton Barnes – Fuck On U
Quinton Barnes’s fantastic new album For The Love Of Drugs landed last week, and while my overall takeaway from the LP is that Quinton has bascially had enough of everyone’s shit, there are a few gentler, borderline romantic moments, of which Fuck On U is arguably the strongest. Boasting the crunchy synth lines that characterise much of the album’s production paired with some truly gorgeous piano, it sees QB showing his vulnerable side to powerful effect.
NNAMDÏ – Anti
NNAMDÏ’s head-spinning new album Please Take A Seat takes great delight in wrong-footing you. Relatively straightforward rap one second, it will turn sharply into chaotic electronics or jaunty pop before throwing in the kind of guitar riffs more at home in 80s stadium rock. I’m not sure it always works, but it is highly ambitious and enjoyably eccentric. Anti is one of the more straightforwardly enjoyable moments, but it’s really worth checking out in its entirety to get the full effect of its undeniable power.
JID – Kody Blu 31
People are really losing their shit about the new JID album The Forever Story. I’m less overwhelmingly convinced (so far), but there are definitely a few really impressive moments that elevate it above the standard rap fare, the low-tempo, lo-fi r&b-meets-soul swagger of Kody Blu 31 not least among them.
Steve Lacy – Cody Freestyle
Steve Lacy’s name looms large in my consciousness, without me knowing very much about him at all. He’s someone I feel I would really be into if I paid proper attention, and yet his last album completely passed me by, to the extent that I wasn’t really sure what to expect from his new LP Gemini Rights, but was pretty sure I would get something out of it. And I did! Especially the tracks Mercury – which was released as a single last month – and Cody Freestyle, which is big and melodramatic and brilliant.