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.
Moody rap for you today, elevated way above the crowd thanks to highly distinctive vocal performances from both Mezraa and Kris the $pirit, alongside subdued but beautiful production and drum programming that doesn’t just follow the usual trappy patterns. Sad, addictive and as atmospheric as it gets.
BLACK METAL 2 arrived pretty much out of nowhere today, and I’m already completely obsessed. The follow up to 2014’s BLACK METAL, it immediately transports you back into that heady, dreamlike world, pulling you into its thick, fuggy atmosphere and sounding like nothing else out there. People will write far longer, vastly more eloquent reviews of this over the coming days and weeks: all I can say for now is that it’s in a class of its own and deserves all the plaudits its inevitably going to get.
Kiwi-French artist Kazra makes his TPW debut with new single, Welcome To My Stream which serves as the opening track from his upcoming debut album Reconnected. Influenced by iconic rap stars like Travis Scott and Post Malone, it strikes just the right balance between chest-puffing aggrandising and floating, nihilistic melancholy, especially in the glorious mid-section.
Montreal based, St. Vincent born artist Skiifall blends disorientating, hard-hitting instrumentalism with rich, melodic flows on latest single Bentayga Dust. There’s a dichotomy between the ominous beats and soothing vocals that works really well, and the rise and fall flow of some of his bars are pure, hypnotic genius.
10 & 2 – the latest single from Ghanaian/American dancer, rapper and singer-songwriter NanaBcool, and directly addresses his own experiences of police oppression and violence. After spending a couple of months performing and writing throughout multiple cities in Europe, the hook for 10 & 2 came to him while walking around Amsterdam. “I was in such a calm mood, but for “10 and 2, 10 and 2 what the fuck a nigga supposed to do” to come up really indicates that regardless of the mood I’m in, I always have to be aware when police are around.” Intricately, soulfully produced, it’s one of the most impressive hip hop cuts I’ve heard so far this year.
Warm and soulful on the surface but packed with a political directness in its lyrics which are, as ever, flawlessly delivered by Noname, Rainforest packs in an outrageous amount into its relatively short running time. There are so many lyrical earworms here, but “A rainforest cries / Everybody dies a little / And I just wanna dance tonight” is the one that’s stuck with me. On paper perhaps this comes across as a little cliche, but the understated delivery makes dancing seems like the most understandable – and perhaps only – reaction to one of the many approaching global calamities we’re faced with on a daily basis.
This. Is. Absolutely. Ridiculous. Best, most creative rapper currently working. I said it! Cos it’s true!
In times gone by Coi Leray’s No More Parties would sound more like a hungover pep talk delivered to yourself after yet another write-off of a Sunday than a grim prediction of just how little fun we’ll be having this year, but regardless: it’s still really fun and I really like it, and lyrics like “I’m only doing shit that’s gonna make me elevate / Only want people around that’s gonna make me better” is making me feel significantly more motivated to Get Shit Done than 1000 ham-fisted open letters from our utter fucking moron of a leader ever could.
I’ve always associated Father and Awful Records with a certain kind of drug-fuelled hedonism that seems to spark both creativity and extreme levels of lethargy, probably in large part due to that Boiler Room documentary where they all sit around in a pretty run-down house, talking about music, religion and getting extremely fucked up. His music has always been fairly tongue-in-cheek and hazily delivered, but Come Outside, We Not Gone Jump You – the title track from his latest LP – sounds almost sincere and, well, romantic? Maybe that’s taking things a little too far, especially given some of the lyrical content, but regardless, it’s a welcome return.