A fantastic debut from Khalid – a singer we're expecting will shape the sound of American soul in years to come – thanks to the strength of the work on this album! Khalid's got a voice that's totally unique – upfront about his weaknesses and youth, which he never tries to hide with any sort of overdone cliches or posturing – in ways that bring a whole new sort of honesty to mainstream soul! The presentation of the tunes is nicely fresh, too – sometimes quite lean, but not in a way to evoke any sort of "fake" soul – as can sometimes be the case – and instead just open to the organic flow of the words of the singer, which are even more powerful in the subtlety of the setting. Titles include "Young Dumb & Broke", "Another Sad Love Song", "Coaster", "8Teen", "Cold Blooded", "Therapy", "Winter", and "American Teen". LP, Vinyl record album
We're huge fans of the series Insecure – and over and above the performance and vision of the show by Issa Rae, we're also big fans of the music – which features a great array of contemporary artists working on the forefront of soul music – really taking things far in a range of 21st Century modes! This album features a few tracks with Issa delivering some of her trademark freestyle breakout rhymes – but most of the package is comprised of songs that feature in scenes from the show – music that also makes for a great introduction to the new world of underground soul. Rae performs "Go Low", "Cheater For One", "Ho For It", "Rejected", and "Bloct" – and other tracks include "Supermodel" by SZA, "Insecure" by Jazmine Sullivan & Bryston Tiller, "Crew" by Goldlink with Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy, "A Lite" by Buddy, "Real Bitch Problems" by TT The Artist, "Lowkey" by Kari Faux, "Poppin" by Rico Nasty, "The Juice" by Hero, "Hit The Ceiling" by Lion Babe, "Feels Like" by NAO, "Fine Lines" by Jorja Smith, "Morning Blues" by Smiles Davis with Bosco and Tola, and "Gucci Ice Cream" by Girls In The Yard. LP, Vinyl record album
D'Angelo comes back after many years awol from the studio – and the result is a stunning new step in his music! We've loved the man from day one – and some folks could well say that he really helped reinvigorate soul back in the 90s – and all his time away from the studio has definitely been formative, as he comes back here with a righteous power that really blows away all his previous work! D'Angelo still loves the slow beat and mellow approach to funk – but he's also picked up a lot more fuzz and freak, too – righteous energy that more than lives up to the Black Messiah promised by the title, as do the lyrics. Instrumentation includes work by Questlove on drums, Roy Hargrove on trumpet, and Jesse Johnson on guitar – and the grooves have these tripping, slow-percolating elements that really give the lyrics a great sort of crackle. More than worth the wait – as you'll hear on titles that include "Back To The Future (parts 1 & 2)", "Sugah Daddy", "Really Love", "1000 Deaths", "Ain't That Easy", "Betray My Heart", "The Door", and "Till It's Done (Tutu)". LP, Vinyl record album
Drunk ... CD Brainfeeder, 2017. New Copy ...
Fantastic work from one of the most compelling mainstream talents in recent years – an artist who can get wide fame and acclaim, yet keep on pushing the boundaries into fresh new cosmic territory! This album may well be Thundercat's masterpiece – not just a summation of all the ideas and areas he's explored in the past, but also kind of a re-filtering of other modes as well – including the more spiritual and jazz-based territory that he's moved towards, especially when working with others! Yet there's nothing here that's an easy copy of another style, or another's work – as the whole thing bristles with a personal newness that's wonderful – even when Thundercat is getting help from guests who include Kamasai Washington, Flying Lotus, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, and Kendrick Lamarr – as well as some especially nice work from AOR legends Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. Titles include "I Am Crazy", "3AM", "Rabbot Ho", "Bus In These Streets", "Lava Lamp", "Jethro", "Show You The Way", "Drink Dat", "Jameel's Space Ride", and "Tokyo". (New Grooves, Neo Soul)CD
Thundercat with OG Ron C & The Chopstars —
Drank ... CD Brainfeeder, 2018. New Copy ...
A chopped-up take on Thundercat's album Drunk – handled here by OG Ron & The Chopstars – who provide a surprisingly sensitive take on the music! The album's billed as "chopped not slopped" – and that claim definitely seems right – as the music here is mostly opened up in a mellow way – sometimes slowed down to an even more spacious pace, which seems to open up a righteous energy on some of the tracks – while others have their jazzy energy kicked up a bit, but still with a balance in the overall spirit of the sound. Tracks include "Chopnotstop" remixes of "Weakstyle", "Lava Lamp", "Drunk", "DUI", "Bus In These Streets", "Captain Stupido", "Jamee's Spice Ride", and "A Fan's Mail". (New Grooves, Neo Soul)CD
A chopped-up take on Thundercat's album Drunk – handled here by OG Ron & The Chopstars – who provide a surprisingly sensitive take on the music! The album's billed as "chopped not slopped" – and that claim definitely seems right – as the music here is mostly opened up in a mellow way – sometimes slowed down to an even more spacious pace, which seems to open up a righteous energy on some of the tracks – while others have their jazzy energy kicked up a bit, but still with a balance in the overall spirit of the sound. Tracks include "Chopnotstop" remixes of "Weakstyle", "Lava Lamp", "Drunk", "DUI", "Bus In These Streets", "Captain Stupido", "Jamee's Spice Ride", and "A Fan's Mail". (New Grooves, Neo Soul)LP, Vinyl record album
(Limited edition purple vinyl pressing – with download!)
Ronald Bruner Jr —
Triumph ... LP World Galaxy/Alpha Pup, 2017. New Copy 2LP ...
A very well-titled album – given that the whole thing's a real triumph from Ronald Bruner Jr – who serves up some wonderful vocals alongside his work on drums – in a set that's got a swirlingly cosmic approach to soul! The album's overflowing with hip talents from the contemporary underground – with work from Thundercat on bass, Kamasai Washington on tenor, and even a bit of keyboards from the great George Duke – a lineup that really indicates the direction that Bruner is going for here – as he transforms contemporary soul with all the new energy from that scene too. And although his image on the cover might be tied to the streets, there's a more ambitious agenda taking place – as you'll hear on tracks that include "True Story", "Open The Gate", "Take The Time", "She'll Never Change", "Doesn't Matter", "One Night", "Sensation", "To You/For You", "Chick's Web", "Whenever", and "Geome Deome". LP, Vinyl record album
A stunner! If what you're looking for is the most personal and boldy creative I Ced effort to date, well, this is that and more – delivering boisterous modern funk beats and atmosphere underneath his soulful, spiritually-heightened vocals – probably his best ever! Those traits carry the vibe throughout, and leave plenty of room for adventurous stylistic exploration – from tight funk, to looser spacey soul and beyond. I Ced handles a lot of the vocal, instrumental and production work himself here, but there's an impressive guest list, too – including Om'Mas Keith, Thundercat, Jimetta Rose and others. Includes "What Are Looking For?", "Things We Like To Do", "Run Run", "Go Hard", "Wildest Dreams", "I Am Love" with Jimetta Rose and Erik Rico, "Forever", "Not A Farewell", "Sign Signed Signal" (plus a bonus alternate version with Quelle Chris, "Percu", "Baya" and more. CD