Let Love – [Common]

I apologize because I am admittedly a few weeks late to this, but not too long ago the Chicago legend Common released his new album Let Love, and it’s some of his best work to date. I have been a huge fan of Common since I was a kid, his music has been something like a soundtrack to certain times in my life, so I was eager to hear what this new project sounded like. Well, over the past couple of weeks I have had this album on repeat, it’s one of my favorite albums of 2019. He rhymed over some amazing, soulful instrumentals on this eleven-track tape, he gave us a part two of his hit record ‘I used to love H.E.R.’ and other touching songs like the ode to his mother on ‘Forever Your Love’. Common has released some classic albums over the years, and I believe that this new project will too stand the test of time, bravo to Common for putting his best foot forward. If you haven’t already checked out this album, give it a spin via Spotify below!

The Lay Down – [Big Baby DRAM] ft. [H.E.R.] & [watt]

With the announcement that he is dropping new music, DRAM also released a message explaining that, 2 years removed since his last album, he would be getting back to his R&B and soul roots. Starting off, he’s definitely aligning himself with the right people, recruiting new R&B sensation H.E.R, and guitarist Andrew Watt for “The Lay Down.”  Though the overall direction and cushioned R&B-driven board work may be new ground, DRAM’s charisma, and unique vocal drawl remain true and he does a great job of blending it with H.E.R’s smoky voice. Still present, as well, is DRAM’s knack for arrangement. Here he rounds out the cut emphatically with a strutting solo from watt that’s backed by some impressive vocal harmonies and powerful drums that work together to create rich, cascading feel. Taking the qualities that are rooted in his DNA that made him a fan-favorite, but applying them to a new sound and direction, DRAM kicks off this new, Big Baby DRAM chapter with a bang.

Not Another Love Song – [LoveAylin]

Chicago artists have all the soul and heart that is required to get you in your feels, especially when it comes to R&B. Chicago singer LoveAylin recently released a gorgeous R&B ballad ironically titled, “Not Another Love Song.” She sings about a lover who has scorned her in the past, but continues to use the iffiness of the relationship as a muse to keep the flame lit. She passionately belts, “Just lay me down, love me slow / just show me you want me more,” in the slow 6/8 meter that makes the song sound like a grooving waltz. The reverb on the vocal sample gives the production an aesthetic similar to a NWTS-era Drake beat, but the song as a whole definitely puts her in a similar hemisphere as H.E.R. and Kehlani. LoveAylin has all the potential in the world. She is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. Stream the song here and keep an eye out for more: Words by Barry R

Racks – [H.E.R.] ft. [YBN Cordae]

H.E.R. solidified herself as one of the forerunners in RnB’s new wave with her grammy award-winning self-titled album, and now the singer has shared a new song just in time for summer. “Racks” is a sultry single that feels right in H.E.R.’s pocket, and it also features rising star and longtime favorite on our page, YBN Cordae. Together, the two reflect on seeking love while also chasing after a bag, wrestling with the fact that what they really want can’t be bought. They build off each other’s songwriting with H.E.R. bringing her signature smooth vocals to the table and Cordae lending a quick but effective verse. Listen to H.E.R. and YBN Cordae team up for “Racks” below:

Hip-Hop And The Grammys: It’s Complicated

On the Recording Academy’s Up-and-Down Relationship with Rap     The scent of weed wafting its way down the hall to my room from Andre3000’s neighboring after party cements the night in my mind like it was yesterday. Andre had reason to celebrate: it was 2004, and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below had just won what is generally considered to be the top prize on “Music’s Biggest Night”—the Grammy Award for album of the year. I remember the night, and that smell of success, like it was yesterday. But it was hardly yesterday, was it? It’s the most oft-mentioned, ongoing streak of embarrassment for the Grammys, but it must be repeated annually until it’s broken: it has been fifteen years since that Outkast win, and no rap project since has reached the Grammy summit. Plenty of worthy LP’s have been nominated, but all have come up short, including exceptional  releases by Lil Wayne, Drake, Jay-Z and—three times each, Eminem, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. That’s fifteen years, mind you, in which hip-hop has only solidified its place as contemporary culture’s preeminent sound and style. What can you say? Fool me once…but fool me fifteen times? The 61st Grammy Awards will take …

This Is Your World – [Shy Girls]

Though it is only about a year old, the Keep Cool imprint some serious weight behind it. Under the RCA umbrella, Keep Cool was co-created by  Tunji Balogun, who, if you’re wondering, has played an instrumental role in the career of SZA, Khalid, Bryson Tiller, H.E.R., and Goldlink (just to name a few). Just yesterday, the imprint announced the “Keep Cool Projects”, described on  Twitter as a “forum for events, visual content, everything-in-between + a way for us to release music we love that might otherwise get lost in traditional systems.” The first project? “This Is Your World”: a smooth, understated effort from Portland crooner, Shy Girls. With a plunging bass, steady drums, and a smooth guitar solo that rounds out the effort, the track gives off some jazzy vibes. Vocally, Shy Girls impresses with his gliding, feathery vocals that, when juxtaposed with the bass-driven boardwalk, provide a unique flavor, and the final result is a song that I can’t seem to keep off of repeat. That said, “This Is Your World” is the first single off Shy Girls’ forthcoming album, Bird on the Wing, set to drop this spring. Be sure to keep a close eye on the Keep Cool Projects as well. With major …

I Still Love h.e.r. – [Bobby Feeno]

Bobby Feeno first made his debut on our pages a couple weeks back after he blessed the world with his debut project “Flamingo & Koval”, and today he is back with the release of his brand new music video for “I Still Love h.e.r.”! Bobby joined forces with video director Issac Yowman who was the brilliant mind behind the camera on this one, and it doesn’t take more than one watch through to see that they created something to truly be proud of. Check out this brand new visual below and if you like it be sure to let me know in the comments section!

Every Kind Of Way – [Wale]

Wale has been on a hot streak with his past several releases including “All Star Break Up” and the “It’s Complicated” EP, & today he is back with a dope new remix of H.E.R.’s record “Every Kind Of Way”. If you were familiar with the original track you were probably eager to see how the DMV superstar improved the offering, and let me be the first to tell you that he certainly did not disappoint. Wale attacked the soulful & addictive production with this witty, punch line filled flows, rapping his ass off & delivering a stellar verse  before the track leads back into H.E.R.’s glorious vocals. This is one of those records that you can’t listen to just once, if you’re anything like me you will find yourself slamming the repeat button over and over again. Stream this amazing new record below and if you like it be sure to keep up with Wale by giving him a follow on Twitter here!