Texas Sun – [Khruangbin] & [Leon Bridges]

I’m always playing A&R in my brain, lining up producers with artists or building dream collaborations my head, still, my favorite collaborations are the ones that make me go, “Damn! I wish I had thought of that!” That’s the exact reaction I had when Khruangbin and Leon Bridges announced their joint EP, Texas Sun. Khruangbin is, bar none, my favorite group, making music right now. In my opinion, they are making some of the most unique and interesting stuff out there. Though I never would have thought to pair their instrumentals with Leon Bridges’ timeless, soulful voice, the collaboration is a perfect match; evidenced by the title track. “Texas Sun,” a country dusted ode to their home state. While the word “country” may turn some of you off, Khruangbin’s instrumental is more textured and diverse than the average country song, and Bridge’s voice gives it a more soulful feel. This one isn’t typically what we would share at Lyrical, but when acts as talented as Khruangbin and Bridges get together, it’s worth a listen; At the end of the day, good music is good music regardless of genre.

Smino: Still Building

Photo by Pooneh Ghana / Red Bull Content Pool On November 23rd, coordinated by Red Bull Music Festival, Smino played for a sold-out crowd at Thalia Hall in Chicago. A few days prior, he was nominated for his first Grammy Award in light of his contributions to the renowned Revenge of the Dreamers III. A few months before that, Smino offered a standout performance on Chance The Rapper’s highly-anticipated album, The Big Day. And before that, the St. Louis mainstay embarked on the 33-stop Hoopti Tour, directly after releasing his critically-acclaimed album, NOIR.  2019 has been busy for Smino. And tiring, probably. But on November 23rd, the wear and tear of a restless year, bounded by success, refused to be seen. Entering the stage with the same effortless cool that swept across his introductory album, blkswn, Smino won the night before it even started. The show was just a victory lap. You see, at one point in his life, Smino moved from St. Louis to Chicago without a dime. He slept on the floor of a cramped recording booth, convinced that at some point or another, Plan A would pay off. In front of an exhilarated Thalia Hall, I was …

Higher Self – [Navy Blue]

A rapper by the name of Navy Blue is ending 2019 by taking a moment to self-reflect on his new song, “Higher Self”. The new track and accompanying video showcase the rapper’s spoken-word style of rap as he lets his stream of consciousness flow in the form of methodical, thought-provoking bars. Navy Blue navigates between subject matter with a deftness for connecting floating thoughts in his mind, and it feels like he draws content for his lyrics naturally from his environment. He treats the song as one extended verse filled with vivid metaphors and double entendres that keep a listener on their toes. There’s an overwhelming melancholy that pervades the entire track, and producer Demahjiae adds to this effect with a beat that’s composed of an eerie piano loop and other sparse, ambient sounds. The video itself, directed by Ryosuke Tanzawa, builds a portrait Navy Blue’s world through vignettes into daily life as he walks down the street. The rapper seems to find his inspiration for his poetry as he moves through the scene, and his process gets rendered in a grainy, vintage style that reiterates the timelessness of his sound. Watch “Higher Self” by Navy Blue below:

No Saints Loading – [MANILA GREY]

The reigning Kings of Canada’s West Coast, Soliven and Neeko, have been on quite the tear this year. After finding initial success in 2018 with the video for “Timezones” the R&B duo doubled down on their Filipino-Canadian heritage to begin to absolutely dominate both regions with their futuristic sonics. Coming off the success of their single “Silver Skies”, MANILA GREY embarked on a World Tour that took them across Asia and Canada to perform their hits in front of sold-out crowds. This year has taken their early fame and developed it into the beginnings of an illustrious career for a team that is running on all cylinders in all aspects of their creative output. Their latest album No Saints Loading dropped last week and is their first full-length release since their debut project No Saints Under Palm Shade put them on the map. While this project was intended to be the long-awaited follow up to last year’s debut, it is dense with big songs that are incredibly relatable for all those who listen. What makes this project incredibly special is the way they tie in their home city of Vancouver into each song, something the likes of which the city has really …

BLACK LOTUS – [Boslen]

We have a special one on our hands today folk. Canadian hotshot Boslen has been absolutely kicking down every door in front of him for the past year with impressive singles that have taken him from an unknown artist to one of Canada’s most exciting acts in recent memory. Boslen released his debut EP BLACK LOTUS yesterday and shot up to the top of the Canadian Apple Music Charts, an impressive accomplishment for an artist just beginning to share his story with the world. Boslen is an insanely energetic artist, each and every track of his get’s listeners blood pumping as he spits incredibly personal and triumphant lyrics in almost every track. Being able to not sacrifice intensity levels for an artist to convey their individual fears and struggles is an extremely rare talent that very few coming up now possess, further proving the fact that Bozzy is just different. The name of the project BLACK LOTUS takes its name from the flower that grows out of the mud to become something beautiful, much like Boslen grew from his tough upbringing on the outskirts of Vancouver, where growing up would be an unlikely candidate to be one of the country’s best new artist. As …

Up to Sumn- [909Memphis]

It’s about time that 909Memphis makes his long-awaited but well-deserved debut on Lyrical Lemonade. I’ve been paying close attention to the moves that the Virginia native has been making for over a year now, and he’s impressed me the entire way. The approaches he takes to manipulate his vocals are truly one of a kind, and his talents along with the unique sound of his voice allow him to trade-off between musical love poems of sorts, dance anthems, and everything in-between. Most recently, Memphy delivered his latest single called “Up to Sumn”. This track is an intimate ballad that truly shows off the singer’s versatility. I say this because the song’s producer, Woodpecker, lays the groundwork for 909Memphis to speed up his cadence at times but slow it down and stretch out some notes for a very raw and emotional feel during other moments. He does this with slower piano portions which allows for Memphis to hum and almost add another instrumental layer with nothing but his voice. Then out of nowhere, smooth percussion hits, picking up the song’s pace before eventually cutting out once again, giving an interlude sort of feel to the record. Overall, “Up to Sumn” offers …

Around Here It’s Not That Bad – [Bouvé]

From a listener’s perspective, nothing is more satisfying than watching an artist grow right in front of your eyes. It changes the way you consume the music, the way you see the artist, and more than anything, what you get out of the music. Such has been the case with Massachusetts talent Bouvé. Personally, I’ve been watching Bouvé for a few years at this point, and his latest release — “Around Here It’s Not That Bad” — brings all of this progression full-circle. You see, Bouvé has come a long way. From being some kid in Massachusetts to garnering placements on a YG album, he’s grown quite a bit. Still, though, there’s a long way to go. In his latest single, Bouvé reflects on his journey over the past few years, from feeling lonely to his ambitions for the future. The two-part production is sincere as can be, and the lyrics follow suit, painting a genuinely inspiring picture of an artist who refuses to slow down, knowing that eventually, his time will come. “Around Here It’s Not That Bad” is a special one, so don’t sleep. Check out the song below! Produced by Bouvé & Cedes

Insomniak – [Oogie] ft. [Jenny]

I know that SoundCloud may be “dying,” but quite frankly, I still find myself stumbling on gems on the site all the time. Not only is SoundCloud discovery-friendly for the end user thanks to the repost button, but it’s a place where artists are free to post anything, from official singles and projects all the way to half-finished demos. But that’s beside the point. Today, I’m here to present one of my favorite recent SoundCloud finds: Oogie, and the incredible song, “Insomniak.” Taken off of his Moody EP, “Insomniak” is an undeniable gem, lively as can be and full of infectious energy. In regards to production, it’s a notably soulful release, and one that structures it’s feel around a rocking bassline and a vibrant set of melodies. Adapting to this sonic environment, Oogie comes through with heartful cadences, and shows remarkable promise, from reflective lyrics all the way to the sheer sincerity in his vocals. Adding to the magic, and soaring off of the tone that Oogie sets, Jenny comes in with a strong feature verse, and the result is a cohesive release, well-executed in every way. Personally, however, I’ve had “Insomniak” on repeat for more than the lyrics or the …

Velvet – [1$t]

1$t (formerly FKi 1st) has established himself as a hit-maker for some of the industry’s biggest names. While working with artists like Post Malone, Travis Scott, or 21 Savage is impressive, what I love most about the Atlanta native (aside from his producer tag) is the fact that he’s never scared to step outside his bubble and work with artists from all over the world from China, to El Salvador, and most recently Brazil. His next project, however, has an Eastern flair, as it was recorded entirely in Japan; hence the name, Tokyo Project. Set to drop on December 13th, 1$t unleashed the latest single ” Velvet.” In addition to creating the syrupy and subdued (yet potent) track — where 1$t gets both introspective and boastful — the multi-talented artist had time to shoot an effect-laden video that adds a trippy, fuzzy feel to an already textured offering. Good Job 1$t!

Gassed Up – [Curtis Roach]

This summer, Curtis Roach released his ‘Lellow’ EP—a ray of sunshine channeled through seven tracks that fused elements of jazz, funk, and footwork music from the artist’s home city of Detroit. Today, Roach premieres a new music video for one of the project’s standout songs, “Gassed Up”. “If you’re in a relationship, you should gass up your S/O every chance you get,” Roach said about the video’s concept. “When you at a party and you not feeling the vibes, create your own vibes. Just know you’re the shit baby girl.” “Gassed Up” showcases Roach’s versatile skill set as he switches the pace of his flow throughout the song to match the laidback tone set by producer Cheer Captain. Roach ties everything together with a memorable hook and a guest verse from artist Nolan The Ninja to offer another switch up. The video, directed by @juney.bae, matches the low-key, late-night vibe of the track, capturing Roach driving around at night and kicking back at a party. Watch the video for “Gassed Up” below, and check out Roach’s lighthearted ’Lellow’ EP here.