I realized Ive been making a ridiculous amount of posts solely featuring my favorite songs. Sometimes I feel like Im stuck in this position of just suggesting music, cause I LOVE to put people on to the old and the new they may have never heard before, because I don’t “make” music (though I would like to, and I will), and Im not an “official” in anything. Also, Im not that great in journalism, nor do I like to “write” perfect cohesive, english professor approved, essays and the likes. I decided I need to be myself more and write how I think. But back to the music. Im going to be consistent in updating my “favorites” to once a month, so that I limit myself on that, but also push myself to come up with more creative topics. Its difficult when I have a low audience (for now) and you have HUNDREDS, maybe thousands, of music magazines, zines, and sites, that I love also, such as The Fader, Complex, Wax Poetics, XXL, etc. Enough of me tho.
Here are some of my music favorites within the past month that Ive discovered, rediscovered, and love. This ranges from a variety of time periods, and doesn’t only include “new” music, cause we cant acknowledge the new without the old. Feel me?
Sounds of Blackness – Optimistic (1991)
First I want to say, this song aged pretty well. I would have never guessed it was created 2 years after the 80’s, you know, the era of horribly aging production. Also I would’ve never guessed it was a gospel song, but I can see “inspiration”, but I would’ve guessed it was in the r&b area. I rediscovered this song, cause it went into oblivion in my mind, after my fairy godmother in my head, Tracee Ellis Ross, posted her Blackish costar Miles Brown and his father, in which they did a lil cute dance to it that went viral creating the #OptimisticChallenge. Honestly, #BlackBoyJoy
Tatyana Ali – Last Summer (2014)
“Once in a lifetime, you’ll find a love just like mine”. This song was something very random that I stumbled upon when listening to my radio on Tidal. The beachy-mellow vibe caught my attention. Now we all know “Ashley” became a teen pop music artist after the conclusion of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and has moderately dabbled back into music.
I wish this song popped off, cause its such a nice pop summer ballad that I can see on the charts (just throwing it out there, if a white artist did it, it wouldve popped…but you aint heard from me). Maybe if she does a re-release it could? Theres always a possibility! “But the heat is gone, and Im moving on”, like honestly a cute song.
Kash Doll – For Everybody (2017)
This song. Its unique. Not only does this Black American Doll (self proclaimed, and rightfully so) provide eloquent and entertaining bars, she is rapping in the perspective of two different people! Not only is this song amazing, but her video (based on the movie Belly, the convo between Keisha and Kionna), makes it even better.
I love the well needed resurgence and variety of black female rappers, and she is the one! (Just saying, Keisha won in this video)
Steve Lacy – Some (2017)
Honestly, the one to look out for, Steve Lacy is the future of music, an example of this Black American Music Renaissance that we are experiencing. He is apart of one of my favorite bands, The Internet, who released their popular album, Ego Death, back in 2015 (I cant believe its been that long, I just had an existential crisis rn). He has produced some of my favorite tracks, such as “Some Girl” (coincidently named, also being a featured vocalist) by GoldLink, and “PRIDE” from Kendrick’s new and AMAZING album, DAMN. Steve also released his own music from his EP “Steve Lacy’s Demo” this year. Including one of my favorite tracks “Dark Red”, “Some” has that mellow, ride in your car in the sun, feeling I love. What has taken many peoples attention to Steve is that he produces quite a bit solely from the utilization of his iPhone, and of course his skills in the guitar area, as well as recording his voice with his iPhone to layer his tracks. Look out for him though, trust me.
Kelis – Acapella (2010)
Kelis, one of my all time favorite artists from her music, her natural speaking voice, her style clothing and hair style wise, and her ability to be 20 steps ahead of everyone, that unfortunately comes with the price of not being initially recognized when she does it, but being caught on in a span of 2-4 years by everyone else. Kelis released “Flesh Tone”, back in 2010, her first album, at the time, finally starting on a new music label, after her impact on Star Trak and with Arista/Jive records. She mentioned in an interview, being able to have more creative freedom and control with this album.
She usually was within the R&B/pop music category, but she took a left turn releasing an EDM, Electronic dance album (this is what I mention with being ahead of everyone, because 3 years later, your fav R&B artists took to the Electronic genre, as well as the surge in collaborations with the likes of David Guetta, Calvin Harris, etc). Im a huge Kelis fan, but Im not even gonna lie, it took me until this year to listen to this album as my music taste has personally evolved over the past couple of years. This is one of my favorite tracks from the album (as well as 4th of July).
Kendrick Lamar – XXX ft. U2 (2017)
Kendrick released an AMAZING album recently, from start to finish, DAMN, a album that distinguishes itself from all of his other albums, as his other albums, also accomplishes this same goal, something also mentioned by one of his frequent collaborators/producers , Sounwave, in an interview. This is one of the standout tracks, imo, along with GOD and DNA that really made me go “wow”. What I love about this song are the beat switches between U2, to Kendrick, back to U2 and how well its meshed together despite both teams not being able to physically meet with each other during the production process, and obviously Kendrick’s flow mid-track is honestly amazing and not of this world. This album alone is the embodiment of hip hop, and as Kendrick mentioned in an interview on Beats 1 with Zane Lowe, his indescribable love for Hip hop, something I can agree with on a soul level. Of course the track isn’t available on YouTube, but heres a cool performance from this years Coachella, featuring a very dead crowd that only knows the song MAAD City (thats all I gotta say about that if you get the hint..)
Chloe x Halle – The Two of Us (2017)
This pair of angelic voiced proteges of the Queen of Music herself, Beyonce, released their first mixtape, after their lovely EP “Sugar Symphony”, was released a year ago as an official “debut”, aside from their AMAIZING music covers. Its a cohesive mixtape, made of moderately short, variety of songs produced by the pair. What I love about this R&B duo, aside from being a modern decade recurrence, in my opinion, of one of my favorite R&B duos, Zhane (Pronounced Jah-Nay) , is that both of their voices, separately are so unique and developed, yet together in harmony, sounds of alien-like quality. I say that because its so blended and perfect, something I rarely hear. Halle, the youngest of the duo, has what I describe, as an angelic voice of indie like quality, like a fairy nymph prancing in the forest, so serene, and just wow. You can really hear it in the beginning of “Tra Ta Ta” which is just over 2 minutes in their mixtape.
Listen to her cover of “Unforgettable” just as a reiteration.
Chloe, on the other hand, has a voice that I can best describe as full, well developed, almost like Beyonce’s voice herself currently. Its like a “foundation” for the duo, so much depth. To have a voice so developed at this time, I can only imagine how well she will be in the future. Also she can not only sing, but she’s an amazing producer for the duo!
Check out the entire mixtape!
Until next time! Be sure to comment and share!