Seedhe Maut represent the next stage in the evolution of Delhi’s hip-hop sound. Comprising of rappers Encore ABJ and Calm, the duo dole out verses packed with social and political commentary, mastering the art of sharp, antagonistic and inventive rhymes through their rapid-fire delivery in both English and Hindi. The first single from their upcoming debut album ‘Shaktiman’ is produced by Sez On The Beat, and constitutes a fiery declaration of working class struggles; riffing off the metaphor expressed in the cult Indian TV series of the same name, the track imparts an underlying emancipatory message of self-belief, encouraging listeners to break free from the shackles of everyday life and empower themselves.
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Dead Wicks is a self proclaimed “psycho-delic grunge-hop” group of New York-grown artists wielding a unique talent for re-working motown songs. Their recently released debut EP ‘Curses’ gifts its listeners a pandora’s box of irreverent genre-bending anthems filled with unusual chord progressions and twisted guitars through alt-pop craftsmanship and poetically chaotic lyricism. The first track on the EP, entitled “Glyph Trip”, kicks things off with a hard electro funk bass line and breathy staccato vocals, before flipping into sitar sounds echoing in a void of synth breakdowns and soulful wails.
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Born in Korea and raised in the US, rapper pH-1 was making music alongside his day-job as a web developer when his delightfully uplifting sound began to attract attention on both sides of the Pacific ocean. The musician wanted to distinguish himself by making respectable music that he could sing for his family without any shame, whilst staying true to his emotions and artistic vision in creating his own style, earning him a record deal with Korean label H1GHR MUSIC and gaining recognition from the likes of Jay Park. His latest release sees him team up with PENOMECO; on “Cupid” the mischievous duo exchange romantic verses in both English and Korean over a uptempo synth-heavy beat.
Despite not having a single official record released, the excitement around artist Unknown T has been bubbling away for months now. Finally, this week he released his long-awaited debut track ‘Homerton B’, sending ripples through the UK drill scene just in time for carnival season. First heard previewed on one of the infamous DJ Tim Westwood’s legendary Crib Sessions, the track sees the east London rapper shelling ice-cold flows in his distinctive, instantly recognisable deep voice, as his memorable chorus adds an unexpected danceable energy to the track. Drill is arguably Britain’s most controversial genre of the moment, with many artists making headlines for criminal activity and police even going as far as to block tracks from YouTube and ban acts from recording or performing, but Unknown T draws the focus back to the musicality as his booming melodic delivery and crystal clear enunciation inject a startling fresh energy, illustrating the enduring power of innovation.
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Rotation combines with fellow member of Sudanese collective nuslang. on banger ‘Affin Affin’. The track adopts a ‘trap-zanig’ style, fusing Sudani instruments with contemporary hip-hop to inject a refreshing dynamic energy. Driven by Rotation’s unique flow and a spine-chilling guitar solo by producer WillyWill, “Affin Affin” is a powerful example of the strength of the East African country’s vibrant rap scene, incorporating Western influences to create new original gems.
Innanet James has been keeping things lowkey for a minute now. Following the breakout success of his 2016 debut project ‘Quebec Place’ and its hit single ‘Summer’, the Maryland rapper has taken his time to perfect his follow-up record, and the 22-year-old does not disappoint with his long-awaited return. ‘Bag’ is an undeniable banger from the first kick drum, as James flows effortlessly over soulful keys and a playful trap percussion infused with a bossa nova rhythm, serving to build the excitement for his forthcoming EP slated to feature the likes of Pusha T, Rexx Life Raj and Mac Ayres.
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Sudan-born, Ontario-based A7MD is an artist who deserves to be watched closely. Aside from his archives of releases under the pseudonym Skripter, his new moniker and new sound brings a refreshing, original approach to the contemporary trap sounds that dominate North America’s rap scene. His successful single Zombies, produced by DBLCRSS, boasts a distinctive melodic lilt to his bars, and he is equally comfortable flexing his lyrical skill in the verses as he is delivering a catchy mantra in the chorus; “I only did this for squad, and my only witness is God”.
Gifted with a unique voice that contains traces of traditional Punjabi folk singers, Prabh Deep is widely acknowledged as one of the best underground MCs in the country. With a flair for lyrical dexterity and a ear for big anthem hooks, his music paints a vivid picture of growing up in a locality that’s reeling from high unemployment rates and the recent influx of drugs into the community. His debut album ‘Class-Sikh’, produced in collaboration with Sez, was released in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, with the album declared by Rolling Stone India to be one of the best releases of the year and Deep chosen as the Spotlight Artist for the month by Apple Music India. Pithy, crowd-pleasing single ‘Suno’ led fans to classify him through various lenses; the outspoken “underground” rapper poised to take over the burgeoning Indian hip-hop scene, the classically humble artist with no airs, and the good Sikh boy spinning rap flows out of traditional Punjabi folk rhythms.
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Kenyan born, multi-cultural DJ/producer Suraj, globetrotting German turntablist/producer Max Doblhoff and Kenyan afro-fusion artist Alai K team up to create a contagiously funky track. ‘Bana Bana’ embodies the eclectic energy of East Africa’s finest musical collaborations, effortlessly spanning afrobeat, reggae and house influences.The uptempo beat is carried by raw, soulful vocals and reverberating crooning melodies, echoing a sound Alai K refers to as “Disco Vumbi” – a homegrown form of street dance music. Individually, each artist brandishes a strong personal style, with Suraj known for infamously percussive afrobeat and melodic house, Doblhoff (fka MDgroove) known for roots-inspired techno, and Alai K known for everything from hip-hop to traditional kamba, but together their collaboration paints a fuller, truer picture of East Africa’s contemporary creative sector, innovating both electronic and acoustic genres in unique fusion.
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Atlanta native Father makes a powerful return with his first drop of 2018. The alternative trap artist and founder of independent label Awful Records has been off screen for minute now, but revives the energy that catapulted him to notoriety with two brand new tracks that will only build anticipation for his forthcoming album. Alongside ‘Lotto’, a collaborative effort with ABRA, ‘We Had A Deal’ is a stripped-back, direct trap anthem with an undeniable slap to it, as Father showcases his distinctive left-field delivery over fat, bass-driven production.
Mexican producers YOGUI and Dan Solo, members of the band Technicolor Fabrics, collaborated to give rise to a more dramatic sound in ’16: 20′. Released back in 2014, the single is characterised by a marching rhythm, imposing guitars and grooving synths, accompanied by lyrics describing breathless vertigo.
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Jojo Maronttinni scored a huge hit last summer with ‘Que tiro foi esse?’, a song with such an infectious chorus that it became a meme, spawning countless parodies and even appearing in some adverts. After this viral success, expectations were high for the singer’s follow up. And Jojo just released ‘Arrasou, Viado’, another pop-funk effort with a memorable hook, with the song’s title referring to LGBTQ congratulatory slang. Since it’s release, the track became an automatic hit and has divided opinions all over the internet. Some have said the artist was exploiting ‘pink money’ to boost her career, while others have praised Maronttinni’s courage to make a mainstream song with a visuals full of celebrities and personalities related to both pop culture and the LGBTQ community. In spite of the controversy, this song is another sure hit from a singer who’s fast becoming one of the biggest names in Brazil’s mainstream pop-funk scene.
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Adding the perfect feature to a song is a delicate art-form, and SHAUN knows how to caramelize artists as an ingredient to enhance his up-tempo songs. ‘생각나’ (Thinking Of) is the third track of his newly released EP ‘Take’, as the Seoul based DJ/producer serves up a springy and fast-paced beat for his guest vocalists to paint the picture of a hollow and empty relationship. Rising singer-songwriter SUMIN contributes a sweet, angelic voice to deliver the lover’s frank confession without weighing in sorrow, while freshman rapper Ovan strikes back his feelings for her with heavy bars as he admits that he can’t help but think of her.
The producer Stephen Of Kent has linked up with rapper 2Lee Stark to create some of South Africa’s most cutting edge contemporary hip-hop. Kent’s first commercially released body of work, ‘There May Be Wolves’ is a joint EP project between the two that draws inspiration from the popular TV series Game Of Thrones; 2lee’s name references the House Stark, whose symbol is a wolf, with the tape’s concept revolving around the fable of “the boy who cried wolf”, framing this project as the genuine breakthrough they’ve prophesied so often before.The pair worked on this album in the OFF BOYZ Recording Label “Winter” campaign, which will also include two upcoming individual singles from each from the artists.
Celebrating 10 years deep into her music career, Bárbara Eugenia’s fourth album is imminent. Over the last decade the Rio de Janeiro-born singer has explored several musical styles, although always retained a consistent Tropicalia flavor throughout. With such local, nostalgic energy so well established in her music, the artist decided to join forces with Felipe Cordeiro, one of the most prominent names within the new wave of Guitarrada, the genre from the northern state of Pará where guitars and percussion combine to make a sound resembling a mix of Afro-Caribbean Calypso infused with a tropical flavour unique to Brazil’s north. Together the pair created ‘Confusão’, an irresistible tune that invites the listener a hot summer’s night of dirty dancing.
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Following up from the release of his breakout debut album ‘Milly Rocking to the Wrong Things‘ back in March, Virgil Hawkins returns to link up with NOTAROLEMODEL’s CWBY once again for a fresh new two-track release. ‘The 5eason’ is a slick, uplifting trap anthem, as Hawkins’ trademark woozy melodies are complemented by a powerful verse from CWBY over production from Yxng Jynn, before the pair up the energy levels on the barnstorming ‘Planet Pod’, going back-to-back as they exchange charged-up verses over a high-octane beat produced by CWBY himself. Irresistible raw chemistry from two of London’s most exciting young talents.
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Nego do Borel is a Brazilian funk hit-maker and entertainment prodigy. Born Leno Maycon Viana Gomes in Rio de Janeiro, he adopted his the name of his community, Morro do Borel – a favela home to more than 20.000 inhabitants. He started to gain recognition in 2012, when his track ‘Os caras do momento’ became a hit – the MC then went on to appear in some of Brazil’s most famous soap operas, often in cameos portraying himself. After consolidating on his celebrity status, Nego do Borel started to release a series of singles, collaborated with some of Brazil and Latin America’s most famous singers such as Anitta, Wesley Safadão and Maluma. With his latest single ‘Me Solta’, Borel decided to take on a funk 150bpm rhythm, a high-octane, faster and more aggressive version of the regular funk carioca, enlisting the help of DJ Rennan da Penha, one of the pioneers of this growing sub-genre. The 150bpm style is already taking the underground by storm in funk parties all across the country, but this track could well provide the bridge that enables it to filter into the mainstream.
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19-year-old Danish artist K-phax released his latest single ‘Punk’ last Friday. K-Phax does everything himself – writing, singing and production – and uses his music as a medium to explore themes of being an outsider, trying to fit in and promoting a message of self-acceptance and being the best version of yourself. In 2016, he won the Danish competition ‘KarriereKanonen’ – Danish national radio DR P3’s music competition for upcoming artists, and has built on this momentum to push the frontiers of hip-hop in Scandinavia; combining elements of hip-hop with alternative rock, he’s one of a new wave of artists bringing a new sound to Denmark.