Welcome back to Southern Hospitality’s monthly column.
Based in London and Los Angeles, Rob Pursey and Davey Boy Smith are onto new hip-hop and r’n’b faster than pretty much anyone else around, showcasing it through their club nights Players Ball, Rated R and Hip Hop Karaoke, their regular mixes and radio show, and their record label, which has released music by Danny Brown & Darq E Freaker, Lunice & Young L and more.
Unlike a lot of rap critics (and of course, SH would never refer to themselves as critics), they’re also about as unsnobbish as it’s possible to get, and are always trying to make things happen – they’ve been behind some of the most interesting rapper-producer hook-ups of recent years. Every month, they’ll be rounding up 10 hip-hop and r’n’b tracks that have got them in raptures. Between this column and Chris Kelly and John Twells’ weekly rap round-up, we should have all bases covered.
Don’t forget to check the crew’s essential monthly radio show, which is going from strength to strength.
‘Walked In’ (feat. Travis Porter & Street Money Boochie)
Everything is falling into place for Bankroll Fresh as the changing of the guard slowly happens in Atlanta. All those hungry for their new Jeezy need look no further than records like ‘ESPN’, ‘Trap’ and of course, Bankroll Fresh’s breakout anthem ‘Hot Boy’ – the kind of tracks that make you misty-eyed for the days when Shawty Redd and The Snowman were everything.
After two certified mixtapes and his scene-stealing performances on Mike Will’s Ransom, Fresh has got everything in place to have the streets firmly on lock for the near future. Brand new single ‘Walked In’, produced by top Southern Hospitality 2015 draft pick Mr. 2-17, looks set to make big waves up and down the US. Get with it now.
‘Juice’ (Remix feat. K Camp)
We first came across Lil Donald in 2014 with the very infectious ‘Heyyy’ – precisely the kind of the bare-bones ATL rap anthem we just adore. New single ‘Juice’ – which actually dropped last Christmas but gets the appropriate bump thanks to K Camp – is even better, and the current slew of Vine and YouTube dance videos will hopefully get it where it needs to go.
‘Why?’ (feat. The Ratchets)
With most rappers attempting to move at the speed of the internet, more often than not, quality dips under the pressure to feed an insatiable, attention-deficient fanbase. But amid the content saturation, artists that only let us hear what we need to hear make us immeasurably more excited and invested. Mr. 2-17 is one of those artists. The ATLien just keeps coming with self-contained would-be hit singles like ‘Why?’ that are just so joyful and potent nothing else can touch them.
‘California Roll’ (feat. Stevie Wonder)
Destined to be unfathomably underrated like Bieber’s Journals, Snoop’s new Pharrell-helmed album Bush is almost too musical and artful for the beard brigade to stomach. To our ears though it’s one of his strongest, most focused releases in years, and ‘California Roll’, which features Stevie Wonder, is just high-fidelity butter.
‘Finna Hit My Walk’ (feat. DJ T Time)
If you have internet access and a proclivity for viral, dance-based rap, you’ll be more than familiar with Miami rapper Yung Gordon’s 2013 #BobbleWalk sensation. New single ‘Finna Hit My Walk’ feels like his most adhesive song since, and requires your immediate attention.
‘Lean & Bop’ (feat. Doccydocs)
No record has come close to annihilating the rave in 2015 like ‘Dem Boy Paigon’, and YouTube converter has been working overtime to make sure it’s blasted out of more phones in London than anything else. Wisely after such a monster, J. Hus has taken a slight side-step with the lighter ‘Lean & Bop’, knowing that for many, Afrobeat runs the dance. Hus and Doccydocs let the record breathe in all the right ways; with the right video, this one could run and run.
The road from successful songwriter to artist in your own right is rarely a straightforward one, and despite Nightmares and Lullabies: Act 1 being one of the most accomplished debuts of 2014, it had nowhere near the impact it deserved. However, with Act 2 approaching, Victoria Monet has delivered her most beguiling solo record yet. She’s working once again with Ariana Grande producer Tommy Brown, and the synergy between these two is clear. Monet never tries to do too much over the melodic, percussive production and when the drum programming switches up towards the end, she just ad libs the track home like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
This 2015 comeback for Terius Nash has been real and whilst the Crown EP more than satiated his rabid fans, it’s no secret that the second Jewel half of his agenda is what has most intrigued us. The-Dream claims that these are the kind of records he would have made for others, meaning we no longer have to scour the internet for his Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige demos, and that we finally get to hear the more commercial side of his work served straight up. From the ‘Bonita Applebum’ drums and the simple hook to the Left-Eye style rap at the end, this is defiantly new (old) ground for our hero and to say it’s refreshing is an understatement. One to bop your head to and feel better about the world.
‘Wuzhanindoe’ (feat. YG)
Coming out with a Mustard-led single might not be the most novel concept, but Gunplay makes this feel completely fresh, working a strikingly similar beat to YG’s ‘BPT’ alongside the man himself and seemingly reinvigorating a sound that’s as effective as it is ubiquitous. The Black Rob flip feels timely too.
‘Change Your Life’ (feat. Fetty Wap)
Fetty Wap and his crew are currently on the sort of tear that Future was (and is again it seems) and the thirst for new material is being quenched almost daily. Now that ‘My Way’ is on its steady ascent to becoming the biggest record in the world, Monty isn’t allowing the fact that his guest thunder was (predictably) stolen by Drake to deter him, arriving swiftly with another hypnotic, melodic banger. Fetty Wap, on the help-out once again, is probably only a few months away from that Akon-style tipping point – for now you’ve gotta just enjoy.