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.
Sauce Twinz & Sosamann
‘Off The Splash’
There is no more potent force in music than H-Town rap duo the Sauce Twinz, the dripped-out superheroes who alongside umbrella group The Sauce Factory have conspired to move the city away from its now-conventional checklist of slabs, grills and double cups to something that feels that much larger than life, almost akin to Mac Dre’s pill-fuelled Thizz empire. ‘Off The Splash’ is one of about a dozen gloriously intense sauce anthems from their collaborative mixtape with TSF’s Sosamann, Sauce Theft Auto: Splash Andreas. And Drake remix no-show aside, we still feel like this is only the beginning.
Beat King feat. Rodji Diego
At this point it’s almost laughable how easily the ever-immaculate Club God seems to appeal to and overwhelmingly satiate the Three 6 Mafia fanboy in all of us. But when he playfully imbibes the DNA of East Flatbush Project’s ‘Tried By 12’ that’s been fueling Drake’s (and, to an extent, Troy Ave’s) recent minimalist club run better than the man himself, as on Houston 3am highlight ‘Squad’, you just want to politely ask him to stop and give other rappers a chance. This can’t be fair.
After emerging with back-to-back hits ‘Money Baby’ and ‘Cut Her Off’, K Camp spent the last year or so releasing quality music without ever quite breaking through to deserved ubiquity. However, just when it looked like he was going back to basics with what are currently two of the year’s hardest club records (‘Club Thumpin (Remix)’ and an assist on Lil Donald’s ‘Juice’), he hits us with this individual slab of sunshine.
Going against the tempo grain of the current climate, he channels an early T-Pain lightness and musicality, whilst keeping that ATL bass knocking in the back, leaving the kind of instrumental you can leave on loop forever. K Camp then does all that needs to be done to the record, floating over the riff and allowing the whole thing to breathe in the hook, proving once again that the true R&B/rap cohesion exists with him.
‘I Ain’t Trippin Off Nothin’
Anyone who’s been following the rise of Ezale, particularly his now-classic ‘5 Minutes Of Funktown’ video, knows that he’s taken it upon himself, as he declares at the start of this record, to “bring the Town back”. Now signed to the dynasty that is Sick-Wid-It Records, he’s in the perfect position to do that and this brief but fierce slap is the perfect introduction to the new audience his signing will reach. With Nef The Pharoah’s ‘Big Tymin’ also bubbling beyond all belief, the new labelmates look like they’re about to bring that authentic Bay Area sound back, and for this we can’t thank them enough.
The Harley Boys
‘Off Me’ is our introduction to South Carolina rap duo The Harley Boys. The Chophouze-produced anthem is just the kind of impossibly loose and summery, seemingly K Camp-inspired, vibe that gets dragged into Serato after the first few bars. Plus it’s catchy enough to inspire the type of homemade dance videos that could potentially help it go low-key viral.
Atlanta’s Quality Control Music have only recently added Young Greatness to their roster, and ‘Moolah’ shows why. Interestingly, it’s actually produced by a returning Jazze Pha, who’s showing no signs whatsoever of being stuck in the past (apart from maybe the familiar, but very welcome, tag), creating a spacious, ever-changing backdrop for the Future-esque timing of the N.O. native. In fact this is one of those occasions where the experience of a producer like Jazze Pha elevates a song about the same old topic to something that feels cinematic and epic. The upcoming Gangsta Grillz tape with Drama is now seriously anticipated.
‘I Look Fly’
As vital to our daily lives and club sets as the Mustard and Mustard-inspired era has been, we’ve secretly been praying for a new sound and energy to come from the always-innovating rap mecca that is the Bay Area. The futuristic throwback vibes of Oakland’s Ezale have totally won us over, but now we have new kids on the Bay block Trill Younginz bringing an undeniably brimming energy to the table with ‘I Look Fly’, the undercover summer anthem that should be creeping onto timelines before too long.
RJ feat. Choice & Iamsu!
Whilst it could be very easy to dismiss another 98bpm record coming out of the Mustard camp right now, it would be a crying shame to miss this absolute gem. From the moment the squelching chords combine with those definitive West Coast keys, you know RJ is being given top-tier tracks and getting the same kind of guidance that led YG to release such a timeless debut. For their part, Iamsu! and Choice deliver two of their best verses in a minute, and although this record has been bubbling for a few months the recent label push seems more than justified.
JBar feat. K-Major
‘The Whole World’
Now this is where it’s at. Opening with 2 Live Crew samples and the stabs from Run DMC’s ‘It’s Like That’, ‘The Whole World’ opens with JBar’s frenetic Miami Bass rap flow intro before our current (and The-Dream and Tricky Stewart’s) favourite K-Major just glides in with the best hook of the year, flipping the school assembly classic to “she’s got the whole wide world in her pants” – ha!
Produced by DJ Spinz and K-Major himself, they are defiantly on some next shit right now and this bass reinvention just seems like one aspect of the creativity coming out of that camp. Crucially, as with everything they produce, it’s just so damn easy on the ear and makes you feel better about the world.
Cam & China feat. Nate 3D
Just as we were hoping and praying for the kind of frenetic, seemingly impenetrable club knocker that Swizz Beatz used to make to swoop in and freshen up the rap dance, Cam & China – the twins from Southern Hospitality’s all-time favourite LA girl group Pink Dollaz – call on Ty Dolla $ign’s day-one production team D.R.U.G.$ to forcefully grab our attention. This is so much fun.