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&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 round up 10 hip-hop and R&B tracks that have got them in raptures. Between this column and FACT’s bi-weekly rap round-up, we should have all bases covered.
Don’t forget to check the crew’s essential monthly radio show, which is fast becoming one of the world’s most essential rap radio shows.
Kodie Shane feat. Lil Uzi Vert & Lil Yachty
‘Hold Up (Dough Up)’
Having stealing the show on Sailing Team posse song ‘All In’ (from Yachty’s Summer Songs 2) and establishing herself as one of the most refreshing new voices in rap, ATL’s Kodie Shane keeps it moving in the right direction with the Uzi and Yachty-featuring ‘Hold Up (Dough Up)’, taken off her forthcoming ‘Back From The Future’ project. Joyful bliss just about covers it.
24hrs feat. Yo Gotti & Ty Dolla $ign
‘Count Me Out’
As amazing as the combination of Madeintyo, Speaker Knockerz and Jeremih might sound on paper, the reality of ATL’s rapidly rising yet mysterious 24hrs is even better. A mere week after dropping the Murda Beatz-produced 12:AM EP, ‘Count Me Out’ appeared on OVO Sound Radio and already looks set to be 24hrs’ true breakout. A timely Ty Dolla feature and the reassurance of Gotti’s presence guarantee the song’s momentum, but this is the 24 show now, and long may it last.
New York street records just keep on coming and this could be the next one that really goes. Staying in the same aggressive pocket from the jump, ‘Line Me’ is a perfect bedfellow to everything like Section Boyz and C-Biz coming out of the UK right now, and obviously owes a huge debt to the past decade in Chicago. NY artists are doing well at creating fresh ways of saying things right now, and ‘Line Me’ is a good example. One small word of advice to DJs: cut the music on the second time Casanova says “still looking for the fools that killed Biggie!” to go all the way up.
070 Shake feat. Ralphy River, Hack & Tree
New Jersey’s 070 crew have been making noise out east recently but ‘Honey’, helmed by frontwoman Shake, is the most powerful musical statement we’ve heard from them or anyone else in more than a few months. Clocking in at over six minutes, we understand the pressure and likelihood of a radio/club edit but for right now we’ll happily luxuriate in the indulgence.
Mozzy & June
If you’ve been paying attention to Bay Area rap for the past couple of years you’ll be familiar with rapper and producer-rapper Mozzy and JuneOnnaBeat. The prolific pair’s collaborative album, Gang Related Siblings, is far more consistent than most similar projects, which can often be more filler than killer. Highlight ‘Hey Now’ is an exceptional example of the kind of soul-melting mobb music we love from one of the world’s most fertile sources of rap.
Hailing from New York’s Marcy Projects but sounding as universal as you might expect a melodic young rapper to sound in 2016, Eli Sostre has delivered one of the most assured debuts we’ve heard in months. The Soriano-produced ‘Birds Chirping’ begs for multiple reloads, and after the Still Up All Night EP we look forward to anything Sostre conjures up in the near future.
Whether people like it or not, we live in a post-Bryson Tiller R&B world, and it was his particular take on relationships that defined half the world’s Snaps in 2015. ‘Pull Up’ will unquestionably find love in this world and its distinctive intro is about as club-ready as it gets, leaving a beautiful chunk of empty space once the drop arrives. K’Ron really takes it home on the bridge and the rising synths and then screwed exit cap it all perfectly. We can’t even be mad at the phones being out on this one.
TYuS feels next. With a voice close to Lloyd’s but a sound that’s almost exactly where it needs to be in 2016, this is one of a flurry of records that he’s been releasing ready for cuffin’ season. The PND comparisons are obviously fair, but with TYuS it’s all about the harmonies and his voice is one of the purest right now.
Tory Lanez feat. Rick Ross
It’s difficult to tell whether Tory Lanez’s ‘I Told You’ did what it needed to do after the monster that was ‘Luv’ (plus his release date was ethered by the Frank Ocean overload). Either way, we know Tory Lanez is a fighter and he’s taking no chances by putting his ‘Diego’ voice back on and enlisting Rozay to get back on his club MMG grind, sounding the best he has for a minute. This is simple as hell but works due to having the same roll as recent Future and a great vocal sample that exits each phrase. Play alongside ‘Wicked’ and just enjoy.
Anderson .Paak is going have two of the best albums of 2016 if the NxWorries full-length delivers like this single suggests. So much of this whole lane of music right now owes a huge debt to Bilal, where the grooves and hooks don’t need to be where you expect them to be. It sounds like .Paak and Knxwledge might have just recorded this in a jam session and it’s all the better for it.