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 un-snobbish 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.
Check the crew’s essential monthly radio show, one of the world’s most essential rap radio shows.
Best known for his party rap duets alongside Trill Sammy and his collaborations with Soulja Boy, Slim Thug and PnB Rock, Dice Soho has offered up his strongest solo effort to date with ‘Ripped Jeans’.
We genuinely hope this one hits like it’s supposed to and solidifies the young Houstonian in the wider public consciousness. Best served sun up, top down and leg out the window.
‘Rock The Boat’
As a member of Mr Collipark’s production team The Package Store and a star producer in his own right, Mr Hanky has made some of our absolute favorite rap music of all time.
His latest work for New Orleans bounce artist Keedy Black, which samples The Hues Corporation’s classic soul cut ‘Rock The Boat’, is precisely the winter antidote we need to one of the weirdest years in living memory. Essential.
One of the many things that makes Migos so great is their dedication to unapologetically Southern rap music. Despite two years of pre-hype, their official debut LP remains one of the most slept-on albums in recent years, due partly to the trio’s unwillingness to compromise their sound or lose that movement at the bottom end for some temporary turn-up.
Now they’re releasing records with the kind of titles last seen on a Dirty record in 2003 and all we can do is sit back, applaud and pray for both Quavo to go solo and Migos to stay together forever.
‘Weigh The Weight’
There’s an unfortunate sneer that percolates most online discussion about OT Genasis, ignoring both his impeccable choice of singles – ‘CoCo’ follow-ups ‘Push It’, ‘Do It’ and ‘Cut It’ are all undeniable – and his strong grasp of the less-is-more school of songwriting.
For our money he’s one of the most consistent rappers doing it right now, and latest single ‘Weigh The Weight’, snipped from the excellent new mixtape Coke N Butter, is as thizz face-inducing as they come.
Kodie Shane feat. Lil Yachty
It’s no secret that after scene-stealing as part of the Sailing Team and offering a drip feed of idiosyncratic records this year, Kodie Shane is right on the verge of breaking out. Sensibly, she’s grabbed Lil Yachty for what looks like her official single, but she doesn’t let his star get in the way of her shine, heading off the track first and owning the sentiment over memorable chords.
This one is aimed squarely at their already massive fanbases with little concession to anything else, and that hook is about as live show-ready as it gets.
G Perico feat. Jay Worthy
‘Million Dolla Mission’
Few rappers have had a more critically revered mixtape outing as South Central’s G Perico. His Shit Don’t Stop project and work with Southern Hospitality favorites AD and Drakeo The Ruler have solidified his position as the most exciting West Coast up-and-comer of the past year.
‘Million Dolla Mission’, which briefly features LNDN DRGS rapper Jay Worthy, is yet another masterful example of Perico’s modern and more agitated take on LA forefather DJ Quik.
In the 96 minutes of November we didn’t dedicate to rinsing Migos’ ‘Bad & Boujee’, the third installment in Beat King’s Gangsta Stripper Music anthology was without question the highlight of our month, and further testament to his ability to seamlessly expand and experiment.
In addition to a core of strip and gun club music, his playful nods to contemporary rappers – in this case Lil Yachty – mean that while other rappers come and go, Club God is forever.
Daniel Caesar feat. Kali Uchis
Toronto just keeps them coming right now and although Daniel Caesar has been around for a minute, this record is proof that he’s finally locked into the necessary zone.
‘Get You’ is the very definition of quiet storm. Throughout the track the groove just develops at its own pace, adding a guitar lick here and a bit of space there, while his early John Legend stylings do their work. Kali Uchis arrives to lighten the sound for a minute and when Caesar counters, the luxury of the track fully unfolds. Pure rewind bliss.
When Neapolitan (then 2NYo) dropped their debut ‘Roll With Me’ a couple of years back, it was super refreshing in both its accurate reverence for the ‘90s and the joy that it brought back to R&B.
With the band reincarnated, this freshness thankfully remains, with a nod even further back, channeling Nu-Shooz and ‘80s club soul as they bring back some necessary tempo to R&B. The girls’ synergy is what makes them special and this record is nostalgic in all the right ways.
When you’ve been the hottest producer on the planet, the regrouping from the peak is always the hardest period – but often the most interesting. DJ Mustard always was a dope R&B producer, though (never forget Fireworks with TeeFLii!) so putting his energy into Ella Mai is a smart move, and on her beautifully concise new EP this relationship flourishes.
‘Lay Up’ may not be the most original song on the release, but it’s so perfectly balanced that this is one that could run and run.