Up and coming young music don Xaymaca takes us on a journey through today’s Sunday listening:
These are the songs you play right before you hear Monday calling you and as you begin to wind down for the day. I find that I enjoy music more on Sunday evenings after the events of the previous week and these Sunday songs often calm me, before I prepare to face the dreaded Monday morning. Whether, it’s a cool classic or a new banger, I will recommend the perfect songs that will help you reflect on the previous week and help you come to peace with the Monday ahead.
Mobb Deep – Shook Ones Part II
20th June 2017, marked the death of legend. Albert Johnson AKA Prodigy, passed away after being hospitalised in Vegas following a Mobb Deep performance, aged 42. My thoughts are with his family and he will be greatly missed.
Prodigy and Mobb Deep were influential and rose to success after the release of The Infamous in 1995, a Hip Hop classic. The album is dark at times and has a sort of menace which is brought because of Havoc’s production and many of Prodigy’s verses. There was a certain grittiness that Prodigy could bring and he was always able to hold his own against any emcee. He was also able to articulate his pain on tracks and had an effortless style with an abundance of quotables and great tracks openings. His rawness and authenticity is what stood out to me and his impact on Hip Hop goes beyond the album itself. Prodigy was a spokesperson for many young people across the globe and his music will continue to speak to and inspire many generations to come.
When paying tribute it’s often best to choose the most impactful or famous song from an artist. ‘Shook Ones Part II’ is that and shows what Prodigy was all about. Quotables, rawness and effortless style over one of the most recognisable beats in Hip Hop.
Kali Uchis Ft. Jorja Smith – Tyrant
Kali Uchis’ ‘Tyrant’ is the first single from her upcoming debut album. The Colombian-American singer collaborates with UK singer Jorja Smith and the result is something of beauty. ‘Tyrant’ is an introspective piece and also describes love as a perfect separation from a ‘world so violent’. A message for summer and summer romances, wherever one lives.
The soft, inviting intro is perfect and Uchis’ vocals are smooth like butter. The first verse is direct when addressing her lover in the first four lines but her the message softens after she states that ‘when everything is a riot/ you’re my peace and quiet’. Uchis’ then proceeds to the hypnotic chorus, which she delivers with a captivating tone and effortless style. The second verse is the standout however, and each line is meaningful. She expresses her insecurities in the first two lines and although simple, the El Chapo line is effective and memorable. The next two lines reflect the message of the song and Uchis comes back from hiding after her lover decides to ‘cut off the whole world’ for her so they can be together and focus on their love. Then, her Spanish lyrics continue to add flavour to the song as they are so elegantly sung. Finally, she ends the verse, continuing the love affair. Although the outside world’s been asking her to lose control, her vision stays tunnelled and she’s focused on her love. The reference to Brigitte Bardot also shows were she gets some of her influence from and this is reflected by her spectacular style.
After the repetition of the chorus and intro, Jorja Smith makes an appearance and is lovely addition to the track. She also describes her lover and their relationship as honestly as Uchis. Smith tells us the truth about the relationship and she doesn’t want to lose their love ad they ‘have it all’. Uchis then raps up the track which I will have on repeat throughout the summer.
Vince Staples – Big Fish
‘Big Fish’, taken off of Vince Staples’ album, Big Fish Theory. The album has more of an electronic sound than traditional Hip Hop and Vince often plays on the idea that he is now the ‘Big Fish’ in his area of Long Beach. Therefore, it makes sense that this track was the first single to be released off the album and in my opinion is the standout song on the album.
The track features Juicy J, who begins with a hard chorus which grabs the listener’s attention. Vince then starts articulating his message in the coming verse. He describes the change from his earlier days when he didn’t have as much money and when he was hanging around his neighbourhood. Although, Vince seems like a humble person, he also acknowledges the changes that his music career has blossomed and this track shows that because he describes how he is now ‘ballin’ and reminisces back to the time when he wasn’t, showing his gratitude and appreciation for his current lifestyle. Staples drops a few lines which pay homage and refer back to his home town of Long Beach ‘where the skinny carry strong heat’ and he refers back to supposed gang culture and life as a young man living in Long Beach. Just ‘another story of a black man/ tryna make it out the jam’.
In the second verse, Staples moves on and begins to describe his journey ‘swimming upstream… [where the sharks make him want to] put a hammer to [his] head’. Vince uses nice wordplay and raps about trying to make it out of his neighbourhood and head ‘upstream’ and pursue his career. However, the bigger fish frustrate Vince. He also raps about how people that he knew from a youth hate on him now that he has money, which is something that many rappers seemingly experience. As a black man living in Long Beach, he should either be dead, in jail or selling narcotics. However, Vince ‘took the smart route’ and followed in the footsteps of those before like Snoop Dogg.
Goldlink – Crew Remix
Last week Goldlink blessed us with the remix to the summer banger, ‘Crew’. The original’s infectious hook from Brent Faiyaz, matched with Goldlink’s crazy flow and Shy Glizzy’s DC sauce, established the song as a banger with the potential to be a summer hit. Goldlink is one of the most talented and skilled artists out right now and strikes me as someone who really takes pride in their art. The remix with the Trap God, Gucci Mane will give the track some deserved exposure.
Brent Faiyaz starts the track off once again with the famous hook, in which he shows his feeling towards gold diggers and groupies. Then Gucci blesses us with a smooth new verse and adds more seasoning to the pre-made banger. He really does justice to the track and spits with a style similar to that on his latest mixtape, ‘DropTopWop’, while still sticking with the theme of the original. ‘Link then follows with his original verse filled with slick one liners delivered with a crazy flow. Similar to Shy Glizzy who delivers his original verse but with his own unconventional and enjoyable style. Despite all this, the standout is still Brent Faizay’s contribution which we get to hear three times. Excellent!