There are some of us dedicated to rummaging the inner regions of the web in search of that good alternative urban music and serving it directly to music lovers. This initiative is what we call "The Slice" at EARMILK. Every fortnight we share with you 10 ear-grabbing songs from genres ranging from hip-hop, grime, soul, afrobeat/pop and dancehall. So let us do the digging for you while you sit back and relax to some brilliantly crafted music from around the globe.
1. RoQy TyRaiD "Jim Kelly"
West coast emcee Roqy Tyraid shows us his love for that true school hip-hop sound on his new single titled "Jim Kelly". Over a vintage funk-laden backdrop, Roqy delivers a barrage of polysyllabic 'patterns', internal rhymes and then dropping jewels on black excellence. The visual on the other hand brings the title to life as we see the artist donning a yellow gi similar to the late legendary martial artist. The director Garin Chadwick also adds that blaxploitation aesthetic into the mix and suffice to say everything here is on point. I am not sure what project this song is from but it's mighty healthy hearing dope rhymes over dope beats reinforced with some kung-fu action-packed visual. Get the audio here
2. Keenan The First "How it Goes"
This retro aesthetic is starting to be a trend here. St. Paul, MN raised act Keenan The First delivers this stunning visual for his record "how it goes". The vibrant track shows the rapper/singer going into full croon mode as he delivers ear-grabbing melodies effortlessly. The love-soaked track gets a boost from the expertly crafted visual that is set in the 50's. The concept is about a marriage stuck in a loop, and weird happenings that occur when that loop breaks. It is weird, very quirky but thoroughly entertaining.
3. Pete Philly "Favorite Song"
Pete Philly is a multilingual hybrid who came to the Netherlands in his youth and was poised to take the industry by storm but something happened that altered his trajectory. A life-threatening illness forced him into hiatus and he spent the following years on a road to health and recovery in preparation for his next chapter. His latest record "Favorite Song" is a mix of pop, R&B, swing, and electro elements. Armed with a smooth vocal tone, Pete brings a whole new vibe to the multi-genre arena. The single positions the artist towards his first full live shows in 7 years over in Amsterdam & Rotterdam.
4. Serious Klein "91 Flex"
Kelvin Boakye AKA Serious Klein is an English rapping MC from Germany. The talented emcee caught my attention with this energetic record titled "91". Over a hard-hitting, cinematic backdrop crafted by Rascal, the young emcee delivers a highly vivid and animated performance aimed to blow the naysayers out of the proverbial water. It is obvious that he is taking aim for the top spot as he pulls no punches but aside from the jabs, Serious Klein made the track as a tribute to the era he is from, specifically his birth year. He is currently working on his full-length project slated for release later this year.
5. Laolu "All In Me"
Singer-songwriter Laolu delivers the visual for his previously released single "All In Me" in grand style. The story behind the record is an interesting one. It's actually Laolu's first release in 3 years as she took some time off to work on personal challenged which we are glad she overcame. The laid-back, somewhat somber track has a gripping vibe coupled with her catchy melodies and commanding vocal tone will sure get listeners tuned in from start to finish.
The video has a dark vibe and shows Laolu in a sort of trance which probably serves as an analogy for what she was going through during her hiatus. "All in me' is taken from her forthcoming debut EP of the same name.
6. Ace Nation "Good Vibes"
Ace Nation never disappoint with their brand of alternative hip-hop and, as expected, they deliver the goods on this record. "Good Vibes" stays true to their sound all the way through. Driven by a hard guitar riff (courtesy of Corey Powell) and head nodding drum groove, the band emanate positive vibes with both the instrumentation and the lyrics helmed by Abdoulaye. His free-form esque style adds that live feel to the backdrop while Nick Sansone's ethereal melody comes through just to change the pace a little. "Good Vibes" is taken from their debut album 'Rhythm & Light'.
7. Tee Noah "Sunday Service"
I wasn't quite sure of what to expect based on the title of Tee Noah's new record but that changed once I hit the play button. "Sunday Service" is an introspective look at the vices of man and religion. Tee Noah poses some questions that lie within the gray area but the most poignant aspect is the fact that he knows he is not exempt from the trappings of the world. He definitely is not trying to preach to anyone here, he is but a man trying to exorcise his inner demons by any means. The song starts with a quote "...one is the religion of the head, the other is the religion of the heart, which one do you belong to?" and that alone should get you thinking.
The Tariku Noah directed visual is stunning and is filled with different characters who play vital roles in bringing the topic to life. Get the audio here.
8. ButtaBeats Inc "Dead Already"
Rapper/Producer ButtaBeats Inc serves us a poignant track titled "Dead Already" that really runs deep. The self-produced track is built on a mellow/somber piano riff and almost bare-bones backdrop reflecting the artist's present view of the current state of affairs. He breaks down the challenges of being black in America, from unwarranted police brutality to the poverty/ghetto mentality that often leads to undesirable outcomes. He sets things in motion with a thought-provoking Malcolm X vocal snippet that pretty much summarises the premise of the song.
The video was shot in Atlanta by director HonestVisions and starts off with a short snippet of an interview with the son of the late Kenneth Chamberlain Sr who was slain by the police in 2011. The video is simple and doesn't go off tangent to get the message across. Get the audio here
9. Tokay "take a day"
It's only right to switch things up a little with some dope-ass instrumental. We got wind of producer Tokay's latest record "Take a day" and we can say it's pure bliss from start to finish. The 2-minute plus record is a blend of lo-fi elements with vintage jazz sounds. The up-and-coming Bay Area-based producer surely hits the bullseye with this one but to be frank it's hard to go wrong when you incorporateThis one is for chilling out on an easy Sunday morning/ early afternoon on the beach.
10. Rozie "Brown Sugar"
This is a record I got that instantly got me grooving so it's only right to wrap things up on a positive note. Rising R&B act Rozie comes through with "Brown Sugar" (nope not D'Angelo folks), a record she calls "...soulful, sun-tinged, beachy, R&B...". I couldn't agree more as the record starts with a terrific guitar riff (courtesy of Danny McKinnon) that exudes that mid-00's neo-soul vibes we all grew up on. Musically aiming for that backyard grill, summery vibes, Rozie delivers a solid vocal performance reminiscent of her predecessors in the genre. Hear "Brown Sugar" on Spotify/SoundCloud/Art