For us to say 2020 has been a tumultuous ride is pretty much an understatement and not enough words could be used to capture our true feelings, so we let the music do it for us. In Episode 72 of The Slice we have quite a mix for y'all to dive into and without much delay let's get right on it. Block Λ 's "Real Life Shit" is just a the title suggests. The unapologetically honest song dives into the reality where things fall apart but we just have to hold on to those happy moments to keep going. The track is bolstered by a smooth backdrop and the sublime vocals of lead singer Phedra Broch (stage name Phe B) and fuses melodic runs with emotional rap verses to drive home this heartfelt message. Schama Noel and Masta Ace team up as "The Last Dragons" to deliver that good old hip-hop sound. Masta Ace always scores when he is on the mic. The East and West collide as Milano Constantine and Body Bag team up for a gritty in your face single titled "Write It in Blood" featuring West Coast veteran Planet Asia. Backed by Constantine's ominous production, the trio delivery a verbal onslaught with reckless abandon on this tune.
Lamont Wiley's "Highs & Lows" focuses on his own personal problems which in turn made him focus on his artistry. Over a smooth dreamy production, he shares the good and bad times with the listeners. US Army veteran Phly is fully focused on his music career and his new track "Jokers and Aces" is his way of showing listeners that he is not one to sleep on. His songwriting is put on center stage as his vocal bravado leads the way.
We head to Montego Bay, Jamaica with singer Ajay Stevens who spreads the much-needed positive vibes on his new song "time to let go (bad vibes)." French singer Thélia continues the positive theme with her single "Can we dance?" which is all about escapism from all the craziness around us. Armed with a sultry and silky vocal, she delivers a soul gripping performance that details enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
"Second Wind" is a reflective tune from Canadian emcee Sorce Manifesto who takes time to reflect on his life's journey. He makes use of a solemn backdrop to paint a vivid story of triumph. The duo of FN Code and Saint Mvrs take us to the skies with "Starz"—a bouncy track laced with dreamy textures and uplifting lyrics about staying positive and lifted spiritually. Singer Marcos Issaak shows us that unconditional love still exists somewhere in his single "I'll Be Here Longer"—a classic soulful ballad that showcases Issaak's vocal range and heartfelt melodic runs.
Bay area's Amplified team up with J.Lately and Owl Green on "Stuck Inside"—a soulful hip-hop tune that talks about being quarantined and looking inwards to get through it all. "Reflection" connects producer Soulone Beats with emcees MR. Skip and King Kamaal. As the title suggests, it touches on tuning out and reflecting to clear a crystal clear view of life while using discretion to solve different situations. Chi-town singer Hi Love raises the energy with her vibrant single "The King" which sees her showing appreciation for her man. Bolstered by an anthemic soulful production, she delivers an uplifting and sultry performance that grips that ear from start to finish. We seem to be still n the love zone as emcee/producer Quincy Valentine gives his own thoughts on blossoming love on his single "Daydreams"—a jazzy R&B track that is filled with melodic choruses and heartfelt lyrics.
UK-based singer-songwriter Ben Botfield and Swiss-based Jazz-Funk band Frische Frische reimagine dezabel's "Somebody - Unplugged." The band crafts a lively jazz-infused arrangement while Botfield delivers a mesmerizing performance over the warm textures laid before him. Emerging Belgium born, Nigerian artist Wavey Vayn teams up with A'donzo on the engulfing single "Dead Man Walking." The track is a moody and reflective song that dwells on finding one's self within love.
UK singer Genevieve tones it down on a solemn note with her single "Riverman"—a chilled, soothing piece that dives into the cycle that breeds gang culture stemming from the innermost wish to belong to something. The singer's approach is quite eclectic and touches the subject from a somewhat abstract viewpoint.
With that being said, kudos to all that are still here with us and as we close out the final edition of The Slice for 2020, we once again send love and light to our esteemed readers, supporters, and the artists making great music to help cushion the weight of the year.
Check out previous editions of The Slice here.
For a full tracklist of this week's featured artists:
Block Λ - "Real Life Shit"
Schama Noel - "The Last Dragons" (feat. Masta Ace)
Milano Constantine & Body Bag Ben - "Write It in Blood" (feat. Planet Asia)
Lamont Wiley - "Highs & Lows"
Phly - "Jokers and Aces"
Ajay Stevens - "time to let go (bad vibes)"
Thélia - "Can we dance?"
Sorce Manifesto - "Second Wind"
FN Code & Saint Mvrs - "Starz"
Marcos Issaak - "I'll Be Here Longer"
Amplified. - "Stuck Inside"
Soulone Beats - "Reflection"
Hi Love - "The King"
Quincy Valentine - "Daydreams"
dezabel x Ben Botfield x Frische Fische - "Somebody - Unplugged"
Wavey Vayn x A'donzo - "Dead Man Walking"
Genevieve - "Riverman"