Episode 84 of The Slice starts off with the aid of French-born Cameroonian producer and artist James BKS, who takes charge of his new single "Kusema." The vibrant afro-infused record sees the artist rapping and singing for the first time and fully expressing his gift behind the boards and in front of the microphone. The title is Swahili for "to express" and BKS does quite a lot of that with his laidback bassy flow and melodic raps that pepper the Bikoutsi rhythm-inflected backdrop. UK singer Hari's"Fictional Romance" is about being entangled with an individual who is involved with someone else. The heartfelt song sees her questioning her decisions but the act of falling in love can be too powerful for one to resist. Hari brings a refreshing take on the subject with her pained vocals and vividly detailed lyrics that is part reflective, hopeful and sad. This is Hari's 2nd single of the year, it is going to be included in her upcoming EP. Emerging rapper B.I.G Lo DA Artist takes us through his stomping grounds on the summer-tinged bouncy track titled "Ride With Me," off his new album, Evolve. The rapper is in boss mode as he paints a picture of luxury and excess over a smooth head-nodding beat which is peppered by a catchy hook.
"Fist High" is a somber and politically charged track crafted by King Khali, Sage, Reek, and Malcolm Jakob. The quartet each takes turns to speak on various real-time issues ranging from institutionalized slavery, police brutality, and cutthroat politicians whose policies often affect minorities. They do have interesting viewpoints and at the end offer a bit of advice to all, which is to do what is best for you and your family. Soul artists Micah Edwards and David Blazer help lighten the mood with their new collaborative release titled "Lovestone." The record has a retro-funk vibe with its silky guitars, warm basslines, and 4 to the floor drums. From the layered chorus, reminiscent of Earth, Wind & Fire, and similar groups, Micah leads the charge with his alluring vocal presentation. Canadian veteran hip-hop duo Dragon Fli Empire drops more than a handful of gems for youths who might be tempted by the streets on their new release, "To Be Continued." Taking inspiration from Guru's Jazzmatazz series, they make use of a moody jazz backdrop ripe with rumbling piano riffs and a horn solo from French trumpet player Alix Laran. NY underground rapper Donathephoenix showcases her lyrical gift on her new release "Otis." She makes use of an upbeat Otis redding sampled beat to help her convey her thoughts. Armed with her gruff vocals and fiery flows, she reminds listeners that she is here to stay. Some might remember her in the mid-2000s when she signed to the legendary rapper Cormega's independent label Legal Hustle.
As he prepares to drop his new body of work, UK emcee Ultra_eko delivers the poignant and insightful single, "Brain Ain't Your Own" featuring emerging Yorkshire-born rapper/producer Darealmrlee. The dark and trippy record sees both emcees warning listeners of how media at large has contributed to the diminishing content of originality and helped fuel rehashes and copycats. Both rappers are quite unapologetic and don't mince their words but the payoff is the way they make references to different artists and their vivid wordplay. Singer/songwriter Cael Dadian delivers a smooth feel-good single entitled "They Will Hear Us" which sees the emerging singer embody the spirit of positive energy throughout. The track is a mix of pop, R&B/soul, and is ripe with catchy melodies and an undeniable groove to match. French producer Odaiba continues the positivity with his entry titled, "Straight Ahead." A bubbling dancefloor-filling jam brimming with lush synths, pulsating basslines that culminate into a piece that everyone can rock with during their downtime.
Germany-based production team POLY POLY has teamed up with Chicago-based vocalist Carlile for this future-funk/neo-soul piece titled "Losing My Mind." The laidback jam sees the singer delivering sultry melodic runs and smooth harmonies over a dreamy futuristically funky backdrop. "Rise" is another gem from B.I.G Lo DA Artist that caught our ears. The aspirational track is brimming with an anthemic and soulful backdrop that blends perfectly with the rapper's insightful and motivational lyrics. "Baby Got Work" by Potatohead People (Nick Wisdom & AstroLogical), Posdnuos of De La Soul, and singer Kapok get a new life courtesy of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Kaidi Tatham. The legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff flips the track with punchy drums, vocal scratches while Tatham handles the dreamy keys and textures while the emcees implore listeners to focus on their grind and get to work to make the world a better place. NY-based diverse multi-instrumental collective The Lesson GK team up with the legendary DJ Premier for this groovy jam titled "Boogie." The upbeat cut is pure bravado on wax as the lead vocalist Phase One delivers stunning bars over the feel-good production done by the leader of the band, Lenny 'The Ox' Reece but it's never complete without DJ Premier's signature scratching. We head straight to Lagos, Nigeria with the help of afro-pop stars L.A.X and Davido. The duo team up for the mid-tempo slow-burner titled "PEPE" where they dwell on having deep pockets to take care of their women. The duo goes back and forth with their melodic pidgin English-infused style and delivers a smooth summer jam for us to rock with. Up-and-coming Canadian artist Jaz Valentino closes out the list with his new release "Dive in," a summer-tinged dancehall/Afropop jam that is filled with alluring harmonies and a smooth mellow backdrop to match. It's purely a let your hair down type track.
Check our previous editions here.
For a full tracklist of this week's featured artists:
James BKS - "Kusema"
Hari - "Fictional Romance"
B.I.G Lo DA Artist - "Ride With Me"
King Khali x Sage x Reek x Malcolm Jakob - "Fist High"
Micah Edwards x David Blazer -" Lovestone"
Dragon Fli Empire - "To Be Continued"
Donathephoenix - "Otis"
Ultra_Eko x Darealmrlee - "Brain Ain't Your Own"
Cael Dadian - "They Will Hear Us"
Odaiba - "Straight Ahead"
POLY POLY - "Losing My Mind" (feat. Carlile)
B.I.G Lo DA Artist - "Rise"
Potatohead People & De La Soul - "Baby Got Work" (feat. Posdnuos & Kapok) (Remix by DJ Jazzy Jeff & Kaidi Tatham)
The Lesson GK - "Boogie (ft DJ Premier)"
L.A.X Feat. Davido - "PEPE"
Jaz Valentino - "Dive in"