Xavier Omar has had an interesting trajectory. Starting his career in 2012 under the moniker SPZRKT, (abbreviation for Spazzy Rocket) he released a steady stream of EP’s produced by his musical match, Sango. His rise in popularity and recognition has been nothing short of gradual. After four EP’s and penning an open letter in which he divorced his old stage name, Omar released his first ever album and music video for Just Get Here ft. VanJess and Wale last autumn. A unique approach to protecting his mystique, which for the most part has worked in his favour.
Xavier Omar returns again not long after the release of his debut with if You Feel. Omar’s secondary effort, released almost a year to the day of Moments Spent Loving You is a perfectly sequenced, 11 track body of work. This go around, we get to hear Omar collaborate with the likes of Mereba (Like I Feel), Masego (SURF) and new comer Jae Stephens for the laid back summertime track All Our Time.
Getting more personal on this album, the singer-songwriter lets listeners in on his new marriage, expressing his devotion to his wife on tracks like Protect and in particular So Much More; a stand out, 90s nostalgia slow jam.
In true Omar style, each song is laced with warm and intricate harmonies. Pushing the limits, we see Omar sample the Dru Hill smash ‘Tell Me’ for the 5th track on the album,‘want/need’ where he flits between rapping and singing effortlessly.
‘If You Feel’ is a great continuation to Xavier Oamr’s journey; a piece of art where the underground RnB artist meets the mainstream without losing substance. A perfect balance.
Check out the full album below, and let us know what you think:
Owner by OluwaJBeats has been gaining traction since the video premiered on GRM Daily’s Youtube channel, and for good reason. Owner is boastful, bold and far from meek in its lyrical content.
The song is definitely geared towards being a summertime smash with AdeJosh anchoring the hook, “Girl I’ll be your sponsor and your donor/So why you playing games like Maradona” (spoiler alert; the chorus is catchy and will most likely get stuck in your head).Reminiscent of WSTRN’s early work, Owner is a fun song laced with a bold theme that carries throughout. With three features fairly balanced with a nice mix of rapping and singing, Owner is the perfect song to see the last months of summer out.
Liét’s debut single Bittersweet tells a story of a complicated, new-school kind of love; one person wants to be official, whilst the other wants to play the field.
Taking the stance of the fed-up but loyal woman in the relationship; Liét’s laid back vocals grace the syncopated RnB track with ease. With a lyric video composed of clips from old 90’s and early 2000’s black cinema, it’s hard not to feel instantly nostalgic when the track plays.
Perfectly capturing the toxic cycle of going to and from a non-committal lover, Liét writes for a lot of women across the map with similar experiences. Citing Brandy and Destiny’s Child as her inspirations, Liétt showcases what she has to contribute to the UK RnB scene. Though the lyrics are melancholy (“Do enough to keep me on your mind/ On a ride to nowhere, wasting time”), she juxtaposes it over a sweet, chilled beat (produced by Nosa Apollo), making a sad love song danceable. Having provided backing vocals for the likes of JLS, Stefflon Don and Kojo Funds, Liét is stepping out on a solo journey, and Bittersweet serves as the start to what could be a very fruitful career.
Watch the video below, and let us know what you think:
Joey Bada$$ returns with The Light Pack; a three-track EP that is only 8 minutes and 22 seconds in total, but says a whole lot. The Brooklyn born rapper begins with The Light; a 90s influenced embodiment of Hip Hop’s golden era. His flow and sustained rhyme pattern, held over ten bars are immensely impressive, but not surprising. Joey Bada$$ has been rapping since he was twelve years old and has had plenty of time to perfect his craft, which he has done with seeming ease.
With one feature (Pusha T on No Explanation) over three songs, Joey Bada$$ stands alone in his generation. Not reliant on superstar producers or catchy made for Tik-Tok hooks, Joey Bada$$ explores the realms of his spiritual rebirth (alluded to at the beginning of The Light video) and toys with his lyrical prowess. Much of the project is a testament to his steadily progressive career. While his first album was strictly a 90’s throwback, the second album embraced the change in rapping style across most new artists at that time. However, The Light Pack is a perfect blend of both styles, as Joey Bada$$ successfully makes two era’s meet in the middle, creating a sound that only Joey can pull off without sounding dated.
Laying low for the last three years, this is Joey’s first release since 2017’s All Amerikkkan Bada$$. A bold return for the rapper who self-proclaims his music as “…mumble rap extermination“. The Light Pack is a strong return and a great teaser to whatever is coming next.
American RnB duo, Chloe x Halle planned to release their second studio album titled, The Ungodly House on the 5th of June, but later decided to push the release back by a week to honour the Black Lives Matter movement and the unfolding events surrounding the murder of George Floyd.
Fast forward to the 12th of June, and the album is released to the world. Pressing play, and hearing the opening lines to the album “Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” beautifully translates to the mood of the album. As the duo unapologetically explore their fully-fledged adulthood. A step up life experience and maturity from their debut album, The Kids Are Alright, The Ungodly Hour delves into the conflict of young adulthood and fidelity, “It’s nine o’clock, I get a text saying are you up?/ ‘Bout 9:15/ My girl said she got the same message, the same thing” sings Chloe in a harsh, assertive tone on the early noughties song – “Busy Boy”.
With the duo receiving writing and producing credits on almost all of the 13 tracks, they serve up a unique RnB sound with a touch of soft rock on “ROYL” and soft house music on the Disclosure produced album title track. Their sleeper hit; a Scott Storch produced track titled, “Do It” serves as the ladies the first song to chart, placing them in front of a wider audience than ever before.
As always, the sisters play with their perfectly practised duality, not only in the imagery for the album but on their vocal arrangements; singing harmonies with a tightly locked blend that is almost operatic at times.
The Ungodly Hour is a stunning follow up from the Atlanta duo. Chloe x Halle teeters on the edge of RnB all the while staying true to their experimental roots. The sisters are becoming ones to watch.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to The Ungodly Hour, check it out below and let us know what you think: