Germany’s Queen of Soul Joy Denalane Presents Her Latest Single ‘The Show’

Germany’s undisputed Queen of Soul, Joy Denalane release has released her stunning new single, ‘The Show’. Taken from her upcoming album ‘Let Yourself Be Loved – Deluxe Edition,’ out September 3 on Lesedi / Motown Records.  

Testament to a musical ability that comes from years at the top of her game, Joy Denalane is one of modern soul’s brightest stars and ‘The Show’ does not disappoint. Managing to sound classic and contemporary at the same time, it’s neo-soul at its best – a bittersweet account of Joy’s vulnerabilities as a parent, delivered in beautifully confident fashion.  

“The Show is about that moment when kids realize: After all, my parents are just as questionable and flawed as I am”’ says Joy. “When children become teenagers, their parents’ hero status is quite rightly questioned. I tell my children: Please forgive me, that I too am only a part of the show, a part of the system – and as such fallible. The song aims to soften the shock of that realization for the kids and help navigate them through the complexities of life.” 

Listen to ‘The Show’ below.

Have You Met.. Zen Zin & Pawcut

Sudanese MC/Singer Zen-Zin and German producer Pawcut are not your average rap group. Zen-Zin lives and works in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, while Pawcut is producing his beats in a small German town called Minden. Nevertheless, the mix of Zen-Zin’s melodious flow and Pawcut’s skillfully layed beats make a perfect fit. “Next Flight Ontario” is the follow-up album to their debut “Butterfly Effect” on Jakarta Records. The pair took time to join our ‘Have you Met‘ Q&A serirs

Where did you grow up? How did you get into creating music?

Zen-Zin: Well, I was born in Sudan but then my whole family moved to Malaysia for a few years and then we came back, but I wasn’t into music back then. To be honest, it had never even crossed my mind, but one day my cousin had burnt two CD’s for my brother, one was filled with audio tracks and the other had music videos on it. The first song on the CD with the videos was Xzibit’s song “Multiply” which was beyond dope, but it didn’t change me or reel me in like that. The second song was Bow Wow’s “Basketball” featuring Fabolous which was also dope but again – it didn’t change me. The third song was the song that ruined my life and changed everything, the song was Bone Thugs & Harmony’s song called “Crossroads”. Now originally the song had come out in the 1990s but I was too young to understand anything and to be honest rap wasn’t in my world like that, so I was really late to the party. When I heard that song around 2005, they had already released three more albums, but that was a game-changer for me. Sometimes I wish I had never heard that song, maybe then I’d be happy and content with how things are, but everything happens for a reason – so it is what it is.

Pawcut: I grew up in a rather small city called Minden in Germany. Music has always been very present and important to me. The first thing that brought me in touch with actually getting creative in doing something myself was trying to do Ska/Punk in a band in the 80s (yes I’m old) and doing the standard rec/pause/rec Grandmaster Flash impersonations on a tape deck. About 20 years ago, after ways of life lead me to different paths, I started cutting records with two turntables and later samples into a Korg ESX 1 sampler and Fruity Loops. For the last ten years, music has been my main focus and passion.

What’s the music culture like in the city you grew up in?

Zen-Zin: To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to the scene in the city anymore. I used to but not anymore. We have a lot of talented artists here, but I can’t focus on what they’re doing and continue to better myself at the same time, so I just mind my own business and worry about what I’m doing. I wish everybody the best you know, I’m sure what they’re doing is dope, but it’s just not for me, you know.

Pawcut: As I said, it’s small, about 80k people, but we have a nice Jazz club and a Hip-Hop scene that has been more active in the past, but it’s still there.

What’s your relationship with Pawcut/Zen-Zin and how did you meet?

Zen-Zin: I had heard about Pawcut from a friend, but I didn’t know who he was and I’m 100% sure he didn’t know about me at all. I don’t even think he knows about me now lol, but we connected through emails, Facebook texts and everything just kinda fell into place and it just felt right. We had done like two tracks and then decided to keep it going and I won’t lie, I loved his production, it felt mature to me and it was definitely the first time for me to work with a bigger artist who knew what he was doing. There have definitely been a lot of teaching moments along the way and I won’t lie I was kinda intimidated… You have to understand that I wasn’t born into this nor do I know anyone who does this on a professional level. My closest friends aren’t artist, so all of this is new to me. I’m learning on the job every day, so obviously I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but with every new project, I hear and feel the progress.

Pawcut: We met about eight years ago and we’ve worked on music with little interruptions since. Zen-Zin is and has always been a very fast, clean and visionary vocalist to me. Meanwhile, we’ve been through some highs and lows as artists, but also on the ways of life side of things and becoming friends even though we never met in person. And that’s a lot in my world.

How have you tried to bring your Sudanese culture into your music? 

Zen-Zin: I reference some people sometimes in my music and maybe an incident that happened or a quick mention here or there, but I try to not mesh the two together because honestly, I don’t think that that’s what it’s about. I know some artist thrived off that like J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar, but that’s why I gravitated towards Drake more cause I just like good music. 

It doesn’t always have to have a hidden message or be about something, you know. Sometimes just being creative is enough. I don’t like to overthink it, I feel that’s where the art dies, but then again that’s how I feel. Maybe other artists like to whiteboard it and calculate every bar or hook or concept, but I just like it to be organic, it gives the music a longer shelf life in my opinion.

What is your relationship like with Melting Pot, and how has it impacted your music career?

Zen-Zin: MPM has definitely been a big help, I mean without them we wouldn’t be doing this interview here lol, I gotta show ’em respect and tip my hat to them for taking a leap of faith with us, cause this is a business at the end of the day so it’s a numbers game… But the fact that they took this risk with us, lets me know that they also care about the creative aspect of it and that’s rare in today’s world. I hope we don’t disappoint them, but you never know with music, cause you might release a project today and not get the results you want, but then again that same project might blow and start to do numbers four years from now out of nowhere so it’s a tough thing to gauge you know. I just want to personally thank Oliver and the whole team for the support and for believing in me and Pawcut and in “Next Flight Ontario”.

Pawcut: What Zen-Zin said… Also, you got to really give MPM props for rolling with us through the options to promote us beyond “sound” were rather slim. The album just released so time will tell about the impact.

If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

Zen-Zin: If I wasn’t making music, I’d probably be a farmer or a getaway driver, you know… lol. I don’t really know, maybe a screenwriter cause I write a lot but that industry’s ten times harder so I don’t really focus on it too much, but if I wasn’t rapping I’d like to think I was being useful, whether to society or the world or even to the neighbourhood.

Pawcut: I don’t know, I assume I’d spend even more time with the stuff I do besides music which is long walking with the dogs, spending time with my wife I love to death and smoke lots of weed whilst watching brainless stuff on my tv.

Do you play any instruments, if not, which would you love to learn first?

Zen-Zin: I don’t play any instruments nor do I make any beats. I leave that to the professionals. I’m more of a “let me stay in my own zone and don’t touch anything kind of guy”, if I could learn to play an instrument I’d have to go with the piano, I like the sounds it makes especially when you know what you’re doing with it.

Pawcut: Nor do I. My parents tried to get me into piano lessons when I was five or six but I was way too unfocused – and they were not strict enough. 

Which other artists would you love to collaborate with most?

Zen-Zin: I used to want to collaborate with a lot of people but I don’t anymore. Maybe in the future, but right now I like how I and Paw do what we do. I like the fact that it’s just us, you know. There aren’t any ghostwriters or ghost-producers. It’s just the two of us doing what we want, how we want when we want. It’s actually similar to a “blade & whistler” situation for the marvel fans out there.

Pawcut: I think that’s a more complex thing to me than drop big names here now. For me even if I don’t meet someone in person, I need to have a feeling of chemistry that’s beyond a big name or band or even high-quality work. That’s a thing that comes with time and work you put in, not through “hiring” a vocalist or having a “plan”. I want to have an influence on my work that sees the light as well. That’s why I don’t sell my beats or put single beats of mine on multiple random projects or compilations. 

I have people like Zen-Zin, Pseudo Slang, Ella Mae Sueref, N-O, Dre Skuffs and others like my German regulars Katharsis and Headrick, where everything grew organically over the years. So I don’t really long for the big names or coups except it became an opportunity that felt right without forcing it.

How would you describe your rapping/singing style in three words?

Zen-Zin: Organic, conversational, and untethered.

Mndsgn Releases New Song + Video ‘Slowdance’

Mndsgn shares a new song and video from his forthcoming album Rare Pleasure, out June 4th on Stones Throw Records. Celestial and hypnotic, “Slowdance” arrives with the perfect visual counterpart conceptualized by Mndsgn himself and directed by Eric Coleman. The video meets the artist on a glimmering beach as he sets up a transformative flower circle for two souls to find coalescence in the rhythm of the song. The new track follows last month’s single “Hope You’re Doin’ Better,” which came alongside a self-directed video.

Speaking on the track, Mndsgn says: “To me, the ability to deal with time and changes are tied to my ability to dance. The tempos speed up and slow down. Chords progress, weaving through tensions and resolves. The rhythms alternate from something familiar to something strange. Sometimes we adjust accordingly, sometimes we struggle to find the groove, finding ourselves a few beats ahead or behind. However we choose to dance is entirely up to our own expression. The point is to keep dancing whether fast or slow.”

Rare Pleasure is Mndsgn’s third album to be released on Stones Throw Records. Following 2016’s Body Wash, this album truly shows the artist’s evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter and arranger.

Watch and listen to “Slowdance” below.

Lucky Daye Speaks About Love For His New EP – Painted

Lucky Daye returns to his funk laced RnB roots a year and some change after his album Painted debuted to the world.  Lucky Daye comes from humble beginnings, having auditioned for American Idol (his audition clip is still up on Youtube to this day) only to be voted off before the big live shows. From there, he would take his talents behind the scenes, penning songs for singers such as Trey Songz, Ella Mai and Mary J. Blige.

Now on his solo journey, he returns with his second release Table for Two. Daye enlists the help of an all-female feature list to bring his vision to light. The EP takes us on a journey, with skits between tracks where Lucky Daye grapples with rejection and heartbreak. Daye carries on the chopped and screwed rap style vocals from his first album into Table for Two, further solidifying his cinematic approach to making music. These skits offer the most vulnerable side of Daye’s artistic expression; this project is bathed in the regret of a man who let a good one get away.

With an impressive and seamless set of features from Ari Lennox, Yebba, Queen Naija, our own Mahalia and Tiana Major9 and Joyce Wrice, at a glance it does look like overkill but each songstress adds something important and beautiful to Daye’s melancholic but hopeful perspective on love.

Listen to Table for Two below.

Have You Met.. Tee Peters

Young musician from South east london, Tee Peters self- released his debut project, Seasons Volume One last month. The first three singles from the project, Seasons, Numeracy & Breath of the Wild premiered on BBC Introducing, titled as ‘Track of The Week’ & has since been featured on Spotify’s ‘Conscious’ and ‘dazed’. Tee Peters took some time to join our Q&A series:

Where did you grow up, how did you get into creating music?

I grew up in South East London & I started making beats when we got a computer that had a software called Reason installed so I would play around on that. My uncle had a lot of video games and a few were only in Japanese so I spent days learning how to play and do things without understanding what was happening through language.

I would just figure things out through seeing what worked at the time. Same goes for my music process back then & even today – I just played around on my computer and figured out what I liked. As I grew up I started writing lyrics, I loved UK Rap & Grime, RNB & early 2000s – late 90s Hip Hop so I just found myself trying to mimic styles like that until I started to develop my own sound. My first lyrics, I would make songs rapping as Anime Characters… but we can talk about that another time haha

How did you meet your producer, Mensing, so create your first EP

I found Mensing on Soundcloud somehow. He had a different name at the time and there were two beats and probably only 2 followers. I loved what he was producing and so I reached out. We made a song using the beat I liked which I plan to release sometime in the future – it’s been 2 years and it’s still one of our favourite songs. When I found out he was in Germany we kept talking online, I invited him to a collective I make some of my music with called FUNCC & he just started soaring with his beats – getting on all the chill, lofi playlists and things.

He’s the guy you listen to when you need to study. With my background in listening to Soulful Hip Hop, grime and Jazz we started making our own sound that showcased that. In the intro song to Seasons Vol.1, No Rest was written while I was inspired by Grime and Drill music , the original title was Game Of Thrones and you can really hear from the chorus “this ain’t no Game of Thrones, You can’t mess with a Lord at Home” I’m that I was really coming with energy. Mensing’s style really gave it (& the whole project) a different feel through – a medium point of being music you can chill to but if you want to listen to the lyrics you’re getting energy and meaning.

Why do you think you work well together?

Like I said it’s that contrast of styles and our common interest to make a positive vibe. There isn’t a Tee Peters & Mensing song that doesn’t try to awaken your conscious – whether that state is “I need to get focused” or “I need to think about my actions” you can’t deny that the music brings positive vibes. Also we talk all the time, keeping each other inspired with new music and supporting out next endeavours. I’m going to be working on my other projects this year and so is he but even that is fuelling our next link up

Are you working independently to release your music? If so, what are some of the challenges?

Working Szn is my own independent platform for my music, I got a label which I’m building with my bro D’larm and it’s just me and my music friends making music, paying each other for the work and enjoying the fruits. Challenges would be convincing ourselves that we’re really doing it right. I’ve always been a DIY human before I was ever an artist and so I like to find ways of making things happen.

I always have discussions with my friends and collaborators about whether we should send our music to labels and stuff and it’s usually me that needs convincing to do it. I’m aware that having some extra support sometimes is very helpful and it’s nice to exchange value though. That’s why I have a few of my bangers released via indie labels and things but ultimately I’m learning to find a balance between self belief and tactical collaborations.

If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

Up until Last Year I was aiming to do videography and Marketing. I love creating content and I do enjoy delivering it to people (most of the time) so it was a good route to go down.

Although, I will say Music is just one of my efforts and I still edit and market all the time so does that even count? I think it’s best to say I’d just be trying to exist for myself. I don’t like being tied down to things that don’t develop or provide adventure so I’d just find another means to avoid that.

Do you play any instruments, if not, which would you love to learn first?

I started with Guitar, Piano and Drums when I was younger. I didn’t get far with the lessons though. Been playing around with my guitar recently and trying to play some chords

Do you have advice for anyone releasing music independently?

I keep a post-it note on my wall saying “Do it Now” because any idea you have, you will face resistance. Something will tell you to wait for something like a label or a manager when you don’t even know if that’s ever going to happen. Forget about the things you don’t have control over.

If you’re an artist and you feel like your job is to release music, then just do it. Do the research, upskill yourself to be the label/manager that you don’t if you’ll ever receive support from and do it.

Which artist would you love to collaborate with most?

I really want a song with Jay Prince. He has one of my favourite albums ever and I feel like if we were to fuse resources we would make a gem! I’m speaking this into existence because as I write this, I’m thinking about what a sick network of producers I have, and all of the songs that are going to be coming out…

I just feel that there will be a time where people will be asking for this collab – which is funny because I will have been the one who wanted it the most haha.

In a hypothetical world, if you were performing at any festival this summer, what would that be and why?

Lovebox, Soulection’s festival or Wireless. Those were my first ever shows full stop. I got to experience live music for the first time at these places so I think any of these places would be a full circle moment

How would you describe your new EP in three words?


Chill, Conscious & Jazzy. This is a project for when you’re ready to transition from one negative season of life to a more positive one.

So if you’re ready to jump on the #WorkingSzn journey that I’m on and cut out all your distractions for the betterment of your relationships, work ethic and health, then this project is for you. It’s a soundtrack and a PSA 🙂

Listen to Season Vol 1. below.

Spotify Playlist Update: New Music From Rising Stars In The UK & Beyond

Continuing this year’s start of strong releases, our Spotify ‘Soul Food’ includes music from Hip Hop, RnB, Neo-Soul, Broken Beat and Jazz from artist we think who deserve your attention. All our tracks stay on the palylisr for 4 weeks, as we rotate with new tracks bi-weekly.

This week we’ve added music from artists such Otis Junior, Wesley Joseph, Pyjaen, Jeshi, Greentea Peng, The Radiant Children, Akemi Fox, and Tom Misch.

Listen the Soul Food playlist below.

Rak-Su Deliever The Summer Ready Single – ‘Left Right’

Whilst the world grinds to another halt, Rak-Su have promised to keep things moving in 2021. The group have released their first single of 2021, titled, ‘Left Right’, featuring 19-year-old Zimbabwean singer, Donel.

Speaking about the release, Rak-Su says “Donel is a good friend of ours, we’ve even been on tour together. If anyone’s ever been around us there’s always good energy and a lot of fun. So we wanted to make a song that felt like that & share it with the world”

‘Left Right’ feat. Donel joins previous singles ‘No Contest’ & ‘Girls Like You’ to form a forthcoming EP, due for release in March. Stay tuned for the official video for ‘Left Right’ prior to this in the coming weeks. Rak-Su are also set to perform to crowds in Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London & Bristol from 8th-15th September 2021. 

Listen to ‘Left-Right’ below.

You can find tickets HERE.

DJ Semtex Launches New Weekly Podcast Series, Hip Hop Raised Me

British broadcaster, DJ, producer and author, DJ Semtex, has launched the trailer for a new podcast entitled Hip Hop Raised Me, featuring “exclusive, no-holds-barred conversations with the artists that define the culture”.

Hip Hop Raised Me is produced by Nikita Chauhan and is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Chauhan produced BBC 1xtra radio shows including The Friday night Hip Hop show with DJ Semtex and Destination Africa, hosted by DJ Edu.

The weekly series starts on January 11 with the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy, who joins DJ Semtex for a conversation about Public Enemy and the group’s contributions to hip hop music and to the larger community.

They also discuss the making of the 2020 remix to their hit Fight The Power. Upcoming episodes feature Busta Rhymes, French Montana, Jeezy, Sheff G, and more.

Semtex has played a key role in breaking some of the biggest hip-hop acts on both sides of the Atlantic.

He joined the Global-owned UK radio station Capital XTRA in October 2018 after leaving BBC Radio 1 after 15 years, where he hosted the 1Xtra hip-hop show. He’s also the host of the popular UK-focused Spotify podcast, Who We Be Talks.

The broadcaster’s relationship with, and history in, the hip-hop community is detailed in his 2016 bestselling book, Hip Hop Raised Me.

“THESE ARE IN DEPTH CONVERSATIONS WITH ARTISTS ACROSS THE GLOBE, NO AGENDA.”

DJ SEMTEX

DJ Semtex said: “These are in depth conversations with artists across the globe, no agenda. New cutting-edge artists. A-list artists. Architects of sound. Moguls. Icons.”

“Hip Hop is now the biggest art form of this generation. It is the Rock and Roll of the youth, a genre that transcends race and culture, this it isn’t going to stop anytime soon.”

Ghetts Teams Up With Skepta For New Single – IC3

In anticipation of Ghetts forthcoming album which I expect to be released towards the end of 2020, Ghetts released eye-catching new visuals to the bumping single ‘Mozambique’ in July, alongside fellow grime lyricist Jaykae, and singer Moonchild Sanelly.

Ghetts speaks his truth alongside UK heavyweight, Skepta for his new single ‘IC3’. Going smoothly back and forth between each other, over a stripped back hip hop beat Ghetts and Skepta explore what it means to be a Black man in Britain today. From their early experiences and perceptions whilst they were emerging in the music scene, to their feelings now that they are more successful and famous.

Listen to the single below, and let us know what you think:

LA Based Lyricist VRITRA Shares Melancholic New Video Titled, ‘AIR RAID’

Photo Credit: Drake Steele

Leon Sylvers IV aka VIRTRA is an American songwriter and producer. The son of legendary singer, songwriter and producer Leon Sylvers III from family group The Sylvers, Leon IV naturally gravitated to singing, writing and making music at an early age.  His first songwriting credit came at just 7 years old for the group Men of Vision, who were signed to Michael Jackson’s label MJJ. Since then he’s worked with A-listers including Gladys Knight, Teddy Riley, Dâm-Funk, Danjahandz and N’Dambi.

VRITRA shares the video for ‘AIR RAID’, directed by Enkrypt Los Angeles. Taken from his new album SONAR, out today on Bad Taste and produced entirely by Leon Sylvers IV. It follows the album’s first single WHAT’S THAT – an energetic bop that serves as the album’s theme tune. An infectious soul loop underpins Vritra’s liquid flow, whilst 808s add low end weight. Impossible to pigeon-hole as merely a rapper, his output across multiple genres is prolific – also listing production, singing and even visual arts on his resume.

Describing the project in his own words, Vritra says, “for me this was one of the most fun to execute. Most of my self-produced music falls closer to the experimental spectrum, but I feel like I’ve never focused on a solid ‘rap’ album. This is that. I feel like fans of my music wanted that. Leon has been one of my favourite producers for a long time. With him taking control of the production it freed me to focus on flow, style, and rhythm pockets. The name Sonar is fitting as well. Makes me think of beams. What made rap interesting to me in the first place was style. This is me beaming that style and putting it on the radar”.   

Check out the video below, and let us know what you think: