2015’s Finest

2015 was an incredible year for me as I spent most of it travelling. Unfortunately that meant I was unable to update the blog as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless I was still fortunate enough to hear a lot of good new music, so as with previous years we have a mix of some of our favourite songs from the year. Special thanks to Oakley Grenell for putting this together.

We’ll hopefully have more great music to share with you in 2016. Happy holidays!

01 The Internet – Girl
02 Thundercat – Them Changes
03 Ta-ku – Sunrise feat. Jordan Rakei
04 Blended Babies – Make it work
05 MUNDU x R-kay – So Much Wilhelm Screams
06 Onra – We Ridin’
07 Hiatus Kaiyote – Swamp Thing
08 Electric Wire Hustle – Brother Sun
09 MED, Blu & Madlib – The Strip
10 Oddisee Belong To The World
11 Illa J – Universe
12 Kendrick Lamar – These Walls feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat

Anderson .Paak – Am I Wrong

Anderson .Paak appears to be everywhere these days which isn’t a bad thing if you ask me. His latest release is this little collaboration with Canadian producer Pomo and ScHoolboy Q and features additional horns from Brasstracks. Stream the track below and if you dig it, get a copy from iTunes.

MED, Blu & Madlib – Bad Neighbor

MED, Blu and Madlib… it’s got a nice ring to it doesn’t it? It’s been more than two years since we got a taste of this combination with The Burgundy EP and now the trio have released a full album together titled Bad Neighbor.

I’ve been a big fan of all three of these cats for quite some time but to be honest it’s been a while since I’ve been excited by any releases from Madlib or Blu. This is a different story though with Madlib showing that he’s still one of the most creative with the beats, laying the foundation for Blu to show just how good he can be. As for MED, he’s always on point in my books and this is no exception. And to top it off, the album features the likes of Dam-Funk, Oh No, Frank Nitt, MF DOOM, Anderson Paak, Phonte, Jimetta Rose, Aloe Blacc, and Mayer Hawthorne among others. Enough said. This is one of the best hip hop albums of 2015. Get a digital copy here or pre-order the vinyl from Rapcats.

The Strip feat. Anderson Paak

Columbia Nights – In All Things

Washington DC trio Columbia Nights first caught my attention back in 2012 with their debut EP Dawn | Dusk. Since then they’ve released a bunch of quality singles that have kept me craving more and hoping for a full-length album. And now finally my wish has come true with the release of In All Things through Record Breakin’ Music.

The 10-track LP is packed with the lush and soulful sound that made me fall in love with these guys in the first place. A mix of stellar production, funky bass lines, a host of quality vocalists, attention to detail, and a whole lot of passion has resulted in a really well-crafted album that is well worth checking out. You can do exactly that right here.

Blended Babies – The Anderson .Paak EP

Last week production duo Blended Babies dropped a new EP with Anderson .Paak (formerly known as Breezy Lovejoy). We’ve been a fan of the Los Angeles vocalist for quite some time but he appears to have blown up a little since appearing on Dr Dre’s recent album and is now getting the attention he deserves.

The EP has four songs with features from Asher Roth, Donnie Trumpet and King Chip and I can’t get enough of this track Make it Work. Get the EP here.

Make It Work

Darker Than Wax – 30K Compilation

Our favourite Singapore-based label Darker Than Wax recently reached a new milestone of having 30K followers on Soundcloud and to celebrate they’ve released another great compilation which they’re giving away as a free download.

These guys have been steadily building their fanbase and reputation over the years by consistently releasing quality music. If you haven’t heard of them before, this release is a great way to get acquainted. After that I suggest you head to their Bandcamp page to hear more. You can grab a copy of 30K here.

Jasper Staal – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

The Foreign Exchange – Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey

It’s hard to believe it’s been over ten years since The Foreign Exchange released their debut album Connected – an album that was loved by so many simply because it was just so fresh. Nicolay’s beats were like no other producer’s and Phonte was one of the best MC’s around.

If you’ve followed the group over the years, you’d know that their sound has changed quite a bit since their first album and it has continued to change with their latest release Tales from the Land of Milk and Honey. This may be partly due to the fact that the make up of the group has also changed with the addition of Zo!, Carmen Rodgers and Tamisha Waden. The change is nothing too dramatic though, the Foreign Exchange electro-soul sound is still there with a little funk thrown in to give the album a fun vibe throughout.

For me, the album is nothing mind blowing but perhaps that has something to do with the curse that comes with releasing good music – expectations get a little high. I’m sure fans will enjoy the release. It’s available now from the FE store or on iTunes if you prefer.

The Foreign Exchange – Milk And Honey

Teeko – Love Like This

Today we have something new from Teeko, one of our favourite musicians out of San Francisco. This song came from a live Mugpush jam session recording at Windy Hill studios. The improvised vocal track by Devaun Bantu was given to Teeko as he expressed that he had an idea for it. He then imported the vocals to his turntable where he started to chop up all the vocal parts he liked from various sections of the jam, placing them as he felt the song start to arrange itself. Later he brought in the lush vocals of Sonya Distel.

Teeko is sharing this as a free download at the newly launched Explore.fm, a new site where verified artists can upload music to share with the world all for free and as a fan, you can choose to support artists directly. There isn’t a ton of music on the site yet but there’s definitely some quality stuff and from what I’ve seen it looks like a much better alternative to the likes of Spotify who are notorious for paying artists next-to-nothing.

Teeko – Love Like This feat. Devaun Bantu & Sonya Distel

Stylin’ 700 (Presented by Ennio Styles)

Melbourne’s Ennio Styles is a true master at discovering amazingly talented artists from all around the world. For the past 14 years he’s been giving these artists airtime on Melbourne’s 3RRR-FM and he’s just clocked up 700 shows! So to celebrate, he’s put out another compilation filled with great music from a bunch of artists from all over the globe.

Stylin’ 700 follows the previously released Stylin’ 500 and 600 compilations that were also packed with amazing music. You’ll find a wide range of musical styles on the album but it’s all good music. You can grab a copy right now from Bandcamp for free but feel free to support and throw a few dollars in that box at the checkout – it’s definitely worth it.

N’gaho Ta’quia – I Ain’t Your…

Kriswontwo – Love, Need You feat. Omar

If you haven’t heard of Kriswontwo, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some of his music – he was responsible for the production on Georgia Anne Muldrow’s Miss One EP. Now the Danish producer is all set to release his debut album Ceremoni next month.

The first single from the release features none other than our favourite British soul singer Omar. While Love, Need You isn’t the best we’ve heard from either of these two, it’s definitely worth a listen and has got us interested in the rest of the album which will be out on September 14 through Someothaship.