Jam of the Week: Common – Letter to the Free

Common - Letter to the Free single (630x354)Storied hip hop artist, Common, has long placed conscious messages at the centre of his music. Responding to the testing events that have gripped the United States, he shared the thought-provoking ‘Letter to the Free’ this week. Continue reading

Solange – A Seat at the Table review

Solange - Cranes video still, 01 (1280x720)It is said that the tough times are the true measure of a person’s character. By that definition, Solange is empress, artist and saviour all in one. Eight years after this maverick R&B singer’s second album, and four years since her cathartic portrait of a break-up(True EP), she has gifted us with a bold, vibrant album about freedom and the worth of her people. Continue reading

NxWorries – Yes Lawd! review

NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knx), 2015 (1914x1072)An album like Yes Lawd! does not come around every year. It’s a collaboration between Anderson Paak and Knxwledge, two tirelessly creative musicians who, as Stones Throw puts it in the album’s liner notes, are no “stranger to the head-down hustle”. Both are in heavy demand right now, having worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Dr Dre, and released their own solo work (Malibu, Hud Dreems) to great acclaim. So Yes Lawd! is a special bonus. Paak and Knx have put together a 19-track mix of songs, skits and snippets for you to kick back and chill. Continue reading

Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks in Whispers review

Corinne Bailey Rae, press photo, 2016, 03 (1619x911)Corinne Bailey Rae is content. Content that the creation of her third album has been a fresh direction for her, even if it may not feel like that to all listeners initially. Six years on from the phenomenal, Mercury-nominated album, The Sea, the Leeds musician, who tragically lost her first husband, saxophonist Jason Rae, in 2008, is in love again and wants to share her newfound happiness with the world. The Heart Speaks in Whispers doesn’t quite have the total flourish of its predecessor, but it is an album of serenity and patient beauty. Continue reading

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos review

Kate Tempest_press_photo_2016_01_5404x3040For those who have been living without internet access for last three years, here’s a brief update on the state of the planet to put British rapper and spoken word artist Kate Tempest’s second album in context: the Earth is in a dire state. Rising divisions between rich and poor, and intolerance and miscommunication are everywhere. Meanwhile, the rise of big business continues, while the culture of the self quietly keeps the “modern revolution” – helpfully prophesised by voting-sceptic Russell Brand, among others – pacified.

Kate Tempest came to the attention of many in 2013 with her Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, Everybody Down, an effecting concept album that focused on a young couple, their troubled relationship and hard-bitten city living. With her second album, Let Them Eat Chaos, Tempest has built on her experiences to produce a powerful reflection of life in Britain today, from the high-stakes city workers to the down-and-outs living on the breadline. Continue reading

Anderson Paak – Malibu review

Anderson Paak, Facebook, Nov 7, 2015 (960x540)Anderson Paak’s Malibu is incredible. This multi-disciplined singer, rapper, songwriter and producer has been living a breakout year, appearing on tracks by Schoolboy Q, Kaytranada, Snakehips and Mac Miller to name but a few. Malibu, with its flavoursome grooves and relatable hooks, is the type of album you’ll want to listen to from end-to-end, and shout about to all your friends. Continue reading

Kojey Radical review – a night of uncompromising elation

Jazz Cafe, LondonKojey Radical, Jazz Cafe, by Aaron Lee, 01 (1920x1080)When a concert ends with the performer hopping down from the stage to dance with their fans, you know it’s been a big night. And this week has been particularly big for rising wordsmith, Kojey Radical. The poet and rapper received two MOBO Awards nominations, and his celebratory spirit was overflowing at his sold-out Jazz Café show. Continue reading