Choice Cuts: De La Soul – De La Soul is Dead

Tommy Boy / Warner Bros Records, 1991
De La Soul, by Robbie Jeffers, 2013/4 (1035x582)The hip hop albums of the 90s were dense. Not just in length, but in concept and originality too. And De La Soul’s second album, De La Soul is Dead, is as about as dense a 90s hip hop record as you’ll find.

Opting to avoid record labels in favour of keeping more creative control over their music and relationship with their fans, the De La boys – Kelvin ‘Pos’ Mercer, David ‘Dave’ Jolicoeur and Vincent ‘Maseo’ Mason – recently turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund their comeback record (at long last). The funding round for their new album, And the Anonymous Nobody, ended today with a whopping $600,875 from 11,169 backers. So, for those that are less familiar with this pioneering hip hip trio, now’s the perfect time to look back at one of my favourite De La albums: De La Soul is Dead. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Lianne La Havas – Unstoppable

Lianne La Havas - Unstoppable (900x506)2012 was a phenomenal year for music, and, for me at least, British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas was the crowning jewel. Her debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, was a record of astounding colour and emotional depth. So it’s encouraging that La Havas has steadily been refining new songs, and a little under three years later her second album is at last ready to be released. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Chic – I’ll Be There (ft. Nile Rodgers)

Chic - I'll Be There, single artwork (1425x802)Coinciding with Friday’s solar eclipse and the spring equinox, Chic returned with their first new material in 23 years in the form of ‘I’ll Be There’. Nile Rodgers, one half of the songwriting genii behind the likes of ‘Le Freak’ and ‘Everybody Dance’, is the only member of the original group alive today. He’s in the UK now for a series of live shows to celebrate the release of the new single, which also precedes an upcoming long player of unreleased Chic material – something which Rodgers’ describes as the reason for the band’s unexpected return. Continue reading

Can’t stop listening to… Lianne La Havas

Her album may have only just arrived, but I’ve been enraptured by Lianne La Havas for eight months already.

It was listening to the 22-year-old singer-songwriter from south London explain how she met Willy Mason on the Victoria line (via the Huey Show), which led to them collaborating on her debut single ‘No Room For Doubt’, that got me to pay attention. “We all make mistakes, we do / I learn from you”, she sang, cleansing my mind inexplicably of the worries that lay within. Continue reading