SOTBMusic Quickies Vol. 11, 1/12/22

It’s Wednesday, you know what that means. I’m finally recovered from this weekend’s extracurriculars with Ashley, so I’m back with some new music for your earholes. I’ve started to realize that many of these “Quickies” aren’t that quick. Hell, many of them are still, at minimum, 100-125 words. But the name’s cheesy and catchy, so screw it. Here are today’s Quickies.

KELS – “Just Let Me Go”

The best way I can describe this one is if we got Amy Winehouse’s “Take The Box” written by a H.E.R.-type of R&B singer. It’s angry as hell and exudes a lot of big pissed off energy. However, her vocals are also smooth and emanate a lot of emotion besides just “I’m angry at the way that this relationship played out.” The beat has a neo-soul sort of feel to it, which means it’s relatively laidback and lets KELS’ vocals set the mood for the song. This one was released a while back, but I’m glad I finally found it for myself.

JezzBe – “Nothing Much”

JezzBe first got my attention with his song “Oxtails” last month. This song is from the same project. It’s a bit less about soul food healing and more about loss changing the way we perceive things. As someone who’s experienced his fair share of loss over the years, I get exactly what he’s going for here. Loss is one of those things that can even change your concepts of time and space; that’s what happened after Mama Young passed, honestly. JezzBe’s smooth vocals have a Raphael Saadiq sort of feel to them here, which helps because of the piano-heavy instrumental.

Zardee – “Elements”

This one blends afrobeats, contemporary R&B, a bit of funk and funk and amapiano (think deep house meets lounge music). It’s sleek and fun, but also grabs you with its driving rhythm. This one was crafted to showcase Zardee’s diversity and I’ve got to say that this one is mission accomplished. It’s beautiful and sexy while still being funky and high-energy. I also like the instrumentation on the track, as it encloses a lot of different sounds to craft this genre-blending soulful song.

Seanii – “Distance”

Seanii pitched this one as being a mix of Kota the Friend and Russ. While I’m not the biggest Russ fan, the brother can make a solid track. With that in mind, I ran with “Distance,” especially because it meshes a funk guitar and a high energy beat–sort of like “Elements” above. However, instead of singing about love, Seanii decides to rap about obtaining his goals as soon as possible while still taking time to enjoy the small wins. It’s one of those “I wish there was a third verse” songs because the song breezes by, but still manages to grab ahold of you and doesn’t let you go until the end of it.

PGLU – “Either Way”

Truthfully, I didn’t know what to make of this song/video at first. It starts off with scantily-clad women twerking. I thought I was in for another “Boats n Hoes” sort of song. However, while PGLU is here for a good time and not a long one, he makes that known in a way that’s fresh and funny. The Philippines-born, Chicago-raised artist brings a distinct feel to his music, one that’s equally hilarious and lyrically sound.

Abyss & REKS – “Survival”

On the opposite side of the hip-hop spectrum, we’ve got a bars barrage from Abyss and REKS about battling social injustice, addiction and a lot of darker subjects. The beat samples Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Mood” (with a lot of chops of the famous piano segment around 2:00 in) and is produced by HustleMan Beats, which gives it that extra layer of gravitas and importance. If you’re in the mood for rappity rap without the elitist BS, this is a perfect song for you. If you’re someone who’s been through the fire and is still standing, this is also a song for you.

The Beat Eternal – “Roll With Me”

Rap-tinged vocals meet a soulful instrumentals on the latest song from Austin collective The Beat Eternal. Sonically, the song reminds me a bit of a Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings track mixed with a bit of Lauryn Hill rap sensibility. There isn’t much spitting, but the swagger of the vocals have that sort of vibe that L Boogie was known for when she’s grace us with her vocals. Plus, the beat sounds a teeny bit like it would’ve been an outtake from Miseducation.

Boyu – “Embers of Our Innocence”

This one is a bit more nostalgic, reminiscing about an old love. It’s also more in the Khalid/Ed Sheeran sort of auditory wheelhouse. That’s not a bad thing, but it’d typically get passed over because it sounds a teensy bit too poppy. However, the songwriting on “Embers” saves it when the melodies become a bit too pop-oriented. The song transports you back to those youthful days when you were out and about, dating on whomever. Well, at least it did for me–and it made me happy for where I am right now.

Tony C. – “Good Grief”

This one starts out like a KIDS-era Mac song, beat-wise. Sonically, the rest of the song feels like a Mac track as well. That could be because of the sing-rap moments throughout or because of the hope-in-the-face-of-negative-vibes energies we get on this one. It’s about re-entering life and society after losing a part of your life due to partying and drug abuse. While I’ve never been down that bad, I know people who’ve lost themselves to the life and wanted to start over. For some of them, it was too late. For others, they ended up going back down the darkness after showing some promise otherwise. Tony seemingly is in neither of those boats, as he’s still pushing. This is a powerful song.

M3rcii – “MPR”

I love this track, because it’s for the stuck-in-the-90s rap heads and the newer-school fans. There’s a sort of Kendrick-meets-DMX sort of energy on it, as he’s an excellent storyteller while still having a bit of a menace to his bars. I’m a big fan of the third verse, because it ties the stories we hear on the first two verses together under an overarching theme of “money’s not evil, but the love of it can warp people’s perceptions of reality.”

Bogart. x Man of Met – “Whipped Cream”

“Whipped Cream” is slated to appear on Bogart.’s Reality Check project, which finds the producer driving through various subgenres to create an overall soundscape that’s equally beautiful and gritty. It, like the M3rcii track, is for the boombap enthusiasts. If you want some bars on top of bars, this short track is a nice break from the rest of the world.

Check out these songs above and do the thing: support dope music in all its forms.

Speed on the Beat

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