On the Giannis edition of Quickies, we’ve got some powerful tracks like the Bucks’ dynamic power forward. In the spirit of March Madness, we’re going to mix things up and do some things never seen before. I don’t know if we’ll have a 16 upset a 1, but we’re going to have some fun on this one. Lord knows I need some of that.
Timi Turnup – “Glow Never Sleeps”
“Glow Never Sleeps” finds the London-born, DMV-residing Turnup letting his swagger loose while showcasing why he’s carving out his own path. I’m a huge fan of the production. That’s because it sounds like something you’d get from a Dipset track from the 2000s but lyrically more diverse than Cam and Juelz spitting hustler bars, if that’s your thing. I also love the anthemic nature of this song, as it’s as feelgood as it is lyrically impressive.
Johnny D – “Key West”
A funky smooth boombap track of sorts, “Key West” features the Southern rapper mixing a blend of Bubba Sparxxx’s 2000s southern-fried rap and Mac Miller’s love of good vibes with a sliver of OutKast ‘s melodic raps for good measure. This one is slated to appear on Johnny’s Beach Days project, so I’m curious to see how the project comes out. It’s beach rap that feels draped up and dripped out.
LioneltheMastermind – “How Do I Breathe?”
A different type of a feel-good vibe, “HDIB?” finds the rhymesayer speaking on seeing the brightness even when things seem dark. It also delves pretty heavily into mental health-specific raps, which I always appreciate. The video itself shows Lionel seeking solace in friends, family and even within himself through therapy and the like. This one’s needed in these trying times, as he says “you’re not alone in this cold environment.” According to the video, this is but part one of his story, so I’m intrigued to see what happens next.
LrkChronicle – “Preach (featuring Awkward Groove)”
This one reminds me of a Pharcyde track, between its heavy representation of Blackness in various forms and its smooth lyricism. As the chorus says, “freedom is all [we] want,” not just glitz and glamour. I love the video as well, as it keeps the same energy as the song and the introduction of the track. I also like how the end of the visual finds many melenated faces living their best lives.
148 – “Topeka Vibe”
Canadian duo 148 were born and raised in Nigeria and this one showcases their well-traveled vibes. It’s playful, but it’s about having a good time in the face of some craziness. At least, that’s what I’m getting from it. The sound of the track is pretty distinct, as it blends afrobeat, neo-soul, alt-rap and a little bit of funk and retro soul in there as well. There’s even a sax solo if you’re looking for that in your music. The video’s also keeping with that element of surprise while still being uplifting.
Marlon McClain – “I Want Your Love”
I like this one because it’s got a funky, old-school rap sort of way about it. Featuring lyricist BD3 and late producer Ralph Stacy, Marlon’s track takes me back to loverman rap tracks that weren’t just about smashing a large variety/number of women. I love that about this one, truthfully. It’s playful and sexy without being crass or overly sexual.
JuJu Rogers – “Royalty” (feat. Jesse Royal)
JuJu Rogers first made his appearance on SOTBMusic with “Minneapolis.” This one, while not about protests, is protest music in its own right as it stands up and shows that we are descended from royalty. The positivity of this one helps it stand out in a sea of negativity, as Rogers’ flows and lyrics hit harder and more poignantly than any punch or shot.
JP Rose – “One and Only”
The “afroswing-meets-R&B-laced” “One and Only,” finds producer JP Rose working with Esme and Tia Tamara Davis to present their own brand of smooth hip-hop-flavored R&B. It’s kind of like “I Want Your Love,” in that both songs manage to blend a variety of sounds to make something beautiful and lovely.
DK & Ghettosocks – “What It Seems” (featuring Skyzoo and Rome Streetz)
If you want your boombap to have substance and reality-based lyricism along with its soulful beat, this one’s for you. The track isn’t about life being an unquenchable b-word (even if it sounds like it at points). Instead, the track is more about how life’s a game of chess and we’ve got to keep moving. Otherwise, we’re doomed to stagnation and damnation.
HEGAZY – “Maybe If We Try”
Sister duo HEGAZY float on this one. It’s got an Emily King sort of vibe to it. This is the first time I’ve come in contact with the Egyptian-Italian twins Leila and Omnia, but I’m praying this isn’t the last time. “Maybe If We Try” is one of those songs that’s inspirational as much as it’s “let’s just learn about ourselves and love the space we’re in.” The instrumentation here is also top-notch, allowing for the vocals to just float into your ears and stick with you.
Se’an and JG – “Stuck On You”
“Stuck On You” is one of those tracks dedicated to a woman who may not be the best for you…but you can’t help but be stuck on them. I love this one because of the bluntness and the honesty on it. Plus, the rap verse, while Drake-esque, has a lot of truthfulness to it. The production reminds me of the artists just sitting in a smoke-filled room letting it be known that they can’t move on–even if they should.
GR3G – “Cause & Effect”
Chicago native GR3G’s SOTBMusic debut finds the lyricist/poet just speaking his peace about the experience of a melenated man in 2022. Between trying to avoid hood politics, heartbreak and crooked police, the brother speaks on it all. I like the simple piano-heavy beat, because it allows for GR3G a chance to just let everything out over the four-minute song. He’s got a Kendrick Lamar-sort of feel to him, mainly because he’s lyrical but says something deep with his lyrics versus just rapping just to rap.
Jaywop – “Drive”
The intro off Wop’s Corduroy project finds the Washington-born, Arizona-residing artist speaking his peace about a situation that he’s found himself in. A song that gives a bit of a look into growing pains, “Drive” is a solid intro. To not give too much away, the song beautifully sets up the album, which features Jaywop delivering a part two of sorts to his 2021 release, Suede. If you’ve missed that one, start there then hit play on “Drive.” Your ears will thank you.
Jurnalist – “Driveway”
Part of a larger EP that’ll see a song released every Friday, “Driveway” features Jurnalist aspiring for greatness and a beter way. That is seemingly also done while driving through his city. It’s one of those “riding” songs that also manages to be lyrically deep and densely-populated as well. Think KRIT, of just about any era of his career. I like this one, specifically because of the production. That said, the whole package is a bop. So check it out and be on the lookout for Jurnalist’s new songs.
My fingers are now tired, so I’m going to crack open a bottle of my favorite drink, meet up with some friends this weekend and get my mind off the negative stuff in life. I recommend you do the same, especially since this weekend in the DMV is supposed to be pretty nice (minus some showers on Saturday). Even if you’re not in the DMV, get out and enjoy life, use these songs as a playlist and support dope music in all its forms.