Roy Campanella is an all-time great. Catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and battery mate of Jackie Robinson during the 1950s, Campanella was a three-time National League MVP, eleven-time all-star between the Negro Leagues and MLB and a Hall of Famer. All that is to say, this volume of Quickies will throw you out like Campanella if you try and sleep on it.
Ampe Deez – “Golden Love”
A song featuring his middle-school sweetheart Mitchi, “Golden Love” features Ampe Deez waxing poetically about–what else–a real and true love. I like the laidback nature of this one, because it also puts a lot of R&B references between the two artists featured here. I love the beat because it’s got a bit of a throwback loverman rap feel to it. That’s to say, when you add in the lyricism and honesty on the song, it feels pretty timeless.
WaasiKeso – “Roses in the Sky”
A mix between old-school rap sounds and modern lyricism, “Roses” finds the duo WaasiKeso speaking on how they’re striving to make it even in the face of those who want to keep them down. I love the lyricism here because it’s reminiscent of a J. Cole or an early-era Ye. I also enjoyed the bounciness of the beat, as it’ll stick with you like soul food does to your ribs. Doubly so because the lyrics are also homecooked and honest. Check this one out for sure. For those wondering, WaasiKeso is a duo; Waasi Shade is up first on verse one and Jiggy Keso is on verse two.
PIFF (a/k/a Pennywise Jr.) – “Built Different”
A gritty hip-hop track which features PIFF tackling a classic Alchemist beat, “Built Different” has its strengths in the lyricism and the flow PIFF uses on here. This track made me want to check out the parent project, PIFF Invasion Vol. 1, which finds PIFF rapping over other folks’ instrumentals, something like a Gangsta Grillz mixtape. As someone who came up of the mixtape era, I’m a fan of this for sure. It helps when you’ve got bars for days and a laidback flow that sounds like you’re talking with the audience versus yelling at them to take you seriously.
Marck – “Explode”
A mix between funk and hip-hop, “Explode” is an interesting song. I like this one because it’s like a mix between the Beastie Boys’ vibes and Nas’ lyricism. It doesn’t seem like it’d match–until you remember that the Beastie Boys were part of the golden era of hip-hop. Plus, even though they were white guys on the beat, they loved the artform (and that’s what’s helped them carve a legendary path in hip-hop history). That’s what I get from “Explode.” The duo loves rap music and loves to mix genres together to make something pretty intriguing.
Ka’arTuneZ – “Lavender Lomonade”
Another old-school-esque vibe, “Lavender Lemonade” features the rhymesayer darting over a chill production to discuss why he deserves your attention. I like the metaphor of gin and juice as a means to kickback but also as a means to represent how cold his smooth flows are. It’s one of those old-school vibes that’ll have you bobbing your head along to it–especially because it’s just good music with a good message (keep pushing even when things seem a bit difficult).
Fieves – “Roots to Trees”
Life can change in an instant, especially when you decide to move on and start anew. That’s the feeling that’s encapsulated in UK outlet Fieves’ latest track. Equally introspective and reminiscent, “Roots to Trees” has a bit of a melancholy feel to it. That’s because of the beat but also because it pays homage to those who aren’t along for the journey but still have a place in your heart. I think the production is the star here because it captures the feeling of moving on pretty well. That’s not to say the flows aren’t solid, because they are. However, the beat captures the pensiveness one feels when moving on/moving up.
Lori Asha – “Never”
A mix between Amy Winehouse, CocoRosie (minus the insane racism) and Doja Cat, Lori Asha’s “Never” is the genre-blending song I didn’t know I needed until I heard it last week. It’s a solid introduction for the 21-year-old and one that’ll keep me intrigued with what she does next. It’s a great song, one that deals with materialism as much as it does with love.
Henry Aberson feat. Nariah Taylor and Rob Manzoli – “How You Feel”
A neo-soul song about love, loss and coming to terms with the end of a relationship, “How You Feel” is a trip down memory lane. I personally got the feels I got from Prince’s A Piano and a Microphone demo album here as well. I also got some H.E.R. vibes. I think it’s because the song’s subject matter is evergreen and the production is stripped down to its bare elements, which allows the vocals to cut through that much more. If you want a neo-soul-esque song with a guitar, this one’s for you.
Ogechi – “Out of Time”
A song about how cherished moments pass too fast at times, “Out of Time” wants more for those fleeting moments. The inspiration, according to the artist, was “simply a memory of a summer fling that [had] to end.” Taking that into consideration, you’re taken back to your youth, wondering about whether your summer crush will be a long-term thing or will things go back to normal when the fall starts again. Sonically, this one reminds me of SZA mixed with a bit of Chloe x Halle.
Kaelin Ellis – “Cats Groove”
A cut off Ellis’ The Funk Will Prevail album, “Cats Groove” is simply that. It’s a textured groove that blends lo-fi, funk rap and jazz. The end result is a beautiful–albeit short–song that stretches the soundscape. Ellis has been on my radar since his collaboration with Lupe from 2020. It’s great to see that the young brother is still out here doing the damn thing on a sonic level.
I decided to check out the entirety of the TFWP album and man! If you want stellar multi-genre awesomeness, this one’s for you. No two songs sound the same, even if they can all be classified as jazz-esque. I think that’s the beauty behind the album. It feels like a funk jam session from the multitalented artist that still manages to not get stuck in one genre or one era. In other words, the project goes from mood to mood and vibe to vibe effortlessly, creating something that, like the HOUSE EP, is seemingly timeless and timely at the same time.
DIE-REK – “Wheel Back Come Again” (Visuals)
“WBCA” dropped initially about two months ago during Volume 20 of Quickies. Almost 20 volumes later, we get the visuals for the song. The visuals are just as strong as the song itself, so (considering how much I liked the song) I’m here for the visuals as well.
I like the video and its presentation of Black love, Black family life and just Blackness as a whole. On top of that, the song’s boombap vibe and love of all things boombap show up pretty strongly here as well. I also love the visuals’ use of blue hues and sun-kissed cityscapes. It makes for a warm representation of the idea “I can’t stop doing this even if I wanted to.” If this is what we’re getting thus far from DIE-REK, I’m looking forward to what else comes for the Canadian lyricist in the months to come in 2022.
Hope you add these to your playlists, be they on Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube, and support dope music in all its forms.