I think it’s poetic that Volume 42 of Quickies drops on the day that Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball. Seventy-five years ago, Jackie Robinson became the first Black player in MLB and officially began the process to desegregate the league. As a celebration, I’m personally going to an Orioles game against the Yankees tonight and, of course, writing Quickies. I’m not Jackie Robinson levels of a game-changer. Honestly, who is these days? However, I like to think my coverage of indie acts helps get them more traction in the grand scheme of things. Let’s get Vol. 42 underway.
Aquakultre – “Don’t Trip”
I liked this one the first time I heard it because it reminds me of a mix between Slum Village, Musiq Soulchild and Silk Sonic. Heck, you can even throw Foreign Exchange in there for good measure. A positive song that mixes neo-soul feels and conscious rap vibes while showcasing Blackness and the whole nine? Sign me TF up. Plus, it also helps that Lance Sampson/Aquakultre can sing-sing and his harmonies are a thing of beauty. This is slated to be on the upcoming album of the same name. I’m curious how it’s going to turn out, but if it’s anything like this? It’ll definitely get a post over on SOTB.
888moment x SG SLAV – “Slavistan”
The first song off the @Gh0sts EP, “Slavistan” finds 888 and SLAV blending a lot of genres. It’s a mix of chiptune, EDM, house, trap and contemporary hip-hop sounds. And it works. Well, I might add. This is another banger from 888, who’s been on my radar for the last few months. It’s like a mix between Tyler the Creator and Skrillex back when he was big. I think that’s the best way to describe this one. It’s a genre-meshing bop that features some solid lyrical content as well.
Saif – “For Her”
A chill, breezy track about falling in love, Saif’s latest features David Miller and is, quite frankly, the type of song you’d play for your special someone when you realize they’re the one. I’m also a sucker for the sweet guitar licks throughout the track, as it adds an additional level of love and tenderness to the song. I also like the blend between R&B and lo-fi hip-hop on the production and the general feel of the song.
JP Rose x Kymara x Loraxx – “Link Hands (Time to Fight)
Equal parts protest song and soulful hip-hop, “Link Hands” is, essentially, what you’d get if you put Lupe Fiasco on a neo-soul beat. There’s a lot of real life subject matter on this track, while it’s also a smooth song you could play in a smoke session. I like this one because it speaks on modern society and the negatives–while also suggesting solutions. This comes back to the Lupe comparison for me because it’s something you’d expect Lu to do, either back in the day or in 2022. The vocals from Kymara help make the song’s message smoother to digest because she darts in and out on the hook and provides background vocals throughout the song. This one appears on Rose’s Lo-Soul project, which can be streamed here.
HAWA B – “Hold On”
Another alt-R&B sort of track, “Hold On” finds the Canadian songstress blending jazz, alt rock and R&B. She does so to create a song about nostalgia and holding on to the past–even if it doesn’t serve us as much anymore. The vocals here are impressive and the instrumentation is very engaging. In other words, you’ll have a hard time passing this one on a playlist. I love the way everything coalesces towards the end and we get this beautiful buildup to lead to the closing of the song with HAWA’s vocals over a twinkling piano solo.
Aria Milani – “Gotta Say Bye/I’m So Done”
17-year-old singer Aria Milani seems to be following the Alessia Cara model, in that she’s young but wise beyond her years. The song’s about a relationship that’s quickly deteriorating and the aftermath of these feelings. Sonically, Milani reminds me of a mix between H.E.R. and Summer Walker. Ultimately, the song is also about choosing oneself in the face of a breakup–especially if things are deteriorating and turning toxic. I empathize with this because we’re often blinded by nostalgia when it comes to relationships. Only when we look without the rose-colored shades can we see that some things are meant to come to an end.
Coldway – “Tu”
A soulful trip down smoker’s lane, “Tu” finds the singer/songwriter bouncing between neo-soul and funk. The end result is like a mix between Anderson.Paak and Lucky Daye with a bit of Ro James on “Permission.” I don’t even smoke and I’d consider lighting up to this one. That’s just how much of a vibe it is.
James Bailey x Rayven Justice – “Beverly”
Based off lived experiences, “Beverly” is a love song that also doubles as a heartbreak anthem. I’m in love with the laidback nature of the production and the lyrical content. It’s about a relationship that can’t work, for various reasons. It’s also about how Bailey and Justice try to not give a damn about the repercussions of the relationship being unsustainable. The duality of love is on full display here.
Dyme-A-Duzin x Don Mykel x Rome Streets x Daylyt x Stro – “Playas Only”
A smooth lyrically-deep song, “Playas” is one of those songs that you’d hear back in the day from a sound standpoint. However, it’s also something you’d hear right now. It’s topical without being overly critical and lyrical without sacrificing the bop factor. If you’re here for bars on top of bars that detail why you should hear more of these artists, check this one out. I love the beat especially, as it reminds me of something you’d hear Griselda artists rap over (which makes sense since Rome is a Griselda signee). Just turn it on and let the bars wash over you.
Anjali Asha – “Doomsday”
The title track from the album of the same name, Asha lets one thing be known. As she mentioned in the press release, “[one’s] lowest moment doesn’t define them; their reaction to it does.” Asha is a fighter and that is on full display on this one and the other tracks she’s dropped from the project thus far. I think this one may be my favorite of the singles because it’s got a lot of moving parts that work very well together to present a glass-half-full even in the face of the world turning crazy sort of energy.
Jay Isaiah x Roderick Porter – “Over U”
This one is a breakup anthem, plain and simple. And because it’s so plain and simple in its approach, we’re given a powerful song that finds Isaiah and his feature, Porter, getting over an ex that tried to take their energy. It’s a beautiful, affirmational sort of track that also is pretty warm and comforting. It helps the overall vibe of the song because it’s like “I know your pain. You’re not alone.”
Cyrnade – “Focused”
I got introduced to this track by the artist saying that “this sounds like early Weeknd meets 6LACK.” I think that’s an apt comparison because the “haunted strip club” vibes of the beat mesh well with the “I’m ready to give everything to this special someone” energies of the lyrics. It’s a helluva song that I can see being played when lovers connect or when your favorite dancer gets on stage and earns your attention. I like it, that’s for sure.
Tobi Adey – “Flame”
A song about Adey’s struggles with faith and how he’s now fortified his relationship with God, “Flame” is a powerful track. Sometimes, the best ways to discuss one’s religion and their point of view is to just let things flow. I’m not the most-religious in the traditional sense. However, I have a good relationship with God and thank the Most High for the chances I’ve been given to improve my life and the lives of others. I think that’s what Adey’s getting at as well. I like that it’s a great fusion between gospel and neo-soul as well. The rap verse at the end is also a high point of the track.
And on that note, I’m signing off for a bit. I do have other things going on besides SOTB, after all. Check these tracks out and support dope music in all its forms.