Happy International I Guess I Lied Day. It’s cause for celebration because both True (with the “I made this in a day” Never Doubt God) and I dropped albums today. Plus, IGIL also doubles as my tenth-anniversary gift to you all who’ve followed SOTB since 2012. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since SOTB.com launched, but here we are. IGIL features some of the most-mainstream-friendly vibes you’ll ever get from me. So if you ever wanted me to sing, harmonize and talk about a beautiful woman (and not have it sound like a cry for help), IGIL is for you.
Oh, do you want something that doesn’t have my vocals on it? No biggie, we’ve got some Quickies to get through today as well. This is volume 49, so that means the first edition next week will mark 50 Quickies.
Bobby Mitchell is possibly the most-important number 49, especially if you’re a Washington Commanders fan. In 1962, Mitchell helped Washington’s football team become the last team to integrate by being the first of two Black players to play on the team (Leroy Jackson was the other). That achievement was set to go to Ernie Davis, but Davis’s draft rights were traded to the Browns for Mitchell and Jackson. Unfortunately, Davis never played a game in the NFL at all; he passed away from leukemia in 1963. Mitchell would go on to set records for the then-R**skins and work in the front office for over 30 years after his retirement in 1968. Mitchell’s impact on the field was matched by his impact off it.
I say all this to say that today’s Quickies are less about just music and more about their importance to the artists in question.
Spaceman Dela – “Be You”
Montreal artist Spaceman Dela hit my line with “Be You” this week. I enjoyed it because, while it sounds mainstream in its approach, you can’t deny it’s a feelgood anthem about self-acceptance and growth. This affirmation-in-song-form is the first single from Spaceman’s Nobody Teaches You to Come Down EP and, based off this? I’m looking forward to it. That’s because the production is solid and the life lessons imparted are valuable and beautiful. Plus, the song’s a bop. Don’t try to be anyone else, just be you.
Leah Harris – “Shine”
A song about those who strive to get theirs in nontraditional ways (read: creatives), “Shine” is one of those cuts that’ll leave you ready to face whatever comes your way on your journey. As a fellow creative, I love the inspirational vibe of “Shine” (especially with lines like “it can’t be too late for you to shine”). The sound of this one’s got a Motown-sort of feel to it, mixed with a bit of pop sensibility. Add that to the storytelling elements Harris employs here and you’re, like Spaceman’s song above, given a motivational bop. Don’t let anything snuff your fire to be your best.
Jozem – “Foreign”
Jozem’s voice is the strongest part of “Foreign,” which says a lot because the songwriting, the production and everything else’s pretty strong too. If you like this one, check out his it came to me in a dream project, which dropped today. It continues the vulnerability that this song features while also presenting more of his story for the world to see and absorb.
Jose Conde – “Fallen From Eternity”
Global pop artist Jose Conde’s “Fallen from Eternity” is a bit melancholic in its approach (it’s about an angel of sorts who isn’t meant for this world and a mortal man), but still features a lot of hopeful elements. The instrumentation here is the strong suit, which, like Jozem’s song above, says a lot about everything else being solid as well. Conde’s cut appears on his Souls Alive in the 305 album, which blends existentialism, his life as a Cuban-American, somewhat absurdism and just good vibes.
Aloe Blacc – “Mercy (Godfather Mix)”
Aloe Blacc is a legend. There’s literally nothing I can say here that’ll make you not want to check this one. It’s lyrical AF, the beat samples The Godfather‘s love theme to create a boombap storyboard to interpret the plight of the Corleone family, and Aloe Blacc sings and raps here. I love the visuals, especially because they pretty much tells their own version of the Godfather story to help build up the lyrics even more. Plus, I’m a sucker for an “a man and his mic” visuals because they’ve got that sort of old-school vibe that’ll grab you and never let you go. I hope this isn’t the only musical interpretation we get of The Godfather during the 50th anniversary of the first film’s release.
Mellay – “Nothing”
I like this song because it’s about saying “damn the naysayers” and achieving your goals, regardless of how crazy they may seem to others. Plus, the production’s dreamy but reminds me of something you’d hear Curren$y and Mac Miller on. Think a more-upbeat “Money Shot” on the production side, in some ways, with lyrics about keeping the naysayers and never-wills way away from you. Keep your dreams alive and never let anyone tell you you’re not able to accomplish them.
FenixDion – “Sugar”
This one’s another “it’s deeper than the song title’d let you think” sort of track. “Sugar” finds the group FenixDion singing about the “aspiration to break the chain of violence and self-destruction” that resides in generations upon generation’s of bandmember Keston Wright’s family tree. It’s less about the man Wright feared of becoming and more about the man he is becoming, mainly due to his own drive and perseverance. Sonically, it’s got a funk-jam band sort of vibe to it with a heavy dose of introspective lyricism.
Harry Jay – “Bad Guy”
This one’s about a toxic relationship Jay once found himself in. It was one of those relationships where he was always painted as the bad guy because he was the one who walked away. The lyrics focus on ending the relationship because it no longer serves him and he finds solace in the following idea: “no matter what, you’ll always be someone’s bad guy.” It’s how you deal with that and keep making yourself better (even when people call you the bad guy for not turning a blind eye to negativity) that matters. If you’re in a toxic relationship, I hope a song like this is something that’ll help you make your own decision to walk away. It’s not worth it, trust me.
Ello.C and Dxvndre – “Mirrors”
A song about how music “has impacted [the artists’] journey to higher self-awareness,” “Mirrors” is a song that deals with trying to become a better self while also realizing that we both neither have every answer at once nor are we perfect (even if we’re made in God’s image). Sonically, this one reminds me of some old-school boombap (so I’m definitely here for that aspect of it). The chorus poses a question: “are you your best friend or worst enemy” and says that it’s okay to feel either one–as long as you don’t continuously be your own worst enemy.
Wenzel BLK – Crooked Talk EP
Plain and simple, I like this EP because it reminds me of hip-hop I’d hear in my teenaged years. It’s lyrical, abrasive and crunchy. Nothing about it’s pretty or overproduced, instead opting to just give us bars about dark things, fighting friends who’ll stomp out the opposition and tricky folks. Sonically, it reminds me of a mix between Joey Bada$$, Tyler and a bit of Lil’ Scrappy. In other words, if you like your boombap with a Southern crunk feel? This one’s for you, for sure.
The CB3 – “Lost and Looking”
A song about learning to let go and “just let [things] happen” as a dreamer, The CB3’s “Lost and Looking” reminds me of a mix between Blu and The Pharcyde. This is a remix of a song from 2017 but it feels and sounds brand-new. It’s kind of also a bit about the growth we all go through as artists–and people and trying to figure out what’s our path in life. As someone who’s still young(ish), I’m not that far removed from my early-day dreaming so I empathize. Plus, the funk-soul production is a thing of beauty.
Kashi Sankara – “That’s What I’ma Do”
This one is, plain and simple, a blazing track about keeping on one’s path to greatness. Kashi’s rapid-fire delivery grabs you and says “listen to my life lessons so you can also achieve greatness.”
IAMSUUBI – “Got Me Trippin'”
Something about this one reminds me of a mix between “Poetic Justice” and Call Me If You Get Lost. Considering those are, respectively, some of my favorite Kendrick and Tyler moments, this one’s a must-listen. It also helps that it reminds me of some Melodic Sphere stuff from DAR Elite. If you’re here for smooth soulful production and sensual melodies, “Got Me Trippin'” should be one of those songs you turn on for your lover this weekend and, maybe just maybe, kiss up on them.
Kid Travis – “My Luv”
Another week, another smooth pop-R&B blend from Kid Travis. This one’s kind of more in the Bieber-meets-Swae Lee wheelhouse than I’ve heard Travis before. However, it works and works well–especially because of his vocals and the lyrics providing some life lessons while also just being melodically sound. I’ve been feeling the releases Travis has been putting out in preparation for his Sunset Ave album, which is due out June 17th. I’ll be sure to check that one out for sure.
Sara Diamond – “Happy With Me”
A song about breaking up with someone and realizing they’ll be messed up and sad without you, this “cheeky” breakup song channels emotions from Sara’s own breakup. I also love the visuals, which evoke Alice in Wonderland in some ways. Co-written with Sara’s frequent collaborator Tally Margulies, “Happy” takes some of the bitterness one may feel after being broken up with, flips it on its head and says “screw it, I’ll be fine–even when my ex inevitably moves on.”
Tay Simms – “I Want You”
I always love double entendres. Tay Simms’ “I Want You” is one giant double entendre, as it’s both a love song and a breakup anthem. I love the layered vocals, which help hammer the point Simms is trying to make home. Sonically, it reminds me of a mix between Chris Brown and The Weeknd (especially with the falsettos).
LuvJovi – “Unique”
A bit more mainstream-rap than I typically post about, there’s just something about the Thugger-esque vibe LuvJovi provides on “Unique.” It could be the syrupy production that helps elevate the Autotuned vocals. It could just be that it is, like the title suggests, rather unique in its approach. Whatever the reason, it’s a solid song, one that gets the SOTBMusic stamp of approval.
And on that note, I’m out. I may be back tomorrow. If not, digest these songs and support dope music in all its forms.