We’re (finally) at the Ray Lewis edition of Quickies. This volume will be quick-hitting, but hopefully leave a mark on your earholes. Check out the artists I list below and support dope music in all its forms.
Zack Limitless and Datin – “Work in Progress”
I especially like this song because it’s got a thumping beat, some Christian overtones and an overall message of “we’ve just got to take things one day at a time and become better and better because of God’s grace.” It helps that it’s a banger, but it’s really because of the message that I’m posting about this one. We need more Jesus in our lives. Yes, I know that I say that even though some of the songs I write about are more on the secular side of things.
Ro-Thoro – “Team Up”
I like this song because it reminds me of a mix of Jay-Z, Rick Ross and a bit of Freeway. The beat is especially a fire component, because it allows Thoro to float and just speak on his growth and his want to unify with people who think like him. Check it out.
Guy Hurd and Lil Avo – “The End”
Everyone’s been at the end of a relationship/the end of an era. I think that this song captures that feeling, the hope and the fears and how they both swirl around you. I like Hurd’s vocals on this song as well, because they kind of remind me of a mix between Bryson Tiller and The Weeknd.
Tommy Danger – “Clout Chasin'”
I love the beat and the flow here. I also love the message, which has lines like “viral don’t make a hit” and “ain’t no shortcuts.” I like the framing of the song as well; it features a big brother talking to his sibling and putting him up on game.
Jacob Koopman – “from tonight until eternity”
Sonically, this one reminds me of a mix between Ed Sheeran and Miguel. It’s an odd mix on paper, but hearing “from tonight,” you’ll get how it makes sense. Plus, I love songs that are love songs that speak on the realities of love (that sometimes, you’re left hoping things stay the way they are until death–even if they don’t turn out that way).
Ridge Long – “When To Say When”
The beat grabbed me on this one. What kept me was the gritty realism Long, a Maryland native, spits on this song. We’ve all been there, at our brink. What keeps us going is that we don’t want to go back to how we once were. This song is the epitome of “be true to yourself and the greatness will come.” I like the visuals as well, as they feature Long speaking to what seems like a younger version of himself to let him know that things’ll get better–even if they seem pretty crappy in the (then)present.
Don Kody – “Amp Synapse”
An instrumental offering, I enjoyed the way that the track makes you nod your head. I also love that it makes me think. It also makes me want to rap over it, so you know that’s a plus for me as an artist. If your instrumental offerings can move me to write a few bars down, you’ve touched me (take note, instrumentalists who want to be featured on SOTB).
koapaka aki – “no one fkn cares!”
I bounced back and forth on this one, ultimately opting to include it in this volume of Quickies because it’s frantic and angry, but still manages to hit you in the feels. It’s in the “Forget You” vein, but less about the guy who chose to take up the mantle of an ex’s boyfriend and more about the actual ex and how they’re petty AF. koapaka is only 17 and I feel that works in his favor on “no one.”
888moment, Notorious Nick and Vice Blow – “How It Feels?”
It’s an 888moment song. Do you really need me to tell you why you should check this one out? Well, here goes. It’s like a mix of mosh music, YTK and drum and bass blended into one track that describes social anxiety through the eyes of an artist. Trust me, it’s one of those things that can be crippling (I’ve been there, specifically at my own album release party for Songs For 1) so I’m here for the nature of this song.
Joey Patches and The Jazztronauts – “M-64”
I love love love the psychedelic soul vibes of the production/instrumentation here. It adds to overall “I’m hot AF; lemme blow up like a bomb” flows and rhymes Patches spits. I also like that this one has enough funk and soul to it that it could be a daytime track or an audio trip for a late night. Plus, it’s 64 bars of references upon references.
pantology – “Circadian”
While I didn’t exactly want to write bars to this one, I did want to write a song about a distant lover who doesn’t want to let her guard down. The Brooklyn-based artist blends lo-fi rap, jazz and electronica to make a soundtrack for the daily grind (from sunup to sleepy time). The way that this one switches up as much as it does over 2:40 is astonishing to me.
Eph See and KAI – “P1NK”
The sound of this one kind of reminds me of Persona 4. Could be because it’s got a neo-muzak feel to it. Plus, it’s a vibe that’s about love, life and enjoying the moment. It’s “for all the lovers out there–but especially for the lovers unseen” like POC lovers “who dreamed of being seen in their favorite romcoms.”
Nina Grae – “Soul II Love”
A vibey track that reminds me of Mariah the Scientist with a bit of Ella Mai in there, “Soul II Love” is a sensual, booming homage to Grae’s lover and partner Whitney Mixter. Love is love, yes, but love is also kind and gentle and beautiful and effin’ amazing. Whomever you are, you deserve love (unless you actively try to deny others love) and you deserve to be loved. Let it be known that SOTBMusic supports dope music in all its forms, regardless of your orientation or beliefs (as long as you, you know, aren’t a pompous -ist/-phobic a-hole).
Se Young – “Twin Flame”
You miss Bryson Tiller and want some trapsoul-esque vibes? “Twin Flame” is for you. It’s like a mix between Tiller and Canadian R&B (think Weeknd, Majid Jordan, etc.). It calls out for love and also calls out to say “damn, this is an intoxicating sort of feeling that I can’t get enough of.”
Driftwood. – “Hold Onto Your Light”
I like the trip this one takes me on. It’s a mix of soul, R&B and electronic vibes. What makes this one especially cool is the visuals (below) as they help add to the story of the song.
i.amsolo – “Blame”
This one reminds me of Khalid in some ways mixed with some Drake/Weeknd vocals. That’s probably because the song itself is about “losing a relationship…and…pointing fingers trying to figure out who was the cause of the breakup.” I’ve been there. It’s not healthy, at all. The sooner you’re able to accept the end of a relationship and stop trying to pin it on this moment or that person, the happier everyone involved’ll be.
Ollie – “Home”
Another single from Even When I’m Happy I Listen to Sad Music, “Home” is one of those songs that talks about the past and how it can sometimes weigh on us–and how it can color our presents and futures. Ollie’s quickly becoming one of my favorite artists to hear from. So, yes, I’ll be featuring his album when it drops.
Jelly Crystal – “Lonely”
The focus track off Crystal’s ILY, “Lonely” is a trippy production, but one that hammers home the point that things can change in an instant. I also love the vocals and the guitars throughout the song. They add so many extra layers, including the chipmunked segments. Overall, if you like your R&B with a bit more of an alt-pop feel along the lines of an Arcade Fire, this one’s for you.
Alessiah – “Summer Feeling”
A bit more on the commercial side of things, I couldn’t resist her vocals. Why, you ask? Well, I like them because they sound so light and refreshing. It’s like a mix of Alessia Cara and Olivia Rodrigo. It’s poppy and a bit melancholy, but there’s also a bit of “things are going to be okay” within the nostalgic feelings throughout the song.
Karla Lee – “Gold”
The closing track of her EP project (below), “Gold” is refreshing in that it’s like other songs but not. She’s also a DIY artist, so I’m definitely here for it. Overall, her vocals are crisp and the subject matter is relatable. “Gold” itself sounds a bit like a mix between Aaliyah and Jhene Aiko with a bit of a Lana Del Rey sort of production.
Sugarcane – “Billie Bossa Nova (Cover)”
This one should be live on DSPs shortly. However, it’s something about the laidback, tropical vibes this cover has that grabbed me and said “Speed, listen and absorb this.” It’s an interesting cover of a Billie Eilish song.
Serena Kaos – “Shout”
“Shout” is one of those inspirational songs that “talks about overcoming hardship in life and becoming a better and happier self.” From the synopsis, it already sounds like something I’d like. Then the song actually hits and it’s a slow build to greatness and auditory goodness. Kind of like life itself, doncha think? Nothing good comes quickly, it’s all a steady process.
Amira B – “Lies”
Another track about walking away and saying enough is enough within a toxic relationship, I like the production here because it reminds me of a mid-2000s R&B track. I also just love the songwriting Amira exhibits here, as it truly does take listeners on a musical journey through her relationship and how she’s done.
Geminy – “Too Close”
We’ve all (probably) been there before: a situationship that becomes a one-sided relationship that’s destined to fail–and fail dramatically. I like the layered vocals and the harmonies, as they add to the dramatic element but also just show that the artist battled a lot of people to finally come to a conclusion, an “I’ve got to get out now before this kills me any further.”
Kahone Concept – “Amicably”
An artist who takes aesthetic inspiration from the 70s and retro-futurism, “Amicably” is one of those songs that speaks to how we can be on our BS and how it can ultimately change us for the better. The song stems from how Kahone “got dumped…played victim…[but really just] sucked as a boyfriend.” It’s privileged, sure. But it’s through that privilege that he could find out the truth about himself and learn to be better. THAT’S what privilege should force you to do, not abuse it like…some people do.
Lil Flower Nasti – “Sticky”
I like this one because it’s like an Amy Winehouse song meets “the world of celebrity is some smoke and mirrors BS.” Nasti’s vocals are beautiful and soulful. This one should definitely find itself in many a playlist because it’s got a bit of pop, a bit of an edge and a lot of soul.
Von.Go – “YC”
A tribute to Von.Go’s hometown of Yuba City, California, “YC” is full of grooves, but also has a lot of nostalgia to it. It also takes that nostalgia, grounds it and tries to say “nostalgia can be a lie; we remember the good parts and forget the craziness.” However, he still pays homage to his hometown, since it’s where he was born and raised. I get that and tried to do something similar throughout the Baltimore Commercial Break series of projects.
Monroe Jordan – “bound”
I like that this one’s honest about love. It’s usually not something we get over immediately, even when we say we’re fine. It’s one of those things that’ll sometimes come cross our minds. Usually, it does so in a way that shows that “being bound to someone [can feel] like a curse.”
King James III – “Mind Right”
This one sounds like something you’d hear from Curren$y mixed with a Jadakiss. There’s an elder statesman vibe to this, but there’s also a laidback “I’ll figure it out because I don’t have another option” sort of feel to this one. I appreciate it, especially the production. If I still smoked, I’d light one up and burn it slow to this track. That’s all I’ma say.
AGGY ALLY – “HBD 2 My Ex”
This is one way to make a debut, a fiery song about ALLY’s own relationships and struggles with mental health and sexuality. It’s got that alt-pop bite that I love so much these days and her vocals are airy, but have a lot of poignancy to them.
And on that note, I’m done. Hope you have a good weekend if I don’t post anything between now and Monday. Support dope music in all its forms. Eat drink and be merry and tip your bartenders (and dancers, if you’re in a booby bar)