Happy Friday! We made it. As you can tell, things have been busy for me on the non-SOTB front, which has limited the amount of content I’m pushing out. Remember, SOTB is run by one person and manned by about four or five of us creators, not including myself. The site, in some ways, is smol. Anywho, let’s get into the Horace Grant edition of Quickies (because I don’t really rock with Brian Urlacher that much).
Metri Christ – “Blue”
Metri Christ is like jonnychang in the sense that whenever he sends me something, I’m going to give it a listen. Though this one’s from his Before I Wake album, it’s good to revisit this one –especially because of the Kendrick vibes Metri gives us here. A song that speaks to those who’ve taken the high road, “Blue” gets pretty spiritual and religious over its three minutes. I’m here for it, mainly because I’ve had to take the high road on some foolishness over the past few years and months. It’s sometimes not as easy as people make it seem. That said, as long as you know that God’s got you in the end, taking that high road isn’t something that’ll be too hard to do.
Jon Hannz – “Venge”
A song about gaining knowledge through struggle and dealing with vengeance and respect issues, this is another one who speaks to my soul and the like. It’s a powerful song which features J Thurston and Lord Maze to speak on the idea of making the most out of effed-up situations involving people who take your kindness for weakness. I also love the production here, as it kind of reminds me of something you’d hear from a Maybach Music artist, minus the opulence, which is replaced by ramped-up retrospection.
Midnight.Blue – “Take the Time”
A different vibe than our first two Quickies, “Take the Time” is a soulful ride. Plain and simple, it evokes mental images of Maxwell and D’Angelo with Dilla production. In other words, it’s neo-soul-esque at its best. This is going to appear on the group’s debut album, Breathe, which is slated to drop in the summer. I feel that this will definitely be an album to check out because of the instrumentation here, the vocals–heck the whole shebang is awesome. If you want some neo-soul-esque vibes that pay homage to the legends and GOATs as much as they strive to create something new, this one’s for you. Check it out.
Jibba “The Gent” and Rico James – “Circular”
Lyrical hip-hop at its finest (meaning it blends melodic rap and boombap vibes together). That’s what you’re getting on “Circular,” the latest from the duo of Jibba and producer Rico James, which is slated to appear on their Kingmakers album. This is a nice lead-in for the album, to me, because it sets up the vibes that we’ll probably get from the project proper.
DSB Lair – “Ur Eyes”
An R&B/rap vibe in the vein of a “For Her” (sorry, had to), “Ur Eyes” is a smooth track that finds Lair speaking on the muse in his life. When you find a muse, you want to write your [butt] off about them. I’ve been there. Heck, I’m there right now. It’s a wonderful feeling–especially if the music is positive and full of good vibes. “Ur Eyes” is one of those songs. It’s laidback, but we see/hear why Lair loves this woman–and why she inspires him to write and rap about his feelings.
Floyd Fuji and Topaz – “Breadwinner”
A funky alt-pop vibe from Virginia native Floyd Fuji, “Breadwinner” is another rap/R&B offering, one that finds the duo here just speaking on the person they want to provide for. I love the energy on the track, especially the beat and the vocals. The bars are also refreshing, kind of like a Silk Sonic meets J. Cole sort of track. If you need a song that’s a throwback that also feels right here in 2022, this one’s a good listen. Heck, even if you just want a song that’s a throwback to older sounds, this one’s for you.
jonnychang – “Game”
Perhaps the most introspective song from chang’s The Weather Inside project, the visuals for “Game” find him alone a good chunk of the visuals, performing the song, possibly to represent that–at the end of the day–we’re born and die alone. What we do in the middle is important and helps shape the world around us and those around us. However, at the end of it all, we’re on our own–regardless of who we are. When the visuals switch scenes, we get a song that pays homage to those who’ve left chang’s life (and those who are still there that’ve helped shape his outlook) while also promoting a mindset that isn’t just hellbent on being number one and gaining a buttload of money. It’s a powerful visual, one that is less tongue-in-cheek than some of his others. It works–and well–to show the contrast and growth that chang’s been through throughout the project.
LiE – “Hurt or Heal”
“Hurt” is a song about a relationship that’s going toxic in some ways and positive in others. It’s a song that finds our narrator feeling “guilty about the hate [she] had growing for them,” even though the other person was negative at points. She’s just trying to either heal the relationship or be hurt to the point she can finally let them go. It’s a complex song with a lot of complex emotions within it. The teenage singer reminds me a bit of Billie Eilish, so if you’re a fan of her musings, you’ll probably rock with the Australian native.
Majken – “PETE”
A song that plays like a group of diary entries, Swedish singer Majken’s “PETE” is blunt and bold. It’s also one of those tracks that puts you into Majken’s mind and lets you know that she’s dealing with some foolishness. Most of this foolishness stems from this “PETE” and it colors her outlook on life. However, she’s trying to be better–even if Pete isn’t willing to be better. I love the breakdown at the end, as it’s soulful and a headnodder for sure. This one kind of reminds me of something you’d get from an Amy Winehouse.
Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff – “Reaching”
A low-tempo groove that also brings D’Angelo to mind, “Reaching” finds the Kentucky duo presenting a song for summer love. I love Otis’ vocals, as they’re so smooth and mesh well with the production (which reminds me of a neo-soul offering). The video (below) continues that smooth vibe we get throughout the rest of the song, and’s worth a watch if only to put images to the vocals. This song was originally (like the video) released six years ago as part of a vinyl-only compilation. Thankfully, they’re re-releasing it and making what was old new again.
Noiz Boyz – “If I Had You”
This is a love song, plain and simple. It reminds me of a Tyler track and it’s soulful. There’s really nothing else I could say to make you want to listen to this one besides it’s a sweet track that gets deep with its love–even if the love in question is one of those loves that has the group asking “what were we” to their (potentially now-ex) lover.
Stun – “Indigenous”
“Indigenous” is a powerful song, one that finds Stun embracing his indigenous roots, asking others to do the same and acting as a rebellion against the whitewashing of history and lives. I’m here for this because I’m here for marginalized groups speaking on their experiences and becoming more awakened within their histories. It’s a good thing, for sure, one that makes this song that much more potent. The production is a bit dreamy but also boombap-esque, which allows the message(s) to hit you that much harder. Most of us can empathize with the messages here, because we’ve been there (in one way or another), dealing with people trying to restructure history and the like. This one’s slated to appear on Stun’s Lifestylez of the Rich and Indigenous album which’ll drop later this year.
GR3G – “Wasted Talent”
This is a personal song in a slightly different vein than “Indigenous,” but one that’s just as hard-hitting. GR3G’s “Wasted Talent” finds the 21-year-old artist flowing about his life, his family, his city and more over a powerful, violin-driven production. He touches on everything from racism, gun violence and familial struggles in this track, one that features on his recently-released EP.
Mark Vasquez – “Star Shine Lover”
Mark Vasquez, like jonnychang and Metri Christ, gets a listen every time he sends new music my way. The former Rebellion’s “Star Shine Lover” talks about a love that was, in his words, “over before it started, like the light of a star.” The bittersweetness of this one mixed with the bluesy vocals, they create a song that pretty much tells you to enjoy what’s happening in the now–even if it’s doomed to end. I like this one for sure because of its melancholy approach to star-crossed lovers.
Ex-poets – “So Bad”
Featuring Felicia Douglass, this one reminds me of a Sade sort of song. It’s soulful, it’s retrospective, and it’s just a song with incredible vocals. This one is slated to appear on Ex-poets’ Dust album, which is due out in September. The tracks I’ve heard from the group thus far? They color this album as a wide-reaching project, one that will touch on a variety of subjects while being great in a musical sense.
Ash the Author and Ric Scales – “Wash”
A song that compares the wash cycle to life, this one’s an interesting listen, from the beat down to the lyricism. I like the alternative vibes we get on this track because it’s different than your usual “I’m better than you and you’re on that BS” sort of song. It’s a unique song, one that blends a storytelling vibe with an alternative energy.
JrocVA – “Think I’m in Love”
A song about a toxic relationship that ended badly–and the woman who helped JrocVA get over the bull–“Think I’m in Love” is one of those songs that questions the validity of PNC (if you know, you know) and poses the question: “can one really fall in love in a day.” While the song finds JrocVA also bouncing between “I think I’m in love” and “I know I’m in lust,” it’s an interesting look at rebounds and love at first touch.
Anastasia Felicity and Identificvtion – “Self-Reflection”
A song about trying to make the most of life, even when things aren’t spelled out in stone, “Self-Reflection” kind of reminds me of a DeJ Loaf sort of track (mainly because Anastasia can sing-rap and it sounds nice). Identificvtion’s verse adds a different vibe but also a different point of view to the concept. I
Charise Watson – “Live and Learn”
“Live and Learn” is kind of a throwback to R&B of old–but it sounds firmly planted in 2022. It’s one of those songs that’ll hit you in the face with its emotions and feelings, in a good way. Why? Well, if you’re out here and screwing around, songs like these make you second-guess your way of life and sometimes force you to reevaluate who you are and what you’re doing. Plus, Watson’s vocals are beautiful here, soulful and rich.
And on that note, I’m signing back off. Hopefully, I’ll be back on this weekend, but if not? Support dope music in all its forms and play these songs at the highest volume possible.