5 for Friday: Dutchavelli, Lord Apex, Giggs & More

This weeks 5 sees the release of Dutchavelli’s debut tape and one of its standout tracks ‘Kaka’, Lord Apex and V Don jump into the ring with lo-fi musings on ‘Life Goes On’. The legend, Giggs makes a surprise return assisted by the eternal wordsmith Dave to set out a stall and say: I’m back. North West’s finest producer JD. Reid links up with Biig Piig for a very soulful head bopper. Finally, Tomi Agape drops one for the lovers with ‘Better’. Lockdown Season 2 is here. Long. But – the high-quality releases keep rolling in – and choosing just five a week seems to get tougher every week. Not a bad problem to have, at all.

Dutchavelli – ‘Kaka’

Man of the moment Dutchavelli dropped his new tape ‘Dutch From The 5th’ last night. It’s all you expect. Dense beats, dark bars, the voice that sounds like Onyx from Pokemon and the stories that made Dutch the guy he is now. It wouldn’t be a drill album without a song with heavy reference to football. On ‘Kaka’ – it opens with high-strung guitar squeal – something you hear a lot of in Afrobeat and high life music – that might be Burna’s influence rubbing off on him. The heavy pianos and drums come in, then Dutch starts telling his story “I don’t wanna go prison / been there / I don’t wanna go back / I lost so much time to the system”. It’s mad to think Dutch spent six years in prison, and he’s made waves since his release in 2016. He’s not rueing his past, or wasting any time though “champagne for the pain, ain’t nothin but Don Perignon when I’m pissin”. It’s been a stellar year for him, Dutch grabbed 2020 and kicked it like Kaka, for real.

Lord Apex and V Don – LIFE GOES ON

The self-styled rap equivalent of David Attenborough, Lord Apex drops the lo-fi, wistful new cut ‘LIFE GOES ON’. As you can guess from the titles, Apex is deep in thought. He walks through cemeteries, contemplating life, smoking up “I swear I’m in a place / where the voices all drown out / depths in the water / consciousness tryna shout out”. He stands in front of a wall long painting, of red circles, reminiscent of Cy Twombly’s artwork. Though I’m not sure if Apex had Twombly as a reference for this song – the existential musings on it are certainly similar – as are the abstract expressions of lyricism. Apex’ style is somewhat a throwback in this era of trap and drill-infused beats. Apex’ brilliant consistency (produces up to 40 tracks a day) and homage to the golden age of hip-hop feels radical when considering the genre has changed in the last decade. Apex, like his idols, is bullish in his music. Long may it continue. 

Giggs ft Dave – Straight Murder

Giggs returns with a surprise mixtape ‘Now or Never’. Building off the synergy of Peligro on Giggs’ last tape, Hollowman and Dave link up with critical effect as expected. Like the title suggests, the agenda here is simply bars. Something Dave has long mastered. Dave sets the scene My Young G playing academy, great performance / he’ll do it like Trent and Kent, if them man lack then we’re taking corners”. The punchlines are brazy, effortlessly witty double entendres all over the gaff. Dave continuesThey see a Lambo in Vale, don’t know if it’s me or Pastor Tobi’ before reeling off Shotgun barrel, siamese twins / and we got that link from the Guyanese twins”. This is far from the subject matter that has garnered Dave critical acclaim over the years, this is just little kick about for him. But, his casual form is better than most on their best days – his ability is elastic like Neymar used to be. An endlessly evolving world-class talent with absolutely no ceiling in sight. Luckily though, it isn’t just cash that drives Dave. Giggs’ return shouldn’t be scoffed at either. Having taken a hiatus, the legend comes through with all the bass and grit that made him famous Private, talkin’ bred, that’s that language / Greazy, it is that era / Fuck bad news, quick, shoot the bearer”. Gyms are shut, you’ll want to add this track to your running playlists for those 5k’s.

JD. Reid ft Biig Piig – if love/213

Reid returns with a new tape, celebrating ends (NW stand up) – North West’s Finest. JD says Madlib inspired the tape, and you can hear that. Lush, soulful samples and strings create a rich soundscape throughout the tape. But on this track, Biig Piig’s gentle and soothing vocals work perfectly against JD’s backdrop. While the smooth chords progress, Biig Piig asks “if love is the answer” repeatedly, before letting her lover know “if you need me / I’ll be by your side”. She sings sweetly, clearly, invitingly. While the drums crash crisply in the background. This song is perfectly balanced, two artists who know where their strengths lie – playing to each others. This is how a great collaboration sounds. I need a JD. Reid x Biig Piig project ASAP. JD. chose to do something different with this release – dropping a 3o minute long short film for the music video, which includes segments for each artist, expressing the mood of each track. If love/213 starts at 22:05 minutes . Or you can listen here on Bandcamp.

Tomi Agape – Better

Singer-songwriter Tomi Agape’s latest cut ‘Better’ is sultry, rich and seductive. Produced by Juls, the beat has smooth amapiano hits for Tomi’s vocals to float alongside. The guitar is classic high-life though with Tomi’s Nigerian roots always taking centre in her music. She dances sensually on an iridescent background, while she speaks to a special somebody. Unafraid to declare what she wants, she tells us “Hennessey for starters / you know my mood”. Before diving into the science and discussing matters of chemistry that inspire acts of biology. The visuals match the mood of the song perfectly, starry filters are front and centre in each frame, as Tomi rolls through different layers of expression. Ahead of a new EP dropping in December, this is a vibe.