We bring you another round of sounds with a vast array of flavour in the bag. This week’s 5 for Friday includes cuts that will take you back to the sunny shores of the beach, while others will invite you to sit back and think. Some homegrown sounds from the likes of Benjiflow and Fred Fredas who return with visuals to match their art. Before we get into it, we’d like to pay tribute to Philly rapper Chynna, and to everyone else dealing with loss over this hectic period. Here’s to brighter days ahead and the strength to muscle through all the madness.
BenjiFlow – Wonder Girl
One can probably sum up Benjiflow as a well-rounded musician in this digital era ran by Fruity Loops and Logic Pro merchants. On ‘Wonder Girl’, from his recently released EP Benergy, the R&B stalwart blends sounds together like a bouquet of flowers. A befitting salute to a special women, Benjiflow arrives at a treasure that happens to be the eighth wonder of the world.
At the alarming rate love songs fly out in the industry, you’d be sane to think love would’ve lost its novelty. A writer can pen as many love songs as possible, however, there could never be one too many. The road from his humble beginnings as a producer to a full-fledged artist has led up to this moment in which Benjiflow journey is almost full circle. Linking up with Ademola Falomo, ‘Wonder Girl’ finds Benjiflow in Nigeria experimenting with tropical sonics from the other side of the equator. Palm wine grooves and a ravishing horn section ally in this sweeping ode.
Smino – Reverend
With all the fanfare around hip-hip culture, a boiling pot of art characterised by competition amongst rappers. The ol’ brag and boast is a staple in the game, bar the first day out rap songs etched in the genre’s canon. On ‘Reverend’, Smino’s smugly boasts about his triumphs, “Just did 50,000 tickets worldwide, he mentions in this glorious post-match spiel.
‘Reverend’ works as a fitting title for the St. Louis upstart on his grand rise to the top. Smino hops on the bounce of Prodxvzn and Manso beat in which a splurge of bass links in with choppy drum beats. He cuts through a slippery sung hook and lands at a proverbial end without overly preaching. Switching between flows like a gearstick, he runs a thousand laps over the dusty peals in the fore. Out in South Africa, Smino links up with director Topshotta to deliver a geographic visual for his fans.
TOBi – Growth
“I call this shit post-traumatic growth,” proclaims TOBi, the Toronto-based artist by way of Lagos. ‘Growth’ which forms the title of this release finds the rapper traverse rhythm and tone, touching on matters related to masculinity in all of its forms. The spiritous word smith and midnight crooner, TOBi dissects a behaviour misunderstood by many in under 3 minutes.
Almost a year on from its release, ‘Growth’ receives a visual treatment with a black-and-white piece etched with sketches from Basquiat’s diary. Propelling emotion on the stark tones of piano keys and a slow-burn of violin strings, the production splits into a gospel excursion as the wordsmith lets his words bleed. The pressure is a common foe which he rises up against on this near-poignant offering in which he masks the remedy as candy for listeners to gobble up.
Ebenezer – Mariachi Flow
Breaking into the second saga of Bad Romantic, the North-London singer is amongst the brand of singers rewiring the beloved R&B genre. In contrast to the new-era of singers, Ebenezer is a lively personality whose energy spills into ‘Mariachi Flow,’ a teaser for his next project ‘Bad Romantic II’.
The tinge of an American accent left a bitter taste on the tongue of rappers who spewed foreign cadence in the early 2000s. Although the taste has yet to wither away, it’s out in the open on this racy offering from the cognisant singer. It merges the valiant trumpets lifted from the helms of a Mariachi band. The horns crescendo against the propulsive thump of trap drums and clattering claps. As the rising singer warms us up ahead of the his next drop, whether it’s what the scene needs we will be sure to find out shortly.
Fred Fredas – Never Lose
Following up from his last release of ‘Cameras,’ Fred Fredas returns with his unique blend of philosophy and rap with ‘Never Lose.’ A loose single stamped with a bubbling production style and introspection for the keen listener. Fear doesn’t discriminate as many would know, but Fredas battles it out in this cinematic piece.
The offbeat handiwork of Alistair plays tricks on the mind with an obscure loop unraveling in the works. Fred Fredas sermon plays in tangent with cogent bass booms, where his thoughts take form on wax as his laments on an inner battle. The fear of stagnation is gripping, but the race towards your dreams is one that would require a great amount of stamina. “I’m suffocating to breathe, I’m trying to chase these dreams second”, Fredas confesses, intently. The authority behind his art, Fredas directs ‘Never Lose’ which finds him on the receiving end of the scripture. With footage of Black-and-white scenes between a preacher and a dancer prancing to the keys on the outro.