Does it feel like Friday took a while to come around this week? Another week that showed us the painful realities of capitalism, with people taking cheap vacations (or whatever it was Frank Ocean said) longing for a sense of normality. Turns out this is the last Friday (for now) that we will be in lockdown restrictions. With that in mind, let myself and Damola send you on your way to enjoying the weekend, with our latest mash up of our favourites in this week’s 5 For Friday. Whether we’re tripping with Vince Staples in Long Beach, or in Leicester doing it for the ladies like Mahalia, we’ve got something for the vibes. Dig in.
Vince Staples – TAKING TRIPS
The languid lyricist from Long Beach, California is back with his self-titled fourth project. Artists only drop self-titled LP’s at two points: at their Genesis when announcing themselves to the world or once they’ve reached a point of calm, a place where they strip the music down. That is kind of what’s happened here. Solely produced by the famed chameleon of a producer Kenny Beats, the album comes in at a brisk 22 minutes. That doesn’t make it light at all. ‘TAKING TRIPS’ is a bouncy, atmospheric number – one you could drive around your city to or play at the function. This is the interesting duality of Vince Staples. He doesn’t make club bangers. But, his delivery is so malleable it can work on a club banger (see ‘Big Fish’ or ‘Norf Norf’). ‘TAKING TRIPS’ shows Kenny Beats at his very best – using whimsical samples, and making it work in the context of the artist he’s producing for. Vince Staples is very proudly from LA. On ‘Norf Norf’, Vince coolly states that “Nate Dogg still here ’cause of n*ggas like me” – I can only imagine how Nate would float on the loops Kenny creates (RIP the hook king). That’s why this link up works so well. Vince takes his work seriously. And Kenny looks to create authentically to the artist’s world. I hope these two keep collaborating.
ENNY – Under 25
ENNY’s had an incredible 12 months. Since the release of her breakout single ‘Peng Black Girls’ and its subsequent remix featuring Jorja Smith, it’s been a steady incline for the East London artist. On the titular title from her first EP Under 25 – ENNY does what she does best. She raps. But she raps from a place that, these days, isn’t so popular. She raps from the vignettes of childhood, from growing up in the city, attending hall parties, inspired by the 90’s but always with a sharp perspective on what’s happening right now. London hasn’t had an MC like ENNY in a while.
She reminds me of early career ‘1980’ era Estelle, before she moved to the US where she was more appreciated. I don’t think ENNY will have the same issue with appreciation in her hometown, the culture has moved on enough for a talent like ENNY to be appreciated properly, which is bittersweet when you hear about some of the mad talented female acts who struggled to get support in the UK. But, in ENNY, you see a student, an artist who knows who came before her, who respects the work they did so she could carry the torch. ENNY’s got the fire burning.
Blxst x Bino Rideaux – One Of Them Ones
Two of LA’s finest upcoming talents in Blxst and Bino Rideaux link up once again to give their audience a taste of what LA feels like, while melodically dropping scriptures on our heads. Back in 2019, they combined to give us Sixtape – a six track EP that combined their sing-rapped melodies over the former’s signature production style. This time around, they’ve literally doubled down to drop a 12-track sequel in Sixtape 2 – which features the tandem going back to back on a series of bangers.
One in question, is lead single ‘One Of Them Ones’, a Blxst produced record led with hypnotic guitar strings and a light percussion that mesh to create a vibe that feels reminiscent of the G-funk era. Both artists reflect on their come up, touching on the doubt that comes with the lofty ambitions of a creative. The Blu directed visuals depict Blxst and Bino as high rollers, shooting dice in a casino. This is one for the cookouts, or open top coupes if the weather doesn’t fail us. Sixtape 2 is out now.
Syd – Fast Car
The Internet frontwoman Syd is heralded as a singer-songwriter and producer, unapologetically living in her pride as she contributes to representing the black girls that see themselves in her. Her latest solo effort ‘Fast Car’ finds her floating over groove-heavy guitars, getting her sensual vocals off over pop-influenced production that makes one think of Prince or The-Dream’s late 00’s run. Troy Taylor, B.A.M. and Raymond Hinton are the production trifecta that allow Syd to get comfortable on her follow up to ‘Missing Out’ that dropped in February.
The Ethan Nelson and Graham Epstein directed video takes us on a journey with Syd and her lover as they go from a steamy drive in an open valley, to chasing the sunset in a fast card. Gorgeous visuals that brings wordplay such as “so take me there, I wanna ridе, I got you runnin’ lights, shiftin’ these gears of minе, yeah” to life, dropping innuendos with a touch of finesse. It’s been four years since Syd’s debut solo album, here’s hoping 2021 is her sophomore year.
Mahalia – Whenever You’re Ready
Leicester-born songstress Mahalia gets in on the New Music Friday fun with her follow up to February’s ‘Jealous’ that was assisted by Rico Nasty. Her latest single ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ has a familiarity that comes from its interpolation of a classic 90’s banger in Montell Jordan’s ‘Get It On Tonite’. Produced by Mack Jamieson and Two Inch Punch, the duo combine well to build on the nostalgia that comes from the sample. This one finds the 23-year-old calling her lover’s bluff after a demand for space rattles her. Not for long though, as the title suggests, Mahalia knows he’ll come back in due time.
With direction coming from The Rest, the video’s choreography, transitions and use of colour are reminiscent of a 90’s R&B video and is all about the ladies, as Mahalia is joined by three of her girls. Sweating her man after calling his bluff? Not likely!