5 For Friday: Headie One, D Smoke, Little Simz & More

One of the big challenges plaguing creators alike is the pressure to create a horde of work in this climate. It’s tough cutting back and unwinding especially if it’s not what you’re used to, but if you ignore all the warning signs you’ll end up with an empty tank. Fortunately, for you, the music doesn’t stop so we’ve rounded up the latest sounds for your very own listening pleasure.

D Smoke & SiR – Lights On

As soon as you realise everything we do, as humans, is a means to an end is the same moment you taste freedom. On D Smoke’s ‘Lights On’, a collaboration from his debut ‘Black Habits’, featuring westside singer SiR on the cut and Insecure’s Issa Era on screen, he stumbles into this philosophy in a dog eat dog world.

In the midst of choas, D’Smoke’s lyrics fire with the heavy conviction of a double barrel shotgun. Switching between two characters like a cartoonist sketching a gripping tale, he raps: “like Pippen and Jordan… I ain’t falling but I’m ‘bout ready to empty all of my pockets; here with my accomplice. Girl, if you here for dollars, consider mission accomplished.” Silencing the hallowed croons and paving way for SiR to belch forth soft notes over tense mariachi sonics pumping with show-stopping production.

Bawo – You Get It

The night life comes with its habits and rituals, all for the sake of enjoying the few hours of fun. A crutch of some sort for the party people who indulge in something that brings them closer to the lofty heights of euphoria. Westbound rapper Bawo takes a trip down the rabbit hole on this shifty earshot.

Straightforward rhymes uttered blankly out the mouth of the ascetic rapper could fool you into thinking ‘You Get It’ is a party drug for the ravers. Far from a monk, it seems like his brand of escapism is found in the music which is smeared with delirious high-frequencies. Bawo is engulfed by stuttering drums whipped up on El Londo’s atmospheric production. A meditative number with some added bounce for the alt kids up in Dalston.

Little Simz – You Should Call Mum

Midway through April Little Simz used Instagram to announce the arrival of an incoming project. ‘Drop 6’, an offering preceded by a series of ‘Age 101’ EPs, was released on Wednesday and birthed through an internal conflict, under lockdown.

‘You Should Call Mum’ is built around a sparse soundscape tuned with live drums and brisk keys plummeting to a nothingness. Little Simz opens with relatable humour, conjuring images with allusions using lines like “jollof in the ice cream tub, that’s the af’ in me” before cracking on with a round of introspection. “If you see death as the next chapter, can you die twice?” she raps over grovelling bass. It illustrates the fine qualities of Simz as a rapper whose rhymes wrap our ears with southern comfort.

Chris Brown & Young Thug feat Major Nine – Trap Back

One of the surprisingly pleasant collaborations to emerge during this weird season comes from Chris Brown and Young Thug. The duo locked in and released ‘Slime & B’, a collaborative mixtape and mixed bag of trap crushed down into R&B.

Plastered on the animated cover of ‘Slime & B’ as blond mavens, Young Thug & Chris Brown perform a fusion dance on this trap hailing anthem. The trio crank out trap harmonies over flagrant bass and drum hits on the chorus like a choral ensemble providing late night entertainment at a function. The dopey production is shrouded under the influence of drugs which form the subject matter in which Chris Brown, Young Thug alongside Major Nine dabble in with a slice of sex and pleasure thrown in for good measure.

Headie One – Rose Gold

Headie One follows through with a brand new song, following his star-studded mixtape with experimental producer Fred Again, he goes back to basics and shares a sonic fit for drill purists.

If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. ‘Rose Gold’ finds Headie One upgrade his rap formula with luxurious lines which stand testament to his rise from the bottom of the barrel. With production from Ghosty, the score’s harsh texture works well with classy piano keys blending lightly against sacred wails. “From the bando with the white hairs like Sisqó, when I close my eyes at night I can still hear that Nokia ringtone,” Headie casually raps over the lively tempo. Pulling out tricks out of his crammed up bag, which is what you’d expect from the whiz himself.