The first week of lockdown easing. A return to some kind of normal life is on the horizon. Now with summer around the corner, artists are readying up the songs of triumph and the big return anthems. We’re still in Spring though, so it’s a mix of vibes in this week’s 5. Jords, Masego and Kadiata find a strong equilibrium on ‘Enemies’. IDK and Offset go back-to-back in the cinematic ‘SHOOT MY SHOT’. Anaiis delivers a simmering salvo in her first release of the year ‘juno’. Jesse James Solomon shows his potent storytelling ability with some help from his little sister Maya on ‘Didn’t Pass’. Finally, RV’s new self-titled LP drops, and he’s making some big declarations on it. ‘Drip Sensei’ featuring Frosty is one of them.
Jords, Masego & Kadiata – Enemies
This one here came out of the blue but soon as you hit play, it all makes sense. Each artist on this track is blessed with an acute sense of musicality. In an old school sense. So putting this together must’ve been a whole load of fun. Underscored by a funky house-inspired beat and bassline, this song never has an empty moment. Jords sets the scene with some light boasts “you ain’t got flow on a tune like me / Henry ting va va voom like me”, Masego joyfully dusts off the friends turned to foes, crooning “one time for my enemies…”. Before Kadiata rounds out the track “nowadays I don’t go raves / catch man in the ends with my aunties”. If Kadiata ever changes his mind, he’ll likely be hearing his bars played this summer. This collab was done over email like lots of music through the pandemic. But with the gifts these three possess, it sounds like they were chopping it up in the studio. Sincerely hope this isn’t the last time they connect.
IDK, Offset – SHOOT MY SHOT
When IDK was co-signed by Kanye West, upon releasing his 2019 album Is He Real? – of course, he had the internet running rings touting him as ‘the next up’. The direction of hip-hop has changed, and the current landscape doesn’t really allow for the musical monopolies of the past. Kendrick Lamar still remains the singular voice and presence in the current era. But Kendrick’s role isn’t a monopolistic one. He’s more of a spiritual figure in the game. This moment in hip-hop is kind of mimicking the state of play in the ’90s where there were so many acts you could just pick your style and listen to what suited you. This works for a guy like Jason Mills, aka IDK, who doesn’t want to create with the pressure of being a ‘saviour’. And this lack of responsibility for IDK is producing great music. ‘SHOOT MY SHOT’ shows him in razor-sharp form, propelled by some sparse, shrill, progressive-rock sounding loops (sounds like a sped-up version of Kanye’s ‘Send It Up’) he’s remembering the old days “When I used to shoot my shot, you a matrix / now you reappear but I hate tricks”. While enjoying his new circumstances (watch the video – directed by him). Offset jumps on the wave, practising his flows and taking some notes for Culture 3. IDK has always been known for taking chances, glad to see he hasn’t changed.
anaiis – juno
anaiis’ rich, classic voice cuts through the airwaves as soon as she starts singing. The camera moves with her and follows each of her subtle movements, giving her expression space to breathe. As the song progresses, the guitar’s kick in, reminiscent of Nostalgia, Ultra-era Frank Ocean. Without needing to be told this song is one of remembrance. Past times, places, selves. The visuals are directed by Julianknxx whose careful eye offers the right amount of room for anaiis to tell her story. Both the song and the visuals feel like a constant balancing act, anaiis is allowing the current moment to tell the story, not the past, where memories are rawer. And Juliankxx understands precisely how much information to give away and when to show the change anaiis has undergone. This is a salvo of subtlety. Watch the video til’ the very end.
Jesse James Solomon feat. Maya – Didn’t Pass
Jesse James Solomon is a rapper with a poet’s eye for detail. ‘Didn’t Pass’ is him in typically pensive form, listing off some things on his mind “I used to kick ball they said I didn’t pass…” is a very simple sentiment, but it’s loaded. It’s codified. Like a lot of his deliveries are. Solomon thrives in the half-spaces, the little pockets of space you find on the pitch, the places you either find a pass in or bet it all on yourself that you can find a way out. He speaks of “the cobras / the locusts / opponents try halting the progress / the process is flows and emotions…” His bars read like biblical vignettes, stories of high-rises, hailstones and hustlers, of mistrust and distance. He has that ability to sound both like a fly on the wall and a frontliner. Maya – his younger sister – provides gentle vocals that help see the song out and tie in it’s theme, “living in the city / we got the jeans they could never wear…”. On the track he says he’ll be “28 in 2024” – hopefully, we get a new LP before then.
RV feat. Frosty – Drip Sensei
RV’s latest project sees him put his considerable ability on centre-stage. Known as a good friend and frequent collaborator of Headie One, this self-titled cut doesn’t feature his boy. And it being self-titled is proof that RV is ready to start building his own legacy. On a bouncy drill beat with a ghostly, Far East-inspired loop, RV and Frosty trade tales as they stake claims for the title of ‘Drip Sensei’. RV leads the way “spent a thousand on belts cause I rate Chanel / made it out of the hood 17 on my back like Fabian Delph”. This wouldn’t be an RV tune without a strong football reference. Frosty jumps on “How man wanna talk about racks / when a whole stack don’t cover my rent / my old ting got a new back / now she tryna come back with a friend…”. These days, drip is more than clothes. It’s the lifestyle, the environments, the cuban links and Chanel brags aren’t cutting it in the scene any more. It’s a long way away from Avirex jackets and Nike 110’s now.