So, the weather has switched up on us and countless people have been drenched in this torrential rain – me included. But I refuse to let that put a dampener on what looks like a fantastic New Music Friday. With numerous releases from the UK to US that includes projects from the likes of Jordy, Zilo, H.E.R. and many more, Damola and I will take you on a ride in this week’s 5 For Friday. Another B2B clinic you say? I know that’s right! Lock in as we give you our best 5 tracks this week.
Isaiah Rashad – Headshots (4r da locals)
TDE’s prodigal son and child of The South, Isaiah Rashad, takes us to a familiar place with his second single taken from his hotly anticipated (understatement if I do say so myself) sophomore album The House Is Burning. Despite the gloomy weather we are experiencing, Zay gives his fans a tranquil, almost spiritual number to soothe the pain as he contemplates loss and change in his typically, visceral yet technically adept style. Lines such as “it feel good since a n*gga been back, but a n*gga done changed, changed, changed, changed, changed, weed couldn’t settle my fire, couldn’t cover my pain, pain, pain, pain, pain (Ah, yeah)” typify the open-book transparency that Isaiah has been giving us since just before the Cilvia Demo era. Titled ‘Headshots (4r da locals)’, is the second part of the ‘4r da’ series following 2016’s ‘4r Da Squaw’.
Produced by Henry Was and Hollywood Cole (‘Lay Wit Ya’), the chopped sample and country vibes supplement Zay’s pensive soul, almost reminiscent of a negro spiritual. Fans who frequent his IG Live will remember this one being reviewed on there two years ago – making this song a potential, early fan favourite, as well as Zay’s favourite as discussed on his recent Complex interview. Prepare your vice(s) of choice, lean back and let yourself unravel to the sounds of Chattanooga’s finest son. The House Is Burning is on the way, finally.
H.E.R. feat. Thundercat – Bloody Waters
Gabriella Wilson, better known to the world as H.E.R., has turned heads and impressed fans and critics alike since she came into the game with her contemporary sound and her silhouette that characterised her ‘anti-star’ stance. Her self-titled EP’s and I Used To Know Her series have cemented her place as one of the flagbearers for this new era of R&B. Four Grammy wins later, she has been building up to the release of her debut album, Back of My Mind, a 21-track offering that now formally introduces the world to H.E.R. the artist, under the traditional conventions of an album format. This is not to say that she hasn’t delivered album quality content to us consistently, but rather a nod to the way in which perception shapes how the modern artist sees their work.
An early standout to me is the Thundercat, KAYTRANADA and Gitty produced ‘Bloody Waters’, where she tackles the injustice and war that we see in this world. Aptly titled, she boldly states the truth that “war and love don’t combinе, destiny doesn’t roll the dice” as she reflects on the bloodshed and loss we’ve witnessed in recent years, without getting specific. With production from three established producers, the layered percussion and groove provided by the bass guitar, the sombre penmanship won’t be enough to prevent people from moving their feet to this one.
Kojey Radical – Woohaa
After providing assists to the likes of Shaé Universe, Future Utopia and Sons Of Kemet, one of the UK’s most distinctive voices in Kojey Radical has returned to remind people what type of time he’s on. Since the release of 2019’s well received Cashmere Tears, we have long been awaiting Kojey’s imminent debut album. Taking a moment from fatherhood and cooking up in the studio, Kojey has emerged with ‘2FS / Woohaa’ a quick A Side / B Side release to whet the appetite as he continues to work on the main course.
When the genre blending Kojey is solely rapping, he is one of the most ferocious and focused rappers from these shores. ‘Woohaa’ doubles down on this theory as he taps up The FaNaTiX to produce this fiery effort that is reminiscent of the energy that Busta Rhymes came with back in 1996 on ‘Woo Haa!! Got You All in Check’. However, this is much more than a subtle homage at a hip-hop icon, this is Kojey spilling gasoline and throwing a match down with no care for collateral. His quick-fire flow and lyrical energy are duly noted as we anticipate what more he has in store. Like he said, this is “hard food, not fast food”.
GoldLink feat. Fire! and Santigold – Wild and Lethal Trash
It’s been two years since GoldLink’s last album, the globe-spanning, stylistic mashup Diaspora. That album, thematically, was a lot clearer. The clue is in its name. But HARAM! is a lot harder to pin down. It too has the same energy of a sonic rollercoaster, that takes cues from London all the way to Japan. It kind of picks up where his single ‘DUNYA’ featuring LukeyWorld left off. Lots of bright sounds, skippity-rap flows, with the freshness of global sounds throughout. ‘Wild and Lethal Trash’ captures this energy expertly. Fire! sets the pace early on, while MIA-esque chiptunes and dial tones ring off, speaking about “big bankroll I was a mad yute / I don’t dance no shaku”. GoldLink hits classic form, reeling off lines about his come up, exes and life in general, all leading up for Santigold to take over the crescendo. At this point, the song sounds like the little mini game that comes after defeating the boss. You’ve worked through the hard part, now enjoy some light synths to help you decompress. The whole song sounds a bit like a deconstructed SNES game, but GoldLink, Fire! and Santigold combined well to keep it sounding and feeling cohesive. Banger.
Jordy – Therapist
Maybe in the wake of Dave’s stellar debut album Psychodrama which was structured as a session with his therapists, rappers are becoming more at ease with speaking about the professional help that they receive. On his debut album which clocks in at a svelte 7 tracks but is loaded with double-takes, ‘Therapist’ wraps up this sentiment best. A ruminative piano loop sets the scene – while Jordy says thank you to a person who’s helped him “I told my therapist about you / how you help me when I’m under the weather / I told her that you cried when you heard me on a track with Big Narstie / and always say that I’m gonna be something…”. He goes on to speak about “playing down my achievements / it’s just a problem of a skeptic, yeah….”. On the same LP, Jordy speaks about friends passing away, the chaos in ends, and the difficulty of wanting more while fearing leaving the manor that made him behind. These issues are faced by many people and rappers, too. But refreshing the thing about Jordy is, he’s not wrapped up in the facade of being a rapper, he’s just trying to be a person first.