This weeks five sees the return of indie/rap rockstar Master Peace reminiscing joyously over a lover who just left, the unearthing of new cross-cultural songstress, Priya Ragu and Ari Lennox blessing us on classic form with some sultry, dusk-till-dawn lovemaking rhythms. These five will have your weekend sorted proper.
Master Peace – PNE
London’s rap/indie rockstar is back again with another jam. On ‘Party Never Ends’, Peace is reminiscing on some good times with a lover. So good, that he never wants them to end. As you’d expect, there are melodic, hopeful riffs on-top of Peace’s distinctive drawl you’re more likely to hear on a Kooks song, rather than one expected from a 21-year-old black musician out of South London. But, that’s the beauty of Master Peace: he fearlessly fuses genres to create a sound that’s uniquely his own.
Equally inspired by classic R&B of Usher, Brandy, as well as the Arctic Monkeys, Peace’s rhythmic bounce and longing lyrics, merge the two worlds seamlessly. “Going down on the southside, me and you till the sunrise, if you were news you’d be headlines, cause you’re worth it” – these could be straight out of a 1975 lyrics book or from ‘My Way’-era Usher. In the visuals, Peace and his leading lady are swanning around a sea of colourful durags and stomping on clocks, lamenting the time they spend away from each other. Nobody ever wants the party to end.
Priya Ragu – Good Love 2.0
Tamil-Swiss artist, Priya Ragu’s music is a collage of all her cultural influences. Swiss-born from Tamil parents, Ragu was mentored by New York-based rapper Oddisee to refine her sound. On her debut release ‘Good Love 2.0’ all her talent is on show.
The smooth, airy, bouncy production offers the perfect soundscape for Ragu’s voice to shine. She flits between rhyme and verse, exiting the chorus to drop rhymes in a classic East Coast style that Oddissee would be proud of “oh my God / boy you got me in the coupe / bumping good love / oh my god”, before returning the sweet vocals. In the visuals, she shows her connection to her culture(s) by changing from western dress, into a traditional Tamil sari while the beat switches into a classic, native Sri Lankan-style with the drum patterns, flutes and vocal overlays – in a Timbaland-like manner. The song and video complement each other extremely well, showing off lush locales next to Ragu’s soft-yet-powerful voice. Keep an eye out for what she does next.
Ari Lennox – Chocolate Pomegranate
Songstress Ari Lennox has returned off the back of her amazing debut album ‘Shea Butter Baby’ and the Dreamville collab album with more bedroom-inspiring vocals. On ‘Chocolate Pomegranate’ Lennox is using chocolate, an aphrodisiac, to entice some action.
The space-age, afro-futurist synths, underscored by an anticipatory drum pattern and baseline fuse for Ari to tempt her lover, and lovers all over, into taking a bite of the chocolate pomegranate. Ari’s sexy proclamations set the mood “said kiss it for me, more on my mind / oh that I would like to explore this time…”. Ari has never been shy about what she wants and expects. That confidence, that belief is what makes her music so compelling. She is a classic songstress with a modern approach, bringing the best of both worlds forward. This right here is baby-making music. As is much of Ari’s music. It might be the catalyst for a number of new, joyous additions to families all over the world in nine months time.
Future Utopia ft Dave & ES Devlin – Children of The Internet
Under the pseudonym ‘Future Utopia’ Super-producer Fraser T Smith has linked up with Dave to release a rousing critique of the modern norms of digital interaction. Smith executive produced Stormzy’s debut album and has worked extensively with Kano and more in the UK music scene.
On ‘Children of The Internet’, the beat opens with strong piano work, almost gospel-style, before jigging into a sparse drum pattern while Dave muses over the dangers of modern technology “I grew up in a good but changing age / when the youth club was everybody’s favourite place / where if you spoke to a girl it was face-to-face” here Dave is both critiquing the government for the culling of youth clubs, while riffing on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, which, for all the convenience and efficiency, can never match the thrill that comes from meeting people in real life. Dave doubles down on this logic “Could you argue that it’s borderline dangerous to take a picture of a girl’s face and start changin’ it?”. Much is made of the changing beauty standards the internet has brought, many leading to dangerous fads and trends for young women. Dave finally rounds off with “Your software’s better and your phone knows everything If anything, it’s getting George Orwell-ian”. Dave is studious as ever, bringing in the oracle, Orwell, to tie up his worries about the big brother-ish world that we’re living in. This collaborative project from Smith is quite Gorillaz-esque in its subject matter and list of talent signed on for it. Off the back of this single, the full drop is looking good.
Midas The Jagaban – Party With A Jagaban
The latest in a longline of trailblazing new Nigerian talent, Midas The Jagaban’s second single ‘Party With A Jagaban’ offers up some infectious vibes.
The video opens with bikini-clad ladies frolicking in a pool, while the beat introduces itself with some regal, classic influences before breaking into a pulsating drum pattern and energetic bassline you’d expect to hear from a Nigerian artist in 2020. What Midas does differently is the world-building. She wears a bally, like a drill artist would, while twisting Meg Thee Stallions “classy, bouji, ratchet” trope into “classy, bouji, riffraff”. Midas is creating intrigue around herself as an artist, while the music is straight up energy. Midas says “the only thing I chase is paper // because I am a Jagaban”. In the same vein of Naira Marley, she wants to create her own devoted following of “Jagabans”. So long as she keeps providing these vibes, it won’t take long for her to achieve this.