Seeing promotions for end of Summer parties when you consider that we never really had a summer is somewhat… deflating. Thankfully, Damola and I are on hand to soften the blow with our selection for this week’s 5 For Friday. So grab a drink, sync your speaker and get warmed up for the weekend’s festivities!
BenjiFlow – Go
North London based triple threat BenjiFlow has impressed since his debut project BENERGY arrived in Spring last year. Adept in his singing, songwriting and production, it is hard to place labels on his music as even terms such as ‘global’ and ‘progressive’ undersell his ability to get people moving. Whether his inspiration has come from the sounds of Africa, Latin America or even Western culture, Benji’s sound is infectious – and should come with a hazard warning stating ‘high chance of dancing’. His latest single ‘Go’ is evidence of that, his production on the song invokes feelings of Latin America with its uptempo percussion and sensual guitar strings.
Charlie Di Placio handles the visual direction of the video and whilst it’s premise is minimalistic, the vibe echoes the feeling that ‘Go’ gives. Flamboyant choreography, the glare of a bright spotlight, high energy. The sight of Benji in his red two-piece suit makes you think back to when Yeezy did it at the VMA’s. ‘Go’ is the first single taken from his upcoming EP The Thrill – and is dedicated to the memory of a late friend. Let’s see where the rest of the project will take us.
KAM-BU feat. Knucks – Call Me Back
Uncompromising in his approach and defiant in his ambitions to not be artistically pigeonholed, South West Londoner KAM-BU makes his presence felt with the release of his debut EP BLACK ON BLACK – a 10-track effort that shows his prowess. One of the standout tracks taken from the EP is ‘Call Me Back’, a high-octane collaboration that features Knucks, whose recent feature run is reminiscent of 6LACK’s. With co-production coming from Knucks himself, Venna (saxophone) and PULLEN, the two rappers go back-to-back with aggression and wit.
The dynamic, greyscale visuals are directed by Jay Green, with the director also responsible for the clean editing. It captures both rappers on the block, animated even when they are in a car being harassed by a police officer. If this is the energy that KAM-BU is debuting with, then he should be one to watch.
Jungle feat. Priya Ragu – Goodbye My Love
Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, known as Jungle, have been one of the UK’s finest electronic acts for a minute now. They started gaining popularity just after the post-dubstep wave of SBTRKT, Mount Kimbie and Four Tet had begun to veer off into a more tropical-lilted kind of electro pop – which was perfect timing for the funky, soulful feel of Jungle’s music to start making waves. They had massive Bee Gees-sounding hits like ‘Busy Earnin’, ‘The Heat’ and ‘Julia’ set pace for them, earning rave acclaim and spots on seemingly every TV advert for a while. As time has gone on, they’ve doubled down on their ideas, the big soundscapes are still there, but there’s a lighter ease in their waveforms now.
‘Goodbye My Love’ featuring Priya Ragu is an example of this. With a heavy Motown influence in the production, the feel of homage to their musical influences are clear, with them and Ragu’s sweet and deceptively powerful voice fusing beautifully. The song plays out like a flashback montage scene in a romcom, to a time when things were better, as they always tend to be with retrospect. As the song approaches its end, there are Beach Boys-esque guitar warbles and pitch changes that sprinkle a bit of oddity on it. Forming a hopeful crescendo of sorts, a reminder that what’s lost is never gone – so long as you can learn the lesson intended.
Sam Wise feat. Jesse James Solomon – Cheque Came
Sam Wise is preparing for a new era. With the rollout for his next big project Free Game – ‘Cheque Came’ is the second single from the hotly-anticipated project following ‘First Little Rollie’. With support from childhood friend and fellow South London stalwart, Jesse James Solomon, the song is one to zone out to as Joffstar shines on the production. It’s a celebratory sound, appreciative of the moment, but with an edge that suggests there’s an appetite for more – as happens whenever the cheques come. Wise floats on the beat with consummate ease as always. He’s one of the more versatile rappers in the UK and has been for a very long while since his emergence. The visuals flit in between scenes of everyday life – grabbing munch at the local cafe, entertaining women and making money, then into more abstract imagery – an older woman lighting candles at an altar, sweeping footage of London’s cityscapes. Wise has never struggled to execute a vision, and it looks like Free Game is about to be his biggest one yet.
NAYANA IZ – RANI
The London-based singer/rapper has come into her own with her eclectic brand of music, challenging the status quo in her own way. ‘RANI’ is her second release of the year and finds her stripping back her sound to a futuristic club-rap style. Where most rappers would shy away from leaning into the electronic realm with their sound, NAYANA IZ boldly immerses herself in it for desired effect. The track is titled after her mother, who she celebrates for her gentle but fiery nature. A track like this needs the right visual to complement it, and NAYANA displays the range of her talents with co-direction coming from her – blending VCR filters with night vision and experimental editing. Shot in Oaxaca, Mexico, the location gives her full reign to express herself in different settings. Look for more to come from this one.