No introduction needed this time around, it’s just me this time as Damola chases the sun in Greece. Meanwhle in London, the sun has done it’s bit to brighten the day, as we get into this week’s 5 For Friday. Tap in, as we bring you an R&B heavy selection on the last Friday of September.
Saintè feat. A2 & Knucks – Summer Is Blue
In what is being dubbed as a link up of the underground ‘New Avengers’, this trifecta of Saintè, A2 and Knucks come together in a meeting of the minds on Saintè’s latest release. Titled ‘Summer Is Blue’, the up-tempo nature of this haunting instrumental allows the three artists – A2 and Knucks are both storied producers in their own right – to hone in on the rapping. And to great effect as they find distinct pockets to enter, each artist displaying dexterity with some light braggadocio to match. On the production side of things, we are treated to a co-production from three of the UK scene’s most talented emerging producers in Elevated (Giggs, Central Cee), Clonez (Sam Wise, A2) and Honeywood Six (K-Trap, M1llionz), who combine to create an instrumental that brings the best out of each artist. A loop of haunting synths, some infectious 808’s and the faintest cowbell are all that’s needed to set this blue summer.
With too many slick quotes that you could pull from this track, here’s a selection from each artist. While Saintè gives his girl props, “Your guy ain’t like me what a bummer / flex in blue, my girl in red / my bad man I think she’s a Gunner”, A2 hails up his team “Them Versus Us, that was the one / I got a squad full of troops / and I got a thot, she send me the drop before she send me the nudes” and Knucks talks down on his competition “how can they rate those yutes? / Spinning those same old tunes / it’s feeling like déjà vu. Take in the video below from this three-headed snake. Hopefully we see a full project from Saintè before the year is out.
reggie feat. Smino – Avalanche
5 For Friday debutant Reginald Helms Jr. pka reggie hails from Houston, Texas and carries a sound that is deep rooted in real life confessionals, which can be attributed to his upbringing in the church. Expression comes first to reggie and his delivery is sung-rapped, buttery in execution and infectiously suited to funk and soul tinged instrumentals. A bit like his featured guest on his latest drop, as ‘Avalanche’ links reggie with St. Louis slugger Smino, a collaboration that feels organic as their styles match. With production courtesy of Groove, Teej and Asa Davis, the two artists swap gorgeous melodies musing about the blessings in their lives that hold them down when the pressure rolls in like an avalanche. Hmm. reggie captures the mood in the last few bars of his first verse “I hope that God think ’bout me lettin’ me / fuck around and change my whole settin’ / that would be nothin’ short of a blessing / life been nothin’ short of a lesson” – a humble outlook on life if I ever saw one.
ILLMITEWORLD handles the visual direction, which is wholesome as it captures reggie in family settings – dominoes on the table, bench pressing in the garage, the sight of black people enjoying the sunshine in America. Check the video for ‘Avalanche’ out below.
SZA – The Anonymous Ones
While the world waits for a long-awaited follow up album to SZA’s stellar CTRL, she is still blessing us with new music here and there. ‘The Anonymous Ones’ is an intimate number that is taken from the original soundtrack from the upcoming teen coming-of-age film ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. With production from frequent collaborator Carter Lang and Rob Bisel, SZA is able to get her thoughts out on secrets and not wanting to be anonymous. The visuals depict her as an anonymous, navigating the world around her without being noticed at all… that is until she meets a teenage girl looks over at her with a gaze that lets Solana know her presence is felt. Given the early Rotten Tomato reviews on the movie which drops in the UK next month, the video to ‘The Anonymous Ones’ might just get better reviews. Yikes. 1,568 days without a new SZA project and counting.
Giveon – For Tonight
Rising R&B star Giveon has come into his own artist, and not just a voice for features, since his emergence on Drake’s ‘Chicago Freestyle’. Two EP’s later in Take Time and When It’s All Said and Done, and the Los Angeles County born singer is now ready to unleash his debut album. The first single taken from his upcoming debut is titled ‘For Tonight’ a heartfelt ballad that finds the 26-year old deep in the role of undercover lover. Blessing us with his baritone voice once again, he croons, “might just, might just throw away the reasons / why we both can’t lay here / and secret, secret, both gotta keep it”, letting us know the nature of this rendezvous. The song comes with production from Akeel, Jahaan Sweet and Sevn Thomas, ‘For Tonight’ plays like an ode to the forbidden fruit. The video captures Giveon in dark hues, capturing the dark and secretive nature of his secret love, hiding between the covers and taking shelter from the rain. A good look at things to come from his debut, coming soon.
Shakka feat. Tiana Major9 – Scuba Deep / A Pipe Dream
A true ambassador of Black British R&B, Shakka has enjoyed success as a singer, songwriter and producer for others as well as a solo artist. However, it has been without labels seeing what he could bring to the table in form of an album that demonstrates his roots, influences and identity as an artist. In his own words, it has been 10 years in the making, but he has finally released an album titled Road Trip To Venus. Clocking in at 19 songs and 54 minutes long, Shakka’s sound is consistent throughout the project and his vision is carried out with minimal but thoughtful features.
One of these features is a collaboration with East London songstress and R&B star Tiana Major9, who fits in seamlessly on a record called ‘Scuba Deep’. The slow jam comes in the first half of the album and features production from Jonah Christian, this is a welcome addition to the R&B lovers playlist. ‘A Pipe Dream’ perfectly describes the outro where Shakka is on the phone describing why going back to his ex s not in his plans. This is one of my favourite songs from Road Trip To Venus, but be sure to check out the experience that is Shakka’s debut album.