5 For Friday: Snoh Aalegra, RIMON, Tyler, the Creator & More

As June approaches its end, the only consistency we’ve had is a steady stream of good music coming our way. It’s another B2B week – with myself, Damola and Associate Editor Sam plucking this week’s coldest drops into a playlist for your listening needs. Tyler, The Creator’s 6th LP Call Me If You Get Lost has been released, with a number of standout features, but it’s the return of Odd Future teammate Domo Genesis on ‘MANIFESTO’ that gets the pick. Crate-digging Australian producer Ta-ku makes a comeback with help from Masego and Wafia on ‘Wide Open’. The Eritrea-born, Amsterdam-raised and now London-based singer RIMON brings us ‘Feed Me’. Headie One’s aim is steady on his latest drop ‘Pound Signs’. And Snoh Aalegra will have you longing for someone you shouldn’t on ‘Lost You’.

Tyler, The Creator feat. Domo Genesis – MANIFESTO

Tyler, The Creator has come a long way from the enfant terrible he used to be. In many ways, he hasn’t changed. But – he’s become a lot more comfortable with himself – so the outrage, the outlandishness, the attention seeking has gone. He’s become more sage, more open, more honest. It has led him to become a GRAMMY-winning artist off the back of his efforts with IGOR. Now, with Call Me If You Get Lost it seems Mr Baudelaire (latest alter-ego transformation) has taken bits and pieces of all his other evolutions. The lyrical sharpness matches his WOLF era, the content touches on Flower Boy and it’s revelations and then the sonics are lush like we experienced on IGOR. On this track though, it’s straight bars! Tyler sounds a lot like MF DOOM on this specific track, the high-pitch church organ loop is straight out of Viktor Von Doom’s playbook – he’s abrasive like DOOM was too “I was canceled before canceled was with Twitter fingers (Haha) / Protestin’ outside my shows, I gave them the middle finger” – speaking about his past as a terrible teen.

Tyler is supported by the criminally underrated Domo Genesis, who, for me, is the third best rapper from Odd Future. The beat switches up into something darker for Domo, who relishes his moment “I’m tappin’ the matrix, I’m back and they hate it / I’m black and make ’em pay me capital statements, you dig?”. Tyler is at the point in his career where he can draft in whoever he wants to execute his vision. He wanted DJ Drama to tap into the legendary ‘Gangsta Grillz’ mixtape era of hip hop from the mid-2000’s. I’ve missed those ad-libs.

RIMON – Feed Me

The Eritrea-born, Amsterdam-bred and now London-based R&B singer follows up on her stellar audio-visual release, never learned to cope – with a song speaking to their whims and the control that technology has over society – all heightened by lockdown. The song is more about uncovering and revealing the relationship we have with technology – not berating it. Many artists go the heavy-handed route, looking at its impact from a quite binary point of view. But RIMON looks to break it down more objectively, looking at how exhausted people are by tech, but still wanting more – more devices, more connectivity, more of the latest thing. Overwhelmed but still unable to switch off. A modern catch 22. RIMON speaks about her phone as if it’s a person “in a room full of everyone / I know I can count on you” – it’s a simple but powerful message – everybody has seen somebody who’s in a packed room of people, glued to their phone. The sonics glitch and pulsate, balancing out RIMON’s unhurried storytelling. It comes together to make a point, not tell anybody off – that’s what eludes many when talking about technology. It isn’t going anywhere – we just need to learn how to live more healthily with it. Or not. Your choice.

Wafia, Ta-ku and Masego – Wide Open

Australian born, Iraqi-Syrian songstress Wafia links up with legendary producer Ta-ku and Masego for ‘Wide Open’. With a lush, dreamy soundscape, these are the pockets that Ta-ku thrives in. After taking a relative hiatus from music, it’s good to see the ‘When I Met You’ producer pick up the midi keyboard once again. Wafia floats on the sonics – her voice is bright and breezy – and she’s savvy enough to dial it down where necessary “I could’ve let this scar / make me cold / and unemotional / but I don’t want to…”. From here, the beat shifts, dropping into something more tropical sounding. Then, another surprise, Ta-ku – famed for his production skill begins to sing. Very well, too. The beat changes again into something quite 80’s sounding, dropping into ballad territory, at least in its sound. Ta-ku delivers his truth “I was hoping for a fight / wishing that you would just come down / and tell me that I’m right…”. All this before Masego ties the song up with some trademark smooth crooning. Each artist gets a moment to shine, each delivers something different. This is what a good collaboration looks like.

Headie One – Pound Signs

North London drill/rap titan Headie One is back with new material for the first time in four months since the deluxe release of chart-topping EDNA. ‘Pound Signs’ is a drill-tinged return to the sounds that his core fans are familiar with, courtesy of production by Likkle Dotz and Es. The tempo and clean 808 drum pattern is reminiscent of ‘Hear No Evil’ off EDNA – but on this one Headie juxtaposes a classic Bob Marley quote about richness in life with his own pursuit of money and it changing him. “Somebody on job could have got a facelift (One), ’cause the stupidity, and my label love the lucrative me, so next time I want ten milli, that’s a platinum pay cheque” is Edna’s son doing what he does best; balancing the old life with his new one.

The Daps directed visuals capture Headie in various settings trying to acquire the bag, ranging from a money truck robbery, a poker game, even a money laundering laundrette. At this point, it feels like Headie is in autopilot whenever he jumps on one of these polished drill beats.

Snoh Aalegra – Lost You

R&B songstress Snoh Aalegra had fans excited with her announcement of her upcoming album Temporary Highs in The Violet Skies, which is due in two weeks. So much so that even Vince Staple tweeted, telling people to get the candles ready. With anticipation high, it’s only right that she gives us a taste of what’s to come from her, in the form of its first single ‘Lost You’. Speaking on the tug of war that is losing a lover but always wanting them, Snoh floats on dreamy, contemporary production by No ID and Maneesh. Her vibe and tranquil delivery are reminiscent of the great Sade, but make no mistake, Snoh is right at home on this sound.

With I.P.W on direction, the visuals do a great job of giving us Snoh looks in several lenses. There’s something about Snoh in mirror images and her videos in general that screams art. Gorgeous backdrops and editing display the artist in her divine glory, as her words resonate with the touch of a sensitive soul who has felt a lot. July 9th can’t come soon enough.