New month, same consistently fire releases from artists. The amount of quality music that has dropped this year is actually mad. Hopefully, in 2021, we get to hear this year’s highlights and more in live settings live. Now, this week’s 5 is a bit of a mix. We start with Enny linking up with Jorja Smith to sprinkle a bit of her magic on the already special ‘Peng Black Girls’. ItsNate, Airborn Gav and Deli Onefourz combine for the timeless-sounding ‘All In’. Lancey Foux delivers a new shift in his sound, on the spectral ‘Poison’. Abra Cadabra drops his long-awaited mixtape Product Of My Environment – featuring a whole load of heaters but the high-stakes production of ‘Keep Going’ is an early highlight. As with all quality projects though, that’ll inevitably change. Finally, Rasharn Powell’s smooth, soulful ‘Freedom’ wraps up this week’s selection. Read on as we bring the vibes through with #5ForFriday.
ENNY – Peng Black Girls Remix (feat. Jorja Smith)
2020 will be a year we remember for many things. The Black Lives Matter movement will be one of the most poignant things to draw from in particular. The sentiment isn’t new. Black lives have and always will matter. But, in the wake of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd’s untimely murders among many others, with the whole world at home, the stark reality of what merely existing as a black person can mean was there for everybody to see and digest. The renaissance of black liberation has been bubbling for years, with artists in the US taking the lead. But, in 2020 the UK stood up and grabbed the microphone. Enter: Enny. ‘Peng Black Girls’ is a fascinating track. As a young black man, who as a boy grew up inspired by the bars of Sway on ‘Little Derek’ and Bashy’s ‘Black Boys’ and even Nas’ ‘I Can’ which is in a similar mould, hearing Enny create a track like those ones, with its tones of empowerment, its relatability and wit for young Black British girls is very necessary. This track matters. Hopefully, it will have the same lasting appeal as the ones I grew up with.
ItsNate X Airborn Gav X Deli Onefourz – All In
Founder of SLOCAL and all-round creative, ItsNate connects with Airborn Gav and Deli Onefourz to drop the timeless sounding ‘All In’. The saxophone takes centre stage on this track, creating an airy, atmospheric soundscape for the artists to float on. And each one of them sounds like they’re levitating, ItsNate opens with “if I’m in the ends or the booth / that’s my element” – these are local declarations of place, but with the horns and drum pattern, it sounds more global – this is mob boss music, counting up the cash, next to your leading lady, looking out onto a tropical expanse. Airborn Gav flies into the track with some Friday night lights “what you saying, b? / if we’re getting liquor then it’s Hennessey / if not, spiced rum, lemon p / tell her we don’t need no chaser’’. This one is a mood-setter, for real.
Lancey Foux – Poison (feat. Bakar)
The shapeshifting Lancey Foux has landed on a new form in ‘Poison’ – quite literally. The cinematic visuals show an iridescent bug being played with on a beach by some alien-looking kids – that bug is meant to represent Lancey – signalling the evolution he’s made. Usually, his music is noisy and futuristic – and ‘Poison’ still is – but, his songwriting has changed. This sounds like a deconstructed, trap-inspired 80’s power ballad – something Prince might’ve gotten onto. Lancey speaks of “being no good / no good for anybody” with his trademark, skittish delivery. There’s purple used throughout the unique direction of the video, maybe inspired by HBO series Euphoria. With the drama conveyed in this song, it’s definitely similar. Bakar jumps on to see the track out, crooning about micro dosing as the video ends in the purple outer realms of space. The video is out of this world – literally. Lancey’s next drop is bound to be special.
Rasharn Powell – Freedom
Singer-songwriter Rasharn Powell’s ‘Freedom’ is a modern throwback. The tickly drum loop and neo-soul inspired bassline sounds like something peak Musiq Soulchild would get right into. Which I’m not at all mad about. He drifts between high-pitched proclamations and quieter speaking parts, which is in the mould of Frank Ocean’s kind of delivery. Powell cites Andre 3000 as a major reference for his music, this is evident in his spacy songwriting “Show you galaxies / only you can see”. Despite having clear reference points, Powell’s music still manages to sound fresh – a reader of classic literature and poetry before he started writing songs, and that influence comes across in the song’s structure and lyrical delivery. This is good stuff.
Abra Cadabra – Keep Going
OFB-affiliate Abra Cadabra returns with his new project to stake the claim of being one of the coldest out right now. Which is no mean feat, the UK drill scene is absolutely packed with top tier, inventive talent. But Abra has long carved out a lane for himself. His unique flow and dextrous storytelling ability make him a standout. On the gritty, but still jumpy ‘Keep Going’ Abra is reflecting the reality of his surroundings, but also reflecting the potential of those surroundings. What can happen for youngers if they commit to their talent and work hard – that’s the message he wants to get across. Hailing from Tottenham, Abra knows the roads are real. It’s why he and OFB donated all the money they made from their powerful single ‘BLM’ to local youth clubs. His environment made him who he is. Now he has a platform, he’s trying to make something better happen in his manor. Respect.