Approaching the end of May, we all expected some sunshine by now but it hasn’t come as torrential rain is holding us back! On the upside, the music keeps flowing and inspiring us even when the weather won’t. In this week’s 5 For Friday, St Louis native Smino drops ‘Rice & Gravy’ featuring his classic rubberband flow, and some space-age production from frequent collaborator Monte Booker; Foushee amps up the anticipation for her upcoming album with a cover of Depeche Mode’s 1990’s hit song ‘Enjoy The Silence’. Up and coming rapper Clavish links up with TSB to deliver heat in ‘How It Goes’. New Def Jam 0207 signee Potter Payper celebrates the landmark with ‘Topshottas Freestyle’ and finally Sinead Harnett taps up Lucky Daye for some old-school duet energy with ‘Anymore’.
Smino – Rice and Gravy
Smino is a truly singular voice in modern rap. When you listen to his music, it’s hard to pin down an exact style. It’s completely his own. He delivers bars in breathless rhyme schemes that make you think of André 3000. Then, he weaves wizardly wordplay in a way that brings Lil Wayne to mind. All the while finding pockets to dip in and out of rapping and finding melodies – a bit like Young Thug. While never sounding like anybody other than… Smino.
It’s a credit to him that in an era when complaints are constantly rung off about everything sounding the same, that he continues to sound entirely fresh and unique with every new release. With some help from his go-to wunderkid beatsmith, Monte Booker, ‘Rice & Gravy’ is a homage to the women that made Smino the man he is today “Still look out for my sisters / They the one that put me on game, no rookie” while it could never be new Smi without a witty play on his name “Quentin Taran-Smino, blackjack, no casino”.
Foushée – Enjoy The Silence
The Harlem-based multi-instrumentalist has continued to drive intrigue since her breakout single ‘deep end’ which was released in 2020. Since then, she’s collaborated twice with Lil Wayne, most recently on ‘gold fronts’. While she prepares her hotly anticipated debut album, she’s covered a classic track by the iconic electronic group Depeche Mode. It’s one of those tracks you’ve heard hundreds of times on an advert in passing. Once you’ve heard the chorus, you remember.
What Foushée manages to do here is breathe life into a track mostly associated with commercials. Over a faster drum pattern than found in the original, the song has a greater pulse, while Foushee stretches the song into something different. Landing in different pockets, R&B-inspired harmonies underneath garage rock basslines. It still maintains all the melodrama of its iconic composition, but Foushée puts it back together in a new, inspired form.
Clavish – How It Goes
Having DMU alumni and storied UK producers TSB and FWDSLXSH (pronounced forward slash) on the buttons means you’re doing something right. It’s a sign of quality, and quality is what upstart Clavish has in spades. Coming up off viral fame these days doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the quality to build some longevity. He was spotted on a freestyle by Insta page ‘imjustbait’ and has been on the up from there.
In ‘How It Goes’ – his patient, considered deliveries take their time with a simple piano loop – to devastating effect – “Now I don’t drop game / these VV’s do the talking for me / see my old nitty / he said he missed talking to me / tell my darg hit me / I can you corners for cheap…”. The rhyme pattern is simple, but the content is loaded, feels something like a cross between his mentor Nines’ matter-of-fact way of storytelling, and Dave’s witty punchlines and double entendres. Clavish took a break for a minute, but it’s good he’s back. He’s got a very unique way of writing – there’s a lot more to come from him.
Potter Payper – Topshottas Freestyle
Fresh from signing with Def Jam’s new London-based imprint 0207, Potter continues his incredible rise. The self-proclaimed best rapper in the world actually has a point. ‘Training Day 3’ is one of the best rap releases you’ll find in the last 18 months, and with a guy like Potter, you know he has so many stories to tell, that consistency is never an issue.
On ‘Topshottas Freestyle’ though, Potter is simply sparring, he teases the release of his anticipated next album ‘Thanks For Waiting’ while parodying the traphouse realities of his old life – swapping bricks for CD’s. Potter’s ability to balance his new life with his old life is what makes his music so appealing “Streets tell me I’m the best with the wordplay / But that couldn’t mean less in my workplacе / They’re injecting thеir toes and their necks in my workplace”. Despite the accolades he gets from people he doesn’t know, the realities of the lives he’s lived are never too far behind. But he never dwells on his past or seems weighed back by it. He simply tells it how he saw it. He’s building a special legacy.
Sinead Harnett feat. Lucky Daye – Anymore
Sinead Harnett has steadily risen from Disclosure’s hidden weapon to one of the most coveted leading women in music. Her voice is a throwback to the old R&B songstresses such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Brandy. Sinead has never been shy to experiment creatively, having made her name early on with a host of electronic/house collaborators. On her latest album ‘Ready Is Always Too Late’ she’s expressing the full scope of the artist she wants to be.
With support from Lucky Daye, ‘Anymore’ is a sombre, longing duet of sorts. She speaks of “not loving like that anymore / missing the way it hurts” – each verse a reflection of lost love. Her harmonies are beautiful, to put it simply. She manages to find a place between pure expression, and a gentle restraint – the fine line between moving on and still trying to. Lucky Daye helps carry the song to its conclusion. The bassline is classic 90’s, with tessellated vocals on the production, which come to feel James Blake-esque. Maybe a cue to Harnett’s roots working with electronic producers in the mid 10’s. This is quality, as we’ve come to expect from her.