Bringing you a pick of the month’s best releases, Maria Hanlon and Jojo Jones present 10 tunes that have hit their decks – and got a reload – in February. Starring Dayo Bello, Ivan Ave, Children of Zeus, KYE, Louis VI, Mick Jenkins, Q, p-rallel, KAM-BU, BXKS, Juls, Loie, Vibbar, JME & BaggE…
Look What You’ve Done
For Fans of… Cleo Sol, ELIZA, Tianamajor9
Why Listen… A sultry stripped back Valentines worthy R&B number.
Dayo Bello is no stranger to writing love songs that pull on the heart strings. And this one is no exception, released appropriately on Valentines Day, as Bello himself says via instagram, ‘this is for the leng ones’. With a guest vocal from Tehillah Daniel, this slow jam feels like an old skool love song, perfect for the modern day. Clocking in at over 5 minutes, this tune could be a whole love story from start to finish, with stripped back folk-like drums, guitar riffs, chimes and impressive vocals. Complete with a loved up couple video bursting with sensuality, Dayo Bello solidifies himself as one of London’s most romantic underground artists. The South-East London songwriter has released sporadic tunes, so I am excited for his upcoming full project ‘180’. (JJ)
Ivan Ave, Children of Zeus
For fans of… The Mouse Outfit, Loyle Carner, Jerome Thomas
Why listen… ‘Inthecut’ is the new smooth R&B bop you never knew you needed.
Norwegian MC Ivan Ave has just dropped ‘Inthecut’, a collaboration with Manchester’s finest soul/hip-hop duo, Children of Zeus. The single is set to be the fifth single from Ivan’s upcoming album ‘All Season Gear’ which will be released March 10th via Mutual Intentions. The album was recorded during the pandemic and features other collaborations from Sasac, Mndsgn, Like and DJ Harrison. ‘InTheCut’ is a stand out song from the album that brings a slow, smooth and soulful vibe and we’re loving it! (MH)
Sony Music Australia
For fans of… Eliza Rose, Charli XCX, piri & tommy
Why listen… Sweet to the taste pop anthem tinged with UKG energy.
Following a string of addictive singles, KYE is back with another flavourful number. Aptly named for the after-school blackcurrant flavoured drink, this song provides the soundtrack to that indulgent sugar-high feeling of a crush. The tune welcomes a new era for the Zimbabwean born, London raised and now Naarm based artist, perfect for singing along with your mates in the car or soundtracking a date night. With dreamy falsetto vocals balancing with the percussive garage beat, this track truly displays KYE’s versatility, and will be stuck in my head for days. (JJ)
Louis VI, Mick Jenkins
HiyaSelf Recordings Unlimited
For fans of… Kojey Radical, Summers Sons, Lex Amor
Why listen… This thought provoking nature rap demonstrates why Louis VI is taking Hip-Hop to unknown places.
Louis VI’s upcoming album ‘EARTHLING’ will be released on March 31st and has been three and a half years in the making. For the third track Louis VI has linked up with Mick Jenkins for ‘ORANGE SKIES’. Louis VI explains;“Orange Skies came out of frustration. It’s in reference to the forest fires we’ve been having all over the world due to the Climate Crises and how it felt as someone that loves nature – to watch our home burn, it felt like the world was ending.” ‘EARTHLING’ will follow Louis VI’s 2019 album ‘SUGAR LIKE SALT’ and will see him team up with the likes of Lex Amor, Moses Boyd and Oscar Jerome. (MH)
LUV (I KNOW I WANT THIS FOR REAL)
Boy Meets Euphoria (Columbia Records)
For fans of… Tyler the Creator, Blood Orange, Sault
Why listen… An infectious drum beat and funky R&B groove made for main character energy.
Q has an unmistakable falsetto that sets him apart from other R&B artists making music right now. On the rise at the moment, this single teases his brand new album PRESENT, arriving this year from his sub-label of Columbia Records. The Florida raised singer produces all his own work, and has created another perfect track for the angsty month of Valentines. As Q sings in the chorus “I think I found it, I can’t seem to stop it / The love is goin’ crazy, I think I need to stop it”. (JJ)
p-rallel, KAM-BU, BXKS
4ZA Music/ Black Butter Limited
For fans of… Jeshi, Fredwave, Sam Wise
Why listen… This banger blends nostalgic and contemporary vibes to create a refreshing UKG infused sound.
Producer p-rallel has returned with his first single of 2023, ‘Evening Time’, featuring rising stars Kam-BU and BXKS. Speaking on the track, p-rallel explains: “Growing up on So Solid & all the garage crews as a younger, I felt it was only right to create a tune that gave me that same feeling. Kam-BU’s flow makes sense on garage beat like this and the way BXKS cuts through with her energy and attitude makes the song feel different to anything I’ve put out before.” p-rallel’s club-ready tunes make him an extremely exciting artist within the underground scene right now and we’re certain 2023 is going to be another amazing year for him. (MH)
Injabulo ft S.O.N
For fans of… Adekunle Gold, Davido, Odunsi
Why listen… An afro-jazz, Amapiano & highlife infused single from one of the best producers in the UK right now.
The producer Juls has committed on his Instagram to putting out music every month for the year of 2023, and this is one of the first instalments. A 5-minute tune travelling through Amapiano sounds, elements of Afro-beats and jazz, with a sprinkling of highlife for good measure. Spoken word lyrics from Lolo and a collaboration with the producer S.O.N complete the track beautifully. Juls explains via instagram, that he called the track ‘Injabulo’ (Happiness in Zulu) “cos that’s the feeling I want the song to bring.” (JJ)
For fans of… BINA., Akemi Fox, Cleo Sol
Why listen… Loie’s latest track ‘Standing’ is uplifting and mesmerising – just what we need to get us through the final stretch of winter.
Loie started the year strong with ‘Standing’ which follows on from her 2022 release ‘Perfect’ and she continues to go from strength to strength. ‘Standing’ employs empowering lyrics and Loie’s signature soft vocals to create a beautiful listen. On Instagram Loie said the track is; “a gentle reminder of WHO YOU ARE and how far you’ve come. This track has been healing for me. I know the colder months can be difficult for many so it feels like it’s come at the right time.” (MH)
Vibbar x JME
FOURTYNINE/ THE PERCENTAGE GROUP
For fans of… 808INK, Loyle Carner, Kojey Radical
Why listen… An insane sample of Junior Senior’s ‘Move Your Feet’ transformed into a lo-fi rap hit.
Vibbar is one of those collectives who have always been on my radar, featuring on playlists and features from the UK’s chill rap scene for years. But this February brought us a full length project from the London based collective of rappers, artists, producers, fashionistas, creatives, entitled Lost & Found. There is really no limit to the amount of talent in a Vibbar production, but this track – now five years old after getting it’s first airing back in 2017 – still stands out on the project, a sample of the pop/disco smash hit ‘Move Your Feet‘, transformed into a lo-fi rap production that the rap-god JME sounds at home on. People say nothing is ever original anymore, but this track proves that sampling in new music can still sound completely fresh. (JJ)
Another One Down
Ferocious Label Services
For fans of… Lynda Dawn, Ari Lennox, Ravyn Lenae
Why listen… The Neo soulstress BaggE continues to make her name known with a refreshing and contemporary neo-soul sound.
BaggE (pronounced baggy) is a name you need to get to know. She brings a totally fresh, modern twist with hints of 80s nostalgia. Some of her influences include Etta James, Ella Fitzgereld, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu which you can hear in her music. ‘Another One Down’ is a bold track that comes from her latest 4-track EP ‘Without Armour’ which was released earlier this month. Speaking on the track BaggE says; “Another one down is about people leaving your life and relationships ending but it is not bothering you anymore as you’re used to it.” (MH)
Words: Jojo Jones (JJ) Jojo Jones is a freelance writer, photographer, DJ & radio host. Listen to Jojo Jones on the 3rd Wednesday of the month on voicesradio.co.uk and check out her work @jojo_j0nes jojojones.uk