We’re back again with our regular breakthrough playlist, featuring the best in upcoming, independent artists from across the musical globe. This week we’ve got a solid selection of really interesting hip-hop and indie tracks for you – these are refined and seriously impressive offerings, particularly considering some of these are debut tracks for these young artists. Most of this week’s hip-hop has a strong focus on lyricism – so grab your headphones and enjoy!
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This is a really beautiful track, with delicate production, sentimental lyrics and a soulful melody. It builds and deepens as the rhythm grows with the vocals – this is as much a Sunday afternoon track as it is a radio-ready romper. I love it.
LIANA BANK$, Leave Me Alone (prod. Mura Masa)
Mura Masa is absolutely one of our favourite upcoming producers, so it goes without saying that the instrumental layers here are excellent – intriguing and playful. Bank$’s vocals are husky and smooth, with a kind of 2016-Rihanna-vibe.
Daniel Villegas, Filosofia Musical (Philosophy Is The Canvas And Music Is The Paint Brush)
This brilliant Spanish hip-hop track comes from a bilingual poet/rapper based in NYC, who, among other things, is also the founder of “Hip-Hop And Poetry Saved My Life” workshops and others aimed at empowering and inspiring youth, which I highly recommend checking out. I might not understand everything he’s saying, but I’m digging this track regardless.
LXXXVIII, WE UP
A smooth sample, cruisey beat and warm chords set the tone for this understated, flute-laden hip-hop number. Not only is the tone steely and seductive, but the wordplay is top notch; keep an ear out for some extra-special rhymes; this is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
IDE, Flight Patterns (prod. by Lucky Loopiano)
This one’s interesting in that it combines a fairly tranquil, effortlessly groovy, kind of classic jazzy instrumental with a slick, aggressively delivered flow. The tone has a kind of mid-90s east coast vibe to it, while the instrumental shifts that tone into a totally different environment.
Fringe Character, Alpine Eyes
I’m certainly digging the jazzy instrumentals this week. Some great rhymes in this one, and I love the vocals, snaking through each phrase with cool, calm command. I’m not usually a fan of melodic choruses like this, but it works well on this track.
MeezyMaynes, The One (Prod. By Felly)
A smooth, piano-driven instrumental with a reggae-style beat leads the way for this laid back, dreamy piece produced by Felly. Some excellent wordplay and rhyming rhythms at hand here; there’s more than meets the eye to this one.
We don’t actually feature Australian artists particularly often in the breakthrough playlists, but this one stopped me in my tracks. Elki’s got a really rich, diverse voice and this track is rich and catchy as hell. The rhythm bulges and grows as it progresses, dancing with some really great guitar and synth lines throughout. This track is already stuck in my head (no, really)
Jonny Freesh, I Like To Climb Trees
This week’s wildcard entry. With a classically simple ’80s beat that gradually gets harder and darker, the lyrics, both hilarious and clever, include references to everything from Game of Thrones to the Lion King to Lord of the Rings to Avatar and more, all essentially boiling down to Jonny’s love of climbing trees. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this one a few times on repeat.
Menlo Black, Freq-uency Time (Prod. jimmy.)
The final hip-hop track on this week’s playlist is the intimate, understated Freq-uency Time. The instrumental is sparse and soulful, but the verses are immersive and personal, with some really interesting bars. This one has a really delicate feel to it – one that I can, and have listened to a number of times on repeat.
Brandyn Burnette, Karma
We’ve featured Brandyn before, and today we’ve got a soulful, reflective new track Karma. The track opens with his rich vocals leading the way, while percussion and vocal harmonies bulge and soften throughout the track as it progresses, giving it a really dynamic, fluid feel. It ends with some cool distorted vocals and synth flickers – I’d love to see that sound explored more in a song of its own.