We’re only a few weeks into 2017 and already, we’ve had an incredible amount of new music flung our way. In the past couple of days alone, several incredible new hip-hop tracks have dropped, so here’s our favourites.
Paul White, Accelerator ft. Danny Brown
Earlier this month, it was recently announced that producer Paul White would be releasing a two-track and two-remix mini-EP featuring Danny Brown, and the first track is now upon is – with a ridiculous video to match. Brown has long been on the more, er, insane side of things, and his recent videos, notably including the Avalanches‘ Frankie Sinatra last year, more than match up to his maniacal voice in terms of sheer, terrifying surrealism. The video opens up with a weird interaction at a bar between a man and his mind. Brain and body soon engage in a deranged, increasingly tripped-out chase through London streets and beyond, coming to a head (lol, get it?) inside a harem-like apartment. The track is exactly as frantic, wild and intense as you’d expect from Brown and White, who produced two thirds of last year’s Atrocity Exhibition, and some of the best tracks from Brown’s previous albums XXX and Old. The beat is infectious – driving, churning, catchy as fuck. I can’t wait to hear the second new tune.
CyHi The Prynce, Legend
Kanye West protege, CyHi The Prynce has long been considered one of the most intriguing untapped sources on the G.O.O.D scene since he was signed back in 2010, and now, FINALLY, he has announced his debut album. The announcement came along with a fresh track, and it’s every bit as rich as you’d expect. With the old school soul sample, a big, swinging beat and his smooth flow, it’s immediately clear that he hails from the school of the College Dropout. Whether or not he’ll be ready to Graduate is yet to be seen, as, well, it sounds exactly – and I mean exactly – like an early Kanye West song (not an insult). I’m pretty sure that the sample at 4:16 is literally the same sample ‘Ye used on Runaway. As we’ve known for a minute, his flow is fire and his lyrics actually feel more natural than his master’s, but he’ll need to form his own sound and identity if he wants to stand on his own two feet and stay there. Whether this is him clinging to ‘Ye or whether G.O.O.D’s sonic stranglehold is too firm is currently unknown, but we can only hope we’ll hear more once No Dope On Sundays drops later this year.
SiR, All In My Head
So, SiR is the newest signee to the great and powerful Top Dawg Entertainment, obviously home to Kendrick, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, SZA and others. Last year, two new signees were announced. The first was Lance Skiiiwalker, whose album was frankly underwhelming – smooth, a little dark and lyrically quite interesting, but as a whole, it just didn’t live up to the [to be fair, extremely high] expectations. So now we turn our attention to John Doe 2, now confirmed to be SiR. How does he fare up? Well, for starters, he’s R&B, not hip-hop – more Lance and SZA than K.Dot and Q (an interesting and on-point choice for TDE, but frankly I’m waiting for them to discover the next K Dot). His voice is pure golden honey. Velvety smooth and hypnotically seductive, his melody sinks down into that bedroom bass and nestles between those syncopated beats. He’s great, that’s for sure. But will he stand out against the Anderson Paaks and the D.R.A.M.s and the the BJ the Chicago Kids out there? We’ll find out tomorrow, when his debut EP (which features Paak, as well as King Mez and Masego) is set to drop.
Fittingly, the final track on this roundup is Kemba, who may just be the next Kendrick Lamar. Indeed, this is the guy who K. Dot pulled up on stage a few months ago to deliver a freestyle, only to then turn to the audience and tell them to “remember that fuckin’ name”. Formerly known as YC The Cynic, the immensely talented 26 year old is earning some well-deserved attention from the back of that fateful endorsement. Today comes the video for Already, a stunning piano-driven track. “What’s good, I’ve been gone for a minute,” he says, reintroducing himself, and his lyrical prowess, to his newly expanded audience. His natural flow is outstanding; his lines are fused to the rhythm, his lyrics at once provocative and dextrous. This is one of the best understated and ominous tracks I’ve heard since Ka’s similarly brooding album last year. There’s a storm brewing within Kemba. The brooding, blackening clouds are swelling faster than ever – and I cannot fucking wait to stand beneath that rain.
Image: Kemba, by Robert Adam Mayer