Music week in review: Kelela, Giggs, King Krule, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & more
It was a dope week in music with great releases from some slightly slept-on artists.
The next couple weeks will see releases from some big names in the music world, so it’s cool to see some artists get much-deserved shine.
None more than Kelela.
Kelela – Take Me Apart
After landing on the music stage in 2013 with her mixtape Cut 4 Me and a follow up EP in 2015 Hallucinogen, Kelela has turned her blustering potential into one of the best music releases of the year.
Her brand of floating R&B, with glitchy, deeply intricate production is a joy to listen to. Some tracks are deeply introspective and airy. “Enough” is a slow-rolling drum-driven ballad with sonic peaks and valleys.
“Better” runs almost 4 and a half minutes of mostly Kelela’s voice with simple Noah Shebib-like synths rolling slightly in the background until drums pop up, accentuating Kelela’s unique and beautiful voice.
“LMK” is a straight up R&B pop song that’s tailor-made for broad dissemination to all mainstream venues. Kelela has ridiculous songwriting ability, penning ballads about numerous relationships and life (she’s got some sage advice at 34).
It’s not surprising that the first track and album standout “Frontline” debuted on Issa Rae’s Insecure, Kelela’s work is simultaneously cinematic and intimate.
You get the feeling that Kelela’s songwriting and vocal range pushes her production team to find new sounds and variations in their own work, the production on this album is impeccably clean. Listen to this album. Now.
Giggs – Wamp 2 Dem
Fresh off last year’s Landlord album and his feature on Drake’s “KMT” Giggs has become one of the more hyped members of the quickly-rising grime genre out of the UK. Giggs brings a different flair to the grime movement, a more Americanized trap sound than some of his other London contemporaries.
Not to say that he’s ripping off American rap, this is very much a UK rap record, but his subject matter is considerably darker than grime artists like Skepta, Tinie Tempah, JME, or J Hus. Wamp 2 Dem shows a new side to the London hip-hop scene, Giggs offers a more menacing vision from the jump with “Gully N****z.”
Recruiting 2 Chainz and Young Thug on Wamp 2 Dem will legitimize Giggs to American hip-hop listeners, but the record would work fine without them. Giggs is a rap star, Wamp 2 Dem is merely confirmation of his place in the game.
King Krule – “Half Man Half Shark”
King Krule, real name Archy Marshall, became one of the most hyped young artists in rock music when he dropped his debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon back in 2013.
Since then, Marshall receded from the spotlight, making experimental music under different monikers, making art with his brother, and producing hip-hop while shacked up in a pot-filled flat away from the desperate rock music media.
Now King Krule is back. His second full length album comes out next week and this week saw his third release off the new album.
“Half Man Half Shark” is the ultimate representation of Marhsall, it’s a noisy, jazzy, punky, romp that turns soft, introspective, and contemplative as he sings, “At least when you look to the stars they still glow, but not for me though.”
Marshall is a true musical master and we eagerly await his new record.
Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Almost Like Praying”
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has written up another irresistible hit, this time to honor the island of his heritage.
NPR described the song as an “all-star cast of Latinx artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, Ruben Blades, Luis Fonsi, Rita Moreno and many others.”
That’s quite the crew of puertorriqueños and the West Side Story-sampling track is a jam. All proceeds will go to healing the island in wake of the devastating Hurricane Maria.
So while you’re bopping to another catchy-ass Lil-Manuel jig, you’ll also be helping our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. What could be better?
Ty Dolla $ign – “Ex” (feat. YG)
This oh so LA collaboration courtesy of Ty Dolla and YG is a certified banger in which the two ditch their main squeeze to go back to old flames.
This pair had worked together before on “Only Right” a couple years ago. It’s a groovy ass track off Dolla $ign’s new album Beach House 3 due out on October 27th.
We’re officially ready for BH3.
Big K.R.I.T. – “Keep The devil Off”
After staying relatively quiet since 2014’s Cadillactica, Big K.R.I.T. dropped “Confetti” last week out of nowhere. Now he’s brought another track “Keep The devil Off” and announced a new album, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time, due October 27th.
“Keep The devil Off” is a soulful number in typical K.R.I.T. fashion with a full church chorus backing him up. K.R.I.T. is one of the most low key talented dudes in hip-hop, it’s a fucking treat to have him back.
dvsn – “P.O.V.”
OVO signees dvsn dropped “P.O.V.,” the second jawn off their new album Morning After, coming next week. It’s a chopped-and-screwed slow track that melds Houston lean rap and 90’s R&B in a pretty damn effective style.
Morning After should put the Toronto duo on the map with the larger public, they’re a songwriting force to be reckoned with.
O.T. Genasis – “Everybody Mad”
With the wild success of mixtape Coke and Butter last year, O.T. Genasis has been on tour with T.I. and jumping on features with artists like Afrojack and Akon. His banger with the great Young Dolph “Cut It” is also officially double platinum.
Now O.T. has stopped by to bless us with another fuck the haters anthem with “Everybody Mad.” This dude O.T. Genasis just makes hits. “Everybody Mad” is another banger in the O.T. mold.