KAMAU – A GORGEOUS FORTUNE EP
Kamau is an young rapper/singer from Toronto, but his sound could hardly be further from the now ubiquitous “OVO Sound”. Kamau’s music relies on layers and layers of vocals, sing-song rapping with intricate flows, and hooks that will stay in your head for days, and the end result here is a brief but exciting and unique listen.
CHON – GROW
Chon is an American band that blends post-rock and prog-rock to create exciting yet relaxing music. Grow is the group’s first full-length project, and is a primarily instrumental album. The musicianship on this record is outstanding, with each band member feeling like an essential contributor to the complex puzzle of interlocking riffs that comprises each song.
ANDERSON .PAAK – MALIBU
Anderson Paak has been making huge waves in 2016 coming off the momentum of his work on Dr. Dre’s Compton last year. Malibu is Paak’s second album since his name change, but has marked an explosive increase in popularity for the singer/songwriter/producer. Paak expertly blends R&B and soul with tinges of funk, rock, and even disco, creating an incredibly consistent and cohesive project.
Higher Brothers is a Chinese hip hop group from Chengdu who released their debut mixtape this year. Since the project’s release, the group has seen steadily rising internet popularity, and even did a song with Charlie Heat. I know that it sounds strange, but give the guys a chance and you won’t be disappointed.
NONAME – TELEFONE
Noname’s fans waited a long time for her debut; initially gaining recognition for her appearance on Acid Rap in 2013, Noname has been quietly hopping on tracks with other Chicago artists for several years now, but refrained from releasing a project of her own until now. Fortunately, Telefone is well worth the wait, crafting a uniquely melancholy atmosphere for Noname to express herself through.
JAMILA WOODS – HEAVN
Jamila Woods is a soul singer from Chicago, best known for her appearances on “Sunday Candy” and “Blessings” alongside Chance the Rapper. HEAVN smoothly fuses soul, gospel, and R&B while fluidly incorporating its features from Chance, Noname, Saba, and Donnie Trumpet.
WHITNEY – LIGHT UPON THE LAKE
Forming from the ashes of Smith Westerns, Whitney is an indie rock band from Chicago. Their songs use a very “classic” approach to rock music, with clear ties to folk music throughout, and their ear for melody and song structure is fantastic.
KAYTRANADA – 99.9%
KAYTRANADA has been providing dope instrumentals for other artists since around 2014; you may have heard his work backing up Mobb Deep, Mick Jenkins, Vic Mensa, GoldLink, and Chance the Rapper. However, his skillset extends beyond hip hop, as shown by this debut album, which shows KAY exploring R&B and dance music alongside more standard hip hop tracks. A solid debut that shows the 24 year old producer probably has a long career ahead of him.