Sweet 16! Our Cloud 9 feature reaches its 16th incarnation and what a run we’ve had. We have featured some of the best artists from the UK, Canada, Europe, USA and beyond, forever focused on bringing you the best music from the darkest depths of Soundcloud. In a week that was populated with the news of Beyonce‘s new track ‘Formation‘ alongside her performance at the 2016 Superbowl half-time show, we have also been treated to new releases by the likes of Zayn Malik, Jazz Cartier and Nick Brewer. With the music scene expanding at an ever rapid rate, it can be even harder to stay up to date with all the music out here. But stay calm, as L Ø S T C U L T U R E aim to put together a weekly playlist of 9 of the best tracks you need to listen to. So as always, plug in, tune out and relax as we present;
L Ø S T C U L T U R E | Cloud 9: 016.
1. Jessica Agombar – Cookie Cutter
Last year, Jessica Agombar was turning heads with her distinctive Cockney-tinged flow and soulful hooks. After wowing audiences with her huge debut ‘Bam Bam‘ [which featured Roll Deep‘s Manga and Scratchy], the Bow songstress returns with her brand new offering entitled ‘Cookie Cutter‘. Teaming up with London based produced Levi Lennox, [notably known for his work on M.I.A’s ‘Borders‘]. The track is pure fire, featuring some killer vocals, a huge beat and a subtle Caribbean flavour. Agombar delivers bursts of witty couplets, playing off her East London vernacular in between lavish, dancehall flavoured hooks. It’s a future sound, with Jess’ attitude representing young London.
2. Gallant feat. Jhene Aiko – Skipping Stones
Back in June, Zane Lowe featured Gallant‘s breakout single ‘Weight in Gold‘ as the world record during his first ever Beats 1 radio show. Several months later, Lowe premieres yet another new track from Gallant, this time a collaboration with Jhené Aiko entitled ‘Skipping Stones‘. The soulful track blends Gallant’s incredible falsetto with Aiko’s sweet, airy vocals over production by Adrian Younge and Stint. The new single is released through Red Bull Sound Select as part of a two-track digital release, which also features his previous single ‘Borderline‘ with James Fauntleroy. The young artist is also set to release his debut album, which will serve as a follow up to last year’s Zebra EP.
3. Ashley Shakur – Nokia
After introducing himself late last year with his doppelgänger style video, ‘Who Is It‘, Ashley Shakur is gearing up for the release of his debut EP, Hare This which drops on the 29th February. His new track entitled ‘Nokia‘, is the first track to be released from the project and is full of nostalgic imagery and clever wordplay. The track is a a catchy tune that takes a trip down memory lane when technology played a smaller role in our lives, including a fantastic old school sounding beat produced by Koji, and of course a brilliant outro using one of the classic Nokia tunes. Whilst most rely on over-the-top and heavy-hitting instrumental tracks, Shakur’s flow resonates as both a captivating storyteller, and melodic lyricist.
4. Flatbush Zombies – Bounce
Since forming about six years ago, Flatbush Zombies have maintained a consistent output of new releases, including two mixtapes and a handful of collaborations with the likes of Joey Bada$$ [‘Did U Ever Think‘] and Skepta [‘RedEye To Paris‘]. The native New Yorkers are gearing up for their long-awaited debut, 3001: A Laced Odyssey and last week, the beloved Brooklyn rap trio shared their lead single entitled ‘Bounce‘. Erick Arc Elliot’s beat samples a ringing guitar, blending it with some trap sonics and classical piano. As usual, Meech comes off the nicest on a verse filled with plenty of onomatopoeia, slick similes, and inventive metaphors. Juice isn’t far behind with one of his usual stellar hyped verses with a locked-in cadence.
5. Bones – Tempo
Califronia rapper Bones has linked up with Eric Dingus for a a slow-churning new record entitled ‘Tempo‘. On paper, this might not come across as the most likely pairing. However, you should be able to pick up this pair’s creative chemistry after even a single cursory listen. It’s as dark as ever, with the vocals are almost choral and hymn-like chants. The beat still features some heavy-hitting bass and trap snares, as well as a minor piano line, but it’s a pretty sparse soundscape for Bones to spit over. The TeamSESH crew have crafted and fine-tuned their own sound and aesthetic in the past couple years, and Dingus’ production here matches it perfectly.
6. Ye Ali – Bandzonme
Ye Ali is moving at the speed of light right now. Fresh off the release of two new songs [including a solid Rihanna rework] and a NSFW video for ‘Cashin Out‘, the young rapper is already back with another new track. The track finds the Los Angeles artist linking up with previous collaborators OG Parker and Goldenchyld for production as well. The slow tempoed track serves as a perfect canvas for Ye Ali as he flows effortlessly over the beat with an almost hypnotising quality. Along with artists like Tory Lanez and Bryson Tiller, Ye Ali is someone you need to keep an eye on in 2016.
7. Loom – Dyed Black Hair
We last heard from Loom when he was releasing his Grade EP via Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper Records at the end of 2014, and now it’s time to get him back on your radar. He’s about to drop a new EP, European Heartache [out this Friday and available to pre order], and it mines the same fertile ground as his previous EP, part nostalgia, part hard-edged futurism. Rooted in instrumental grime, the new five track EP is distinctly Loom, rich with emotion, packed with moments of both total serenity and outright chaos. One of the tracks featured, entitled ‘Dyed Black Hair‘, focuses on the rhythm and concentrates on the listener’s journey throughout, taking you on a journey backed with emotion and feeling.
8. Bas – Methylone
Dreamville rapper Bas delivers a new single ‘Methylone‘ from his upcoming Spring album Too High To Riot. The big bass track features Bas spitting fiery bars about his progression and recent changes in friends, along with a bit of metaphorical play between drugs and dreams. Over production from Ron Gilmore, Bas spits over the the smooth instrumental from his frequent collaborator. In addition to noteworthy bars, the most impressive feat is shown in Bas’ melodic and powerful hook. The rapper has already released his album cuts ‘Night Job‘ with J. Cole and ‘Housewives‘ which shows he is firmly carrying the torch for Dreamville in this first quarter.
9. Sylvan LaCue – Fall From Grace
With ‘Fall From Grace‘, Miami artist Sylvan LaCue reflects on a self-realization that’s occurred over the past year. Debuted by Complex with an announcement of his Far From Familiar album, the track is a look back at the 25-year-old artist’s decision to take a step back in order to take a step forward. Formerly performing and releasing music as QuESt, he abandoned his deal with Logic‘s Visionary Music Group in December 2014, while deciding to escape the spiraling madness of Los Angeles in favor of re-connecting with his hometown Miami roots. Prior to ‘Fall From Grace‘ and the forthcoming album, Sylvan LaCue shared his E V A N G E L I N E EP last month via Pigeons & Planes and was a personal and heartfelt project, blending storytelling and soulful melodies.