Well doesn’t time fly! No sooner were we celebrating the 16th anniversary on Cloud 9, we have now arrived at our 18th edition and what a week it has been in the music scene. This week saw the annual BRIT Awards ceremony which saw big wins for James Bay, Coldplay and Adele but also came under criticism for his under representation of ethnic minorities in it’s nominations. Drake also made headlines by surprising everyone at the BRITs, supporting Rihanna with her performance of ‘Work‘, then heading across London to appear on stage alongside the likes of Bonkaz and Skepta at Section Boyz sold out show. The Drake news didn’t stop there as he announced he had signed to UK label Boy Better Know which caused ripples across the world. Global releases have seen the likes of Saba, Claudio Marquez, Chip andT.I. release new music while Soundcloud erupted with a tonne of new releases. But L Ø S T C U L T U R E have you covered with our latest edition of Cloud 9 so kick back and tune in as we present;
L Ø S T C U L T U R E | Cloud 9: 018.
1. Antonio James – These Walls
Antonio James’ sweet blend of R&B and chillwave has returned for your pleasure. And pleasurable it is. Just like his previous track ‘Midnight Mirror‘, the UK producer’s latest track, ‘These Walls‘ creeps around in your head, the thrum of the bass somehow physically manifesting in a deep reverberation. The ambience hums. The deep and distorted rap fills out the sound of the track as background voices come and go. A mystery with just enough desperation to draw us into James’ mind, where the walls close in and trap us. It’s a personal song, and bears the weight of trust. The loneliness within the walls becomes enjoyable, and builds anticipation for his upcoming project Midnight Mirror, out in March.
2. Alfie Connor – Tie Me Down
London-based Alfie Connor emerged in 2015 with his soul-infused, debut single ‘Stranger‘ which to date has amassed over 300,000 Spotify streams alongside being selected to play his debut Glastonbury show as part of the BBC Introducing Stage and handpicked to support fellow musician, Tom Odell on his UK tour. His blend of RnB guitar work and bedroom producer sensibilities has won him spots on many publications’ “Ones to Watch” lists including Annie Mac’s New Faces 2016. His profile is set to grow even more with the release of his debut EP Hopeless Love and one of the project’s standout tracks ‘Tie Me Down‘, a soulful guitar led track with hints of electro-pop and multi-layered vocals.
3. M.O – Good Friends
With the ink still wet on their new deal with Polydor Records, UK girl group M.O have dropped a new release in the form of EP Good Friends. Alongside tracks like ‘You Don’t Know Me Like That‘ and ‘Love The Most‘ [feat. Yungen], the R&B trio have given us a track that sounds fresh and harkens back to the 90s R&B they were trained on with inspiration from the likes of En Vogue, Brownstone and Destiny’s Child. Over a wobbly beat by Bless Beats that is built upon a pitched-up vocal loop, the girls go in on the rarity—and blessing—that is a good friend. 808 drums destroy the track with thunderous thump while M.O. croons on top of all of this, delivering clean and crisp vocal arrangements.
4. Bauer feat. Future & Pusha T – Kung Fu
‘Harlem Shake‘ producer Baauer teams up with two hip-hop heavyweights, Future and Pusha T, on his new track entitled ‘Kung Fu‘, which premiered on Apple Music via Zane Lowe‘s show. King Push handles the drug-inspired verses here, welcoming listeners to “the wide world of snort” while rhyming about cocaine; “adidas selling bricks,” and “buying Macklemore”. Meanwhile, Future thrives with a “whip it up” hook over Baauer’s high-energy beat. The song was actually meant to land on a Pusha T project before it arrived on Baauer’s upcoming album Aa, which also includes hard hitting track ‘Day Ones‘ feat. Novelist and Leikeli47.
5. Nao – Fool To Love
British electro-R&B newcomer Nao just premiered her ‘Bad Blood‘ follow-up on BBC Radio with Annie Mac. The new track entitled ‘Fool To Love‘ is rife with smooth horns, chopped-up drum sections, and Nao’s quick to mesmerize crooning, itself an instrument unlike any else. The Disclosure collaborator’s warbly vocals have this scratchy anchor to them that works as a sort of double-edged blade; her songs are both totally driven by soul and rock influences from the past but they never languish there. Instead, Nao propels her sound eons into the future. Through her lyrics, Nao admits that her past relationship wasn’t her best decision but this song isn’t full of regret. Instead, she creates one of empowerment and growth.
6. Rodney Tenor – Prognosis Hypnosis
Rodney Tenor began as a rapper just like some other members of Brockhampton but as he’s progressed with his music, he’s found his singing voice and his sound his beginning to progress along with it. His new offering, ‘Prognosis Hypnosis‘ is a stellar example of the progress he’s made. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter, is stranded in a familiar stupor, as he sacrifices time and money for a fling destined to fail. The song’s appeal is accessible in that sense, but it’s Tenor’s voice that begs for a replay, rising and falling to say more than words could. With a little help from the unequivocally talented JOBA, who handles production here,Brockhampton‘s secret weapon just got a little less secret.
7. Moxie Raia feat. Pusha T – On My Mind
After dropping her dope, Jimi Tents-assisted offering ‘Rudimental‘, rising New Jersey-born artist Moxie Raia enlists the help of G.O.O.D Music President Pusha T on the follow-up, ‘On My Mind‘. The beat is built upon an old-school drum break with deep synth bass and a repetitive keys for Raia to wistfully float above. Over the pop-friendly record, Pusha lays down a slick verse about his significant other, being the G.O.O.D Music captain, and of course moving some bricks in the process. The record is in support of Moxie’s upcoming mixtape 931, which drops next month. Raia’s heartfelt frustrations and Push making room in his life for love make for an endearing track, but the old-school boom-bap feel keeps it bouncy and danceable.
8. Corey Lee – Carlton Banks
After the release of his single ‘Cam Newton‘, Philadelphia’s Corey Lee has garnered the attention of people from all over. He’s been continuing to craft his sound and is back today with the release of new track, ‘Carlton Banks‘. The inspiration for this track comes from Will Smith’s legendary run as a hip-hop artist and sitcom actor during 1989 which is also Corey Lee’s birth year. The young rapper Lee has been riding the wave since he received a co-sign from producer Sonny Digital, Cardo Got Wings & Sap. This is another catchy track from the upcoming talent [and produced by Young Trei] and shows that he can put out a song that’s sure to get you reciting the lyrics and moving.
9. Joey Bada$$ – Ready
Joey Bada$$ made his return this week when he dropped the new loosie ‘Ready‘ during Ebro‘s Beats 1 Radio show. Joey spits aggressive rhymes over the Statik Selektah produced track, reflecting on the haters and his long path to success. He even addresses his recent paparazzi-punching incident at the Yeezy Season 3 event, rapping “Critics trying to box me/I feel like Rocky when it comes to paparazzi/Somebody stop me“. With work on his sophomore album underway, an appearance on Forbes‘ Hip-Hop Cash Princes list under his belt, and some new fire to feed the fans, it looks like Joey could be in for another great year, looking to stand apart from the crowd on the mission to succeed.