Well, don’t we feel old! Today marks the 40th edition of our beloved Cloud 9 series and what a journey we’ve already been on. Over the past 39 segments, we have featured over 300 artists from all over the world, shone light on new and exciting acts and had the pleasure of covering tracks from some of the best in the business. We have had a host of special guests linking up with us with their personal curated playlists and we have a lots more in store for the next 50 editions! This week, we gave our One To Watch banner to the super talented and soon to blow Kamaiyah, who is showing how much the Bay Area has to offer and Kanye West teamed up with Balmain for his latest video, ‘Wolves‘. L Ø S T C U L T U R E favourite Jazz Cartier returned with a new track, ‘Just In Case‘ and NAO delivered with some simplistic but stunning visuals for ‘Girlfriend‘. And the UK scene remained strong with SNE dropping ‘Sorry For The Wait‘ and Bobii Lewis teaming up with Stefflon Don for ‘Friends And Lovers‘. But with every week comes a string of new releases and as always, we have worked to find you 9 of the best from the “Cloud of Sound”. So sit back, plug-in and relax as we present;
L Ø S T C U L T U R E | Cloud 9: 040.
1. Ark Noah & Germ – Lazy Trash
In the midst of all the racial tension going on in our society currently, Ark Noah and Germ have come together to express why we’re more alike than they would like to admit. Their collaborative project Lazy Trash see both MC’s displaying their strengths and was produced by super producer David Marino who has worked with Chris Travis and Pro Era. The three tracks; ‘Lazy Trash‘, ‘Hit A Lick‘, and ‘Vices‘ all take you on journey guided by uptempo beats and fast paced lyricism that leaves you with need to hit the replay button as well as demanding more. Like the titles of the songs, the content of their music is relatable and straight forward.
2. EBHONI – Eagle
Its been just over a month since Toronto’s up and coming young singer EBHONI dropped her infectious track ‘GM ATL‘ and now the talented young singer is back with her new effort, ‘Eagle‘. Starting off rather simply with soft, tingly keys, producer Timmer soon complicates the production with electronic flourishes and howling synths and showcases her sprawling vocals and oscillating production. EBHONI shows her maturity through her music and tells a story of being both straightforward and confused as to why her man would look at anyone else but her. She won’t compete as she demands to be at the center of her lover’s attention. She didn’t come to play and she makes it clear.
3. Brent Faiyaz – Poison
Combining warm soft vocals, introspective lyrics and arrangements surrounded by an elegant timeless allure, Maryland crooner Brent Faiyaz is emerging as one of the most promising nu-soul acts of the scene. His latest single ‘Poison‘, as the title suggests, is an intoxicating r’n’b ballad built upon a carpet of intriguing beats realized by producer Ben Free. The smothered production gives one a claustrophobic feeling that you somehow don’t want to escape, and Faiyaz’s tense falsetto adds a sense of desperation to the track, which is fitting, as the lyrics tell the story of a toxic relationship he can’t seem to let go of. The track build anticipation for Brent’s debut project, Side A: AM Paradox EP, to release in the near future.
4. Alexandria feat. Archibald SLIM – Good Before You
Atlanta’s own Awful Records are back at it again, bringing us some of the most exciting artists of the moment. This time, it’s the sultry sounds of 90s infused-slightly-off-kilter R&B queen Alexandriadrops the lead single in support of her forthcoming sophomore album Cut of Cloth, and has teamed up with producer, Ethereal, to bring us ‘Good Before You‘ which also features Archibald Slim. Heartfelt lyrics (that can actually be quite scathing) are delivered, with what seems like no effort whatsoever, over what sounds like a slowed down dance track that is at just the right tempo for listeners to both vibe to and drift off into thoughtfulness. What she doesn’t have in mainstream success is integrity and a distinctive sound, present through all her material.
5. J Hus – Playing Sports
J Hus took the release of his new song to the people this weekend, offering his Twitter followers snippets of two songs and the option to vote for their favorite. ‘Playing Sports‘, a typically catchy hybrid of afrobeats and grime, was the eventual winner and is a perfect follow up to last year’s infectious banger, ‘Friendly‘. Hus has kept a low profile since he was involved in a 2015 incident that saw him end up in hospital, but he made his return at Culture Clash alongside the Mixpak Crew and looks set to keep the momentum going through the rest of the year and has gone on to release another track this week entitled, ‘Clean It Up‘, a fast paced rap number produced by JAE5.
6. Noname feat. Raury & Cam O’bi – Diddy Bop
Chicago rapper Noname, formerly Noname Gypsy, has done some great work on other people’s records in recent years [her collaborative track with Chance The Rapper, ‘Israel‘, that she released last year, was an absolute killer]. And last night, Noname finally released her own full-length project entitled Telefone, and it’s a warm, expansive, jazzy, positive-minded piece of work that toes the line between rap and neo-soul. Her rhythm seamlessly blends rap and something that resembles the storytelling and openness of spoken word without the pretense of theatrics. One of the immediate standouts is ‘Diddy Bop‘, which features Raury and Cam O’bi. It’s a surge of nostalgia as she mentions B2K playing from stereos, K-Swiss, fresh FUBU, and Air Force Ones. An ode to the past that will surely make you miss the days of your young adolescence.
7. Lord Apex – yung buck
Anime obsessed London rapper Lord Apex hit the radar of many fans and critics in 2015 with the release of his project Hyōkō Meisō (elevation – Meditation), which showcased his laid back style, blending influences of rap, jazz, soul, trip-hop and trap. He kept the ball rolling over the past 12 months with a heap of releases including live from los santos and vinyl dust, further propelling his momentum and hype within the scene. Now the LDN creative is back with his latest piece, bamboo forest and it offers yet another layer to his complex character and persona. The “lead single”, ‘spliff in the morning‘ sets the tone for another laid back affair but another stand out effort comes in the form of ‘yung buck‘, a boom-bap, sing-along number.
8. Lucien Parker feat. Aaron Aye – Don’t Hold Back
Lucien Parker is next up on the list from Litt Music – a virgin record label on the rise out of NY. The Minneapolis native just debuted his 13 track LP last month entitled Black Sheep. This week, he has released a fire collaboration featuring Aaron Aye called ‘Don’t Hold Back‘. It’s an electronic r&b blend that will put you in the mood to take a soulful shot. Geek Session (a duo consisting of Shane Taylor and DJ Bad Luck) give this production a classic slow strum with classic R&B chords and a steady drum rhythm. Then, towards the hook we see the beat bleeding an electronic ethereal rhythm as the synths begin to throb. Lucien takes over the first verse and hook, while Aaron Aye gives the second half of the song a classic R&B vibe.
9. House of Pharaohs – Draws
This was a highly anticipated release from the London collective House of Pharaohs and was matched by a cool throwback video [which really reminded me of the 1997 Harold HunterZoo York Mixtape video]. Now the HOP have dropped the audio for the track and what a number it is. Following the success of their Southern Stamp EP and their hook up with Fabian Secon on ‘Pull Up‘, the group have really developed themselves as a brand while also developing their individual characters. This track, along with their previous track, ‘Raid‘, have shown that their unique style and versatility had the potential to push them to a larger and more mainstream audience.
For more music news and updates, click right hereor for more of our Cloud 9 playlists, click here, only on