Looking back: 20 gems from 2015
Here's a list of tracks you may not necessarily have been exposed to yet (or you never paid them the amount of attention they deserved):
1. Groeni - Spine & Wick
This band is now officially my favourite group from Wellington (possibly soon to be New Zealand as well).
2. Spycc - Ain't A Phase (Ft. David Dallas)
To be perfectly honest I feel like I've been sleeping on Spycc the last few years. I remember bumping the first YGB tape as well as The Daylight Robbery EP and not even realising he had killer tracks on both. I won't make that mistake again.
This tune is blessed with some funky West-Coast vibes thanks to in-demand producer SmokeyGotBeatz (straight outta Onehunga). Spycc & David Dallas trade verses on this one, sounding like an ode to '94 Bone Thugs.
3. Boogie - Further
He released one of the bangers of 2015. However, before you box him in as another "turn up" rapper a quick look through the rest of his music videos reveal he isn't just a one trick pony.The rest of his material is surprisingly mellow and lush sounding. Boogie uses news bulletin samples to help provide a sombre narrative for the track, which allows him to delve into these themes further through his retrospective lyrics. Kendrick certainly believes in him. The Reach managed to hold up as one of our favourite projects of 2015.
Boogie's music draws influence from fellow California native Kendrick Lamar. "Further" definitely displays this and sounds like the baby brother of Section.80 / Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. ↩
4. Jonas Rathsman - Wolfsbane
The Swedish producer released one of my favourite remixes of 2014. Last year he gifted us with another monster - released through Method White (offshoot of Method Records, founded by Howard & Guy Lawrence of Disclosure). The trippy visuals are the perfect complement to this track, enough to put you into a trance. One of the best audio/visual blends of 2015..
5. Joywave - Bad Dreams (Ft. Mick Jenkins & Little Simz)
The closing track off Joywave's debut album How Do You Feel Now?. Mick Jenkins built some nice momentum towards the back end of 2015 - with this collaboration, and the Kaytranada joint "P's & Q's" which appeared on the stunning EP Wave[s]. Despite Kanye attempting to steal his album title (tongue firmly in cheek), Mick should be slated for a huge year in 2016, with the release of his debut studio album The Healing Component. We're also keeping our eyes (and ears) fixed on UK rapper Little Simz.
6. Estère - I Spy (Paddy Fred Remix)
I'm an absolute sucker for voices. Classic voices. Etta James. Ella Fitzgerald. Amy Winehouse. One day we may be adding Estère Dalton to that list. She has those types of common qualities in spades. Paddy Fred reworks the original playful number from Estère into a twisted, futuristic masterpiece. Note: Paddy Fred has been killing it for some time..
7. London Future - It's Okay Girl
This one samples my favourite ever Usher song *salutes Neptunes* "U Don't Have To Call", so how could I not like this?!
8. George The Poet - Search Party
"I gave you the manifesto of my Search Party
Please read the pages
My policies focus on social enterprise
Better education and decent wages
And as long as you wanna be courageous
Promise you we're gonna see some changes"
9. Kembe X - Hereditary (Ft. Danny Brown)
Is Kembe X the (yet to be announced) newest member of Top Dawg Entertainment? A bit of twitter stalking revealed his management to be @MoosaTDE along with one of his tracks being posted from the official TDE twitter account. More to come in this space..
10. Fono - Real Joy
Loved this song when I first heard it on what would be one of Zane Lowe's final shows on BBC Radio 1. Video is unapologetically violent. Two girls beating the crap out of each other. I guess it's no different than if it were two dudes, right?
11. Novelist x Mumdance - 1 sec
One thing that impresses me about grime music is how talented the emcees are at such a young age. Dizzee Rascal began writing Boy In Da Corner as a 16 year old and released it while he was still only 18. Novelist was included on the long list for the BBC Sound of 2015 and has been described by grime DJ Logan Sama as "the poster child for the first generation of real grime kids". All at age 18.
12. Kamasi Washington - Re Run Home
Can we get some jazz up in here? Kamasi Washington was involved in two of the best albums from 2015. Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly along with his debut (triple) LP The Epic. The title provides a pretty accurate description of the record. "Re Run Home" is just a taste of what he can do with a saxophone.
13. Stormzy - Know Me From
"I'll come to your team and fuck shit up, I'm David Moyes."
Seriously, anyone willing to put that on record deserves to be on this list for that alone. Eagerly awaiting the debut LP.
14. Lxury - Square 1 (Ft. Deptford Goth)
Admittedly I heard this on an episode of Made in Chelsea (don't shoot me - they actually play some gems from time to time).
15. Young, Gifted & Broke - The Green Tape
Yes I know I'm sort of cheating here posting a full tape, but trusssmedaddi it's straight fire *emoji flames*
16. Spycc - Other Lover (Ft. HIGH HØØPS)
HIGH HØØPS provides the laidback soundwaves for Spycc to vibe over. This track is the perfect introduction to the Auckland MC's discography - he loves to mellow out (but don't get me wrong he can "turn up" as well)
17. Lupe Fiasco - Mural
Yes, we've heard this sample used before - here, and numerous other places. That doesn't take away the fact that Lupe absolutely slayed it on this track (and the album). His best record in years. Tetsuo & Youth was his fifth and final album under Atlantic Records, hopefully a sign of good things to come for the Chicago MC.
20. NxWorries (Knxwledge & Anderson Paak) - Boiler Room
Knxwledge's fanbase just keeps growing and growing after claiming production credits on Kendrick Lamar's groovy ballad "Momma" off To Pimp A Butterfly. He backed that up with a couple of huge tracks with close collaborator Anderson Paak. The grooves are ever present here in this boiler room performance.