The Gossip Columns tour swung by House of Blues San Diego.
Back in February, Dublin talent Rejjie Snow dropped off his debut album Dear Annie. With features from the likes of Cam O’bi, Anna of the North, and Jesse Boykins III, the extensive 20-track outing combined the eccentric textures we’ve grown to love from Rejjie to solidify his slot in the current music scene.
As the lead single from the album, “Egyptian Luvr” enlists Aminé and Dana Williams for an extraterrestrial adventure. Star-studded production from Kaytranada matches effortless verses from Rejjie and Aminé, united by Dana’s smooth vocal work on the hook. Director Martin Pariseau brings the track to life as the trio leads a journey across the city.
Check out the video for “Egyptian Luvr” below.
W&V favorite Jay Prince continue to grow his strength on the mic and on the boards. The London artist dropped his hard-hitting Late Summers mixtape last year, standing as a sonic treat topped with features from Aminé, Mahalia, and more.
Fresh off his SXSW run, Jay is back with his first release of the year, “In The Morning / Motion.” The double single opens with upbeat and feel good vibes that kick off the summertime early before slowing down the pace in the second track. Jay highlights his dynamic flow with his taste for a wide range of beats, surely on the way to another banner year.
Stream both tracks below.
Sángo continues to impress fans with his innovative production that blends hip-hop, electronic, and the sounds of Brazil. Soulection‘s rep from Seattle has produced for the likes of Bryson Tiller and Xavier Omär, constantly evolving his sound with each cut.
On the heels of “Sweet Holy Honey,” Sángo returns with the next single from his forthcoming album In The Comfort Of titled “Khlorine.” Also along for the ride is St. Louis contemporary Smino, coming through with his punchy flow. It’s always a special treat when Sángo and Smi link up—their latest collab is no exception.
Stream “Khlorine” below and expect In The Comfort Of on March 16.
It’s been just under a year since the world heard Lou Phelps‘ 001: Experiments 001 tape, an impressive project showcasing his versatility alongside the likes of Innanet James, Bishop Nehru, and more. Since then, the Montreal artist has blessed us with a few features and mixes leading into the new year.
Phelps is back on our site today with “Come Inside,” a nostalgic trip featuring production from his blood brother Kaytranada and Toronto emcee Jazz Cartier. The trio of talent combines elements of disco, funk, and hip-hop to create a refreshing and upbeat tune. With a catchy hook, suave verses, and a steady beat, this is a sonic treat you don’t want to miss.
Stream “Come Inside” below.
Back in 2016, Topaz Jones emerged into the scene with his funk-filled Arcade album, a ten-track outing featuring talent from Pell and Leven Kali. Since then, Topaz has continued to bless us with goodies including his COLORS performance and recent double single with “Toothache” and “Zoom.”
The Montclair artist is back this week with another pair of saucy tracks, “Nectar” and “Pleasure Pain Passion.” Topaz delivers some seriously groovy vibes over production from himself, Jack Hallenbeck, and Thelonious Martin. Topped off with a silky verse from KAMAU, the bundle of talents creates two infectious tunes sure to have you vibing along.
Stream both songs below.
Paving the way for producers in the Italian trap scene is the Milan-born Paolo Monachetti, known as Charlie Charles. Having grown up in Seguro, Charlie stepped into the rap scene at only 14 years old. At 21 years of age, he released XDVR alongside Sfera Ebbasta, a record that placed him in the front of the Italian hip-hop scene and caught the attention of Roccia Music and Marracash, an independent Italian hip-hop label. Especially after the release of Rockstar with Sfera Ebbasta, Charlie sits at the top of international charts.
A few standout songs I recommend checking out are “Bimbi”, “RAP”, and “Tran Tran”. Each has a unique style featuring rap talent from across Italy. The tracks stand as a mix of modern American trap, combined with elements of reggae and old school hip-hop, with a dark, mysterious tone. From unique loops to nontraditional synthesizers, Charlie is often accredited with bringing new futuristic sounds to Italian hip-hop, breaking the norm and introducing new sounds in the emerging genre.
Despite the immense amount of respect he’s gained while making moves for Italian trap, when it comes to the crazy life of a rap star, Charlie dejects it. Charlie claims to have “fired himself” from future live sets, and continues to produce music in the comfort of his home rather than traveling around.
“Non voglio passare per spocchioso, ma quello che sto facendo in Italia è distintivo… Sento, nel mio piccolo, di aver dato qualcosa alla trap senza scadere nel banale.”
In other words, Charlie isn’t interested in the luxurious, wild lifestyle that is assumed for such a big artist. Having rejected big labels, including Universal and Warner, it’s clear that Charlie wants the best for his art without the industry getting in the way. Rather, Charlie is set on molding the growing trap genre, bringing something new and distinct with the music he releases.
In 2016, Saba dropped one of my favorite albums to date titled Bucket List Project. The Chicago artist solidified his spot in the music scene, especially with standout tracks like “Stoney” and “World In My Hands.” As one of the most talented in Chicago and beyond, Saba continues to bolster his ballistic flow and clever lyricism.
Saba returns to our site with his latest track, “Busy.” Standing as one of his most introspective tracks to date, Saba touches upon everything from trust issues and mental health to maintaining relationships and tour life. Fleeting melodies from Daoud, daedaePIVOT, and Saba himself are brought to life in a set of elegant visuals from director Peter Campbell.
With his ability to captivate listeners with his skilled pen, Saba is sure to have another great year ahead. In the meantime, check out the video for “Busy” below and grab tickets to his upcoming Care For Me tour.
Serious Klein style of rap is electric—his Summer ’03 Problems project stayed in heavy rotation following its release back in 2016. Since then, the occasional singles have kept listeners interested and engaged in Klein’s trajectory. Ahead of his new project expected to drop this summer, Seri is back with new music. Teaming again with preferred producer Rascal, Klein drops off “Boy Boy,” a calling card and quintessential track from the German born rapper.
Klein’s multi-lingual, multi-national background gave him an incredibly broad exposure to musical styles; in various interviews he has highlighted artists ranging from 2Pac to Luther Vandross as stylistic influences. Cosigned by Mick Jenkins, Denzel Curry, and The Underachievers, Seri’s eclectic and variable approaches have made each new release better than the last.
“Boy Boy” is a warning shot to everyone. Klein’s first verse catches listeners up with where he’s been, “burning down the scene, muma I been burning down stacks, Dubai with the team,” and builds into the hook, referring to himself with his favorite moniker: Seri the King. He doesn’t mince words, spazzing on the hook before launching into his second verse, a terse warning to “fugazi ass rappers” and their “counterfriends.”
“Boy Boy” is an typically sharp, direct Serious Klein track. Catchy, hard-hitting, and indefatigable, it’s hopefully a sign of things to come from the overseas rapper. Stream “Boy Boy” on Spotify below.
With mellow bars and a taste for soothing beats, KOTA The Friend is well on his way to becoming a household name. In addition to his freestyles over tracks like Kanye West‘s “Ultralight Beam” and Childish Gambino‘s “Redbone,” the Brooklyn artist has been holding us down with projects like Palm Tree Liquor and Paloma Beach.
KOTA makes his debut on our pages today with his new Anything EP. Featuring talent from fellow W&V favorites and contemporaries Khary, Childish Major, and Sylvan LaCue, KOTA paints a snapshot of his life over production from Secret Stash, Ashoku, and Mantra. KOTA finds balance between cuts like “Good” and “Sydney,” highlighting his versatility and another step forward in his sound. Tasteful hooks are paired with his introspective verses, culminating in a refreshing experience for fans to vibe along with.
Stream Anything below.
Rejjie Snow finally brings his debut studio album to listeners. The long-awaited project is preceded by popular tapes such as Rejovich and The Moon & You, stellar and cohesive EPs that garnered the Dubliner a passionate following. Dear Annie is Snow’s attempt at something more expansive. The album is uniquely variable; outstanding production top to bottom allows Rejjie to experiment stylistically, lyrically, and conceptually. Features from superstar contemporaries including Jesse Boykins III, Cam O’bi, and Aminé underline what is an incredibly rich project that encompasses a number of powerfully relatable themes
Dear Annie is as much a letter from Rejjie to himself as it is to us. Raised in Ireland, Snow has spoken repeatedly on the struggles he faced. Snow continues to grapple with his personal and artistic identity. Songs like “Rainbows” and “Greatness” touch on being black, his influences, past, and future.
Romance is a particularly evocative theme across the album. Snow has a distinctly multi-dimensional perspective on love, and attacks it from a number of different directions. On “Mon Amor,” Rejjie joins Milena Leblanc over production from Lewis Ofman, delivering French vocals and two detached verses that speak to his addiction to pain of love: “Fuck love, its ugly.” “Spaceships” touches on lust and idealism. Perhaps the most eye catching track on the album, “Egyptian Luvr,” produced by Kaytranada and featuring Dana Williams and Aminé, is written about the last moments between lovers:
“Tomorrow isn’t promised and we learn this the hard way. The last moments with your lover. In this song I was […] telling my girl how much I love her and thanking her for this journey we rode.”
Rejjie brings a calculated emotional complexity to his album. Love is a beginning and ending point for this intricacy. Transient and ephemeral, love is tied closely to death on the album, influencing Snow and dictating what drives him. As powerful as love is to him, it’s also a catalyst for the growth of his emotional intelligence: “I hate love but in a crazy way,” he raps on “23”; later on “Désolé” he emphasizes “love is just a fucking sin.”
“My album has lots of different feelings if you care to listen to it. I wanted it to feel like you’re slowing dying and losing your mind throughout.”
From Rejovich to The Moon & You, it’s been difficult to pin down a distinct characterization of Snow’s style. Seemingly as adept a rapper as he is a singer, Snow has adopted different styles and approaches to his albums over the recent years. On Dear Annie, it is similarly difficult to pinpoint any one cadence as Snow’s trademark sound. The variety of producers on the album is mirrored by a dearth of features ranging in genre and style. Snow gives nod to collaborator Rahki for pushing himself out of his comfort zone on songs like “Annie.” The titular track combines a faster paced instrumental and resonant vocals from Jesse Boykins, bringing a looser style out of Rejjie distinct from much of his previous work.
Several tracks, however, rise above the others and demand individual attention. “Mon Amour,” “Room 27,” and “Désolé” all share production from Lewis Ofman, with instrumentals heavy on synths and organ that create an airy, dreamlike tone that contrasts Snow’s verses examining themes of, death, isolation, and more. “Room 27” makes direct reference to the infamous 27 Club, which, for Snow, represents a symptom of the personal difficulties that come with modern music. “Désolé” examines Rejjie’s personal relationship with love, regret, and insecurity. This trio of tracks in many ways the most understated yet revelatory tracks on the album. They are stripped down and at the same incredibly complex, and all the more beautiful for it.
At the end, however, Rejjie reminds us that these feelings are just part of the human condition. Dear Annie does not pretend to be anything it is not: an eclectic mix of songs, emotions, styles, and intrigues. The album picks up pace towards the end, ushered out by bouncy tracks including “LMFAO” and “Bye Polar,” reminders not to take yourself too seriously, and to enjoy all the good in life.
Take a moment to listen to Dear Annie on Spotify and keep an eye out for Snow’s tour dates below.