Whether or not they are aware, most people have heard Stefan Ponce‘s prolific influence as a producer and composer within the last few years. As a Grammy-nominated collaborator with fellow Chicagoans Vic Mensa, BBU, and Chance the Rapper, Ponce has also added his touch on releases by Logic and Childish Gambino over the last four years alone. Stefan’s understated musical nous has allowed other artists to flourish with his aid. Now, the Chicagoan finally steps into the spotlight in preparation for his debut studio album releasing two star-studded tracks that promise only good things for The Boy Who Fell From Earth.
Ponce’s first release hit the internet back at the tail end of August. “Super Star,” a bouncy and vibe heavy joint to close out the summer season featured theMIND, Julian Bell, Micah Freeman, and KYLE. “Super Star” is a testament to three things. First, the groovy track shows Ponce’s potential to be a key member of the new school funk revival. Second, “Super Star” demonstrates not only Ponce’s connections in the music industry, but also warrants the respect he commands given his ability recruit and connect the right personnel for the benefit of the song. Finally, Stefan showcases the dimension to his trade, piecing together themes of love, infatuation, and idealism in a coherent and catchy single.
Early October saw Ponce’s most recent release, “For A Girl,” featuring Rejjie Snow, Moxie Raia, and the returning Julian Bell. “For A Girl” is more withdrawn than “Super Star,” and spanning give and take between the four. Building buzz for The Boy Who Fell From Earth, “For A Girl” revisits themes of love and self-discovery. Ponce described the process by which the song came to life as more hands off, with Rejjie Snow bringing many of the threads to the forefront.
While there is still no firm deadline for The Boy Who Fell From Earth, it can be expected within the coming few months. Don’t sleep on what could be a potential classic.
[Words by Camille Latzke]
Manchester hip-hop production team and live band The Mouse Outfit has brought together the talented UK artists IAMDDB and Fox for the perfect sound in their latest release, “I Wonder”.
Produced by two members of The Mouse Outfit crew, Chini and Metrodome, the smooth single is a flawless blend between IAMDDB’s mesmerizing bars and Fox’s reggae flare. The music video, directed by Jan Bannister and shot by Bannister and Marcus Gillard, features the two flexing their lyrical prowess as they occupy the streets of Manchester.
So far, there’s talk that the single will be included in The Mouse Outfit’s upcoming album along with collaborations featuring other hip-hop/funk rappers and singers. We have yet to hear this officially expressed from the group, but regardless look forward to their upcoming projects.
Check out the video for “I Wonder” below.
As one of the most impressive talents in the game right now, Ella Mai always comes through with top-notch content. “Naked” stands as her latest release and the follow-up to her READY EP from earlier this year. Produced by her righthand DJ Mustard, the 10 Summers artist flows seamlessly over gentle guitar melodies with her mesmerizing vocals. Ella pens an ode for one who can love her without question. The vulnerable serach for uncoditional love culminates in a truly intimate acoustic serenade.
Stream “Naked” below.
It’s been a true pleasure watching Travis Thompson continue to rise. Following a guest feature on Macklemore‘s “Corner Store” with Dave B, the Seattle-based artist swung by Kinda Neat for a smooth performance of “Need You.” Travis explores his inner struggles throughout the Nima Skeemz-produced cut, brought to life by his slick verses. In the accompanying full-length interview, Travis also mentions the many ways in which Intuition impacted his career and how he dove into the scene from a young age. With a wide smile on his face, Travis is set for an even bigger 2018.
Check out the performance and interview below, and revisit our full-length feature with Travis.
Nearly a year after the release of a very sad birthday with pinkcaravan!, namesake. is back with another bouncy single titled “Vroom Vroom.” Alongside Sam Stan, pinkcaravan! delivers a catchy verse and hook over namesake.’s start-and-stop production. Their trio’s sonic chemistry permeates throughout to create an easily repeat-worthy track fit for any playlist. There’s this infectious and feel-good vibe that’ll have you hooked and pining for more.
Stream “Vroom Vroom” below.
Throughout each track, Aminé brings his lovable personality to life. The Portland, Oregon representative is currently on his headlining Good For You Tour, named after his Good For You debut album that dropped earlier this year with features from the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Nelly, and Offset.
Backed by production from Madison LST, BeforeIzaiah, and Pasqué, “Squeeze” is a short and sweet loosie that pairs Aminé’s whipping flow with a rocking beat. Amidst back-to-back flexes, Aminé delivers shoutouts to his all-time favorite artist John Mayer, Aretha Franklin, and more. His latest tune is filled with punchy energy that’s sure to get you through the weekend.
Stream “Squeeze” and peep his upcoming tour dates with Towkio below.
A collaboration that few saw coming but all will relish, London’s Little Simz and Brooklyn’s Gabriel Garzón-Montano linked up on a remix of “Bombo Fabrika,” originally a centerpiece of Montano’s 2017 Jardín. An eclectic pair, Gabriel and Simbi linked up at a festival in Japan and began to cook up the collaboration. With styles that many wouldn’t put together right away, the two fit seamlessly with Simz adding her verve to the dazed instrumental that Montano cooked up.
Per Stones Throw Records, Montano and Simz were blown away by each other after both headlining at Taicoclub 2017. The two are as similar as they are dissimilar. Their quality in the studio is matched by a commanding stage presence and incredible live chops. Both boast a masterful musical IQ that speaks through their projects in different ways. Garzón’s work is immaculate and poised, created with a succinct simplicity that is implicit of his innate understanding of music composition. In comparison, Simz’s strength is her lyrical dexterity. She knows her way around instrumentals as well as any other MC, which allows her to incorporate herself into the track uniquely, and create the raw sound that made projects like Stillness in Wonderland so popular.
The combination of Simz and Montano on the track is potent. The swelling instrumental builds around Simz, who adds her own voice to the background at the end of her first verse. Simbi brings the heat she has become known for, gleefully creating complex lyrical schemes to the subtle rework of “Bombo Fabrika.” The duo merge their voices into one at the tail end, layering Simz’s “ain’t so pretty as it seems” refrain over Montano’s original vocals. The two combine in a way that few other artists can; whether it is due to their stylistic similarities or differences, the raw art of the piece cannot be understated.
The rare quality of the collaboration would could trick listeners into believing the duo have worked extensively with each other in the past. We can only hope that, as Montano promises, he and Simz aren’t done working together. Tune in to the “Bombo Fabrika” remix below.
Jaden Smith continues to blossom at the tender age of 19. Already tested musically with the release of This Is The Album, the young artist has tried his hand in modeling, design, acting, television production, and entrepreneurship, seemingly going from strength to strength. Following the recent releases of singles “Batman” and “Watch Me,” Jaden and Ezra Koenig’s Netflix original Neo Yokio hit platforms, proving to be a surprisingly self-aware and tongue-in-cheek series that already has the shape of a cult classic. Back on the musical side of life, Smith recently dropped off a six-minute preview for his upcoming album, Syre, a vignette-style trailer that reads about as stylish as the man himself.
The trailer previews songs including “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “Icon,” and “George Jefferson,” presenting an interesting spectrum of bop-heavy tracks, melodic musings, and introspective pieces. “Fallen,” released just under a year ago, will feature on Syre and features a noteworthy Kid Cudi cosign. “Batman” and “Watch Me” also appear on the tracklist. Three attention-grabbing tracks, these singles will bracket Jaden’s new work.
A short three weeks out from the release date, the album looks to be a comprehensive and self-analytical offering a la Tyler, The Creator’s Scum Fuck, Flower Boy, on which Jaden featured, delivering an underrated hook on “Pothole.” Two of the most young creative forces around at the moment, Jaden and Tyler among the best when it comes to bringing concept to life; the exchange of ideas and continued collaboration between the two bodes well for Jaden’s album just as it did for Tyler’s.
Knowing the middle Smith child, the project will be fiercely Jaden Smith. He has successfully shaken off the shackles of “Will Smith’s son” and continues to grow into his larger-than-life persona.
Stream the trailer for Syre below and look out for the full album on November 17.
In the midst of touring with Gorillaz, Little Simz is back with another heater titled “Good For What.” As one of the eight additional tracks slated to appear on the deluxe version of Stillness In Wonderland, Simbi goes all out in her latest single accompanied by a Duy Nguyen-directed video. Harrowing production from Astronote backs her aptly confident verses, unfazed by nonbelievers while flexing on the competition. Simz continues to ramp up her momentum with each release, setting herself up for another banner year in 2018.
Check out “Good For What” below and expect Stillness in Wonderland (Deluxe Edition) on November 3.
Roughly a year after the release of her does this make sense EP with kwame, Hong Kong-born and Los Angeles-based artist cehryl returns with her latest release, wherever it may be. The self-produced four-track outing builds upon lead single “Side Effects,” radiating with her gentle croons and soothing soul. Topped off with additional instrumentation from Alex Szotak and NASAYA, each song resembles a late night by the fireplace. cehryl explores everything from feeling out of place to reminiscing about the past, culminating in a seriously sweet bundle of warm energy.
cehryl also shared her insight on the project:
This EP was written as a small bittersweet parting gift to the East Coast and to post-adolescence; it was written to embrace upcoming change as well as the fear that accompanies it. I started and finished it in the middle of summer; the mid-summer always seems to provide the perfect atmosphere for reflection—especially in Boston—with people moving in, moving out, and moving on, which is essentially what this project symbolizes to me.
Peep wherever it may be below via Fête Records.