Cover Photo by @135alistair
After introducing the new FREE SOUNDs column two weeks ago, we’re back today with round 2. From NY to Atlanta, Toronto, London, NOLA, and the Carolinas, here’s another batch of interesting and true-to-self things that have been in rotation as of late.
Check out Volume 2 below and if you haven’t already, peep FREE SOUNDs Volume 1 here.
– – –
I’ve been a fan of London artist dexter for some time now, and “Pressure” might just be my favorite release of hers thus far. The energy on the song is infectious, the production urges for movement, and dexter’s hook has found itself etched into my brain ever since it came out.
Adding additional excitement to “Pressure” is the fact that dexter is also wearing a Corteiz tracksuit in the video, having released the song with Corteiz’s RULESTHEWORLD Records. The UK’s busiest streetwear brand can’t seem to miss, and signing an artist like dexter only enriches the existing connection between London’s fashion and music scenes.
“Pressure” checks off every box, leaving me me just as excited as a fan of dexter as it does as a fan of Corteiz. Check this one out below:
MEL GLIZZY & SHA EK
The never-ending well of songs to sample from has made sample drill a wildly enjoyable sound to follow. Just recently, Mel Glizzy and Sha Ek delivered another standout track in this style with “Who You Touch.” Whether it’s the sample, the bounce of the drums, the energy and confidence in the deliveries, the excitement in the DIY video, or a combination of all these things, “Who You Touch” feels undeniable.
This past week, South Carolina artist PG Ra released an impressive new project called Heavy Motion, on which “Double Up” is a personal favorite. Listening through the tape, and hearing the growth in Ra’s abilities, I was led back to an older song from the Carolina talent that I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of.
“Made It” is a heartfelt release that revolves around the line “Y’all probably think I made it, but I didn’t.” There’s an earnestness in Ra’s deliveries as he talks about what he still wants to achieve, being away from his kid as he travels for work, and the endless strive to make it out and provide for the people around him.
The understated production only adds effect to the song, and truthfully, I think “Made It” stands out as a highlight in Ra’s catalog even two years later. He’s come a long way since this track came out, but I’d like to think that a lot of the same lessons and ambitions detailed in the lyrics hold true today.
This sh*t I spit make you sit back and have to listen (Yeah)
Can’t skip through half of my tracks and get the vision (Uh)
Try to make it vivid just so you can see it clearly
That’s why I can’t even write this sh*t, just press record and let me spill it
Reflexions is Tony Shhnow’s best work to date, in my opinion. The Atlanta artist’s music possesses a relaxed charm and clever, run-that-line-back-again appeal that never seems to get old, and with each new offering, Shhnow is only building on this. The music speaks for itself in this case, so let the first track of the tape, “Summer Off Relaxxx,” guide you through the summer. Tony Shhnow truly never misses.
STONE COLD JZZLE & ROB49
With Rob49 soaring off of the “Vulture Island” remix with Lil Baby, it’s the perfect time for him and fellow New Orleans artist, Stone Cold Jzzle, to connect on a song — each helping to lead the city’s rap scene in their own right.
“Flood It” is exactly the type of hard-nosed, energetic, and catchy release that you could have hoped for from these two, and it’s especially exciting when you consider what it means for their city. There’s a huge movement happening in New Orleans right now, and moments like “Flood It” are helping to pave the way.
AFTER DARK & THE FRY YIY SHOW
OVO Sound Radio may be the most well-known mix/radio show coming from the OVO camp right now, but two other shows — After Dark and The Fry Yiy Show — are very much worth checking out, if you haven’t already.
After Dark is run by DJs G0homeroger and Kid Masterpiece, focused largely on R&B music — traditionally not my first choice of genre, but something that I’ve found myself more and more interested in as I listen through these mixes every two weeks. The sequencing is just as important as the curation to make these shows work, and the duo of Roger + Masterpiece never seems to miss in these areas.
The Fry Yiy show is a feel-good, Friday night mix from OVO Noel and OVO Mark wherein the two hosts get fry and play great music — simple and plain, usually with some sort of theme for the episode. Lots of Drake music is played, of course, but they always seem to find a perfect blend between throwbacks and new music that makes the show a great listen, week after week.