Midweek Mixtape #26
Real R+B jams, inspirational hiphop, star-studded remixes and a one of a kind K-Pop superstar’s next solo single. Put this shit on rotation so you can get through the rest of the week.
Hit the jizzump to get those eargasms.
Avant - “You + I”
Myron Avant has been quiet since 2010 but is back in full force with this luxurious love song with frequent duet partner, R+B Diva Keke Wyatt. Vocally channeling his idol R. Kelly, Avant sounds blissfully soulful while Keke brings some spine-tingling runs to the mix as they express their love. Eschewing current trends, the quiet storm ballad not only harkens to past soul instrumentation but, look ma! No Auto-Tune. Avant steady keeps representing some real R+B!
DJ Scream - “Cassette Deck”
The Maybach Music Group 2011 signee recruits his label boss Rick Ross and two H-Town legends - Bun B + Slim Thug - to pay tribute to the late, great Pimp C. Over a jazzy, laidback Harry Fraud (French Montana’s “Shot Caller”) beat, the trio straddle braggadocio ballin’ with humble homage while keeping it triller than a mug. This track, slated to appear on Scream’s upcoming MMG début, Long Live The Hustle, is a chill, grown-ass helping of hiphop.
Dwele - “What Profit? Remix”
Though he had some album appearances since his vocals graced Kanye West’s 2010 single “Power” + he released his W.ants W.orld W.omen LP, Andwele Gardner has been in the lab crafting some more neosoul gems like this cautionary tale. Over some relaxing Mike City (Carl Thomas, Anthony Hamilton, Ledisi) drums and a dreamy Dwele background choir, the Detroit crooner worries that in his ascent to wealth, he lost the love of his life, wondering what profit a man receives when he loses his love. Featuring two guest verses from blast from the past Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest on the remix, “What Profit?” hits a vibealicious groove for Dwele to sing some trufs.
Elle Varner - “Stop The Clock”
Elle’s début, Perfectly Imperfect, is an eclectic mix of pop-friendly hipster+B, particularly this dramatic album cut. Produced her mentor Pop (Nicki Minaj, Usher), the song combines strings + horns with handclaps + synth baths to emphasize Elle’s desire to rewind time to erase a lover who did her wrong. With her distinctive vocals in check, her pen game strong (“freezing in the cold blowing wind / can’t tell my tears from the rain drops”) and the just-electronic-enough chorus instrumental, Ms. Varner could find herself with another single-worthy track from an album of standouts.
Faith Evans - “Tears of Joy”
After releasing her 2010 underrated fifth LP, Something About Faith, being arrested for misdemeanor drunken driving and divorcing her husband of thirteen years in 2011, this R+B Diva is back to proclaim her happiness. The piano-driven ballad produced + written by Claude Kelly + Chuck “H-Money” Harmony is a soulful showcase of Faith’s beautiful soprano that has stood the test of time and is noticeably stronger than on Something. She even takes it to church in the final refrains of the throwback track. If anyone doubted Faith was done, open your ears!
G-Dragon - “One of a Kind”
The BIGBANG rapper/singer is taking another stab at solo stardom with this head-bobbing teaser track where the “wild + young” Ji Yong Kwon proclaims he is a diamond in the rough. G-Dragon could have easily done an overwrought synthpop mess but instead opts for a bumping midtempo hiphop joint. With choice percussion magic, GD + Choice37’s (produced BIGBANG’s “Bad Boy,” the best cut from their Alive EP) beastly production work could easily work for a Western artist (maybe a Nicki Minaj or Tyga remix). G-Dragon is a bit too Auto-Tuned for my liking but I’m going to desperately try to learn the lyrics to sing it.
Talib Kweli - “Fly Away”
Ahead of his sixth LP, Prisoner of Conscious, the Prince of Brooklyn is releasing a mixtape, Attack The Block, featuring this introspective + inspiring track. German producer Crada (Raheem DeVaughn, The LOX) grafts some beautiful vocals from the amazing Tracy Chapman’s 1998 song “She’s Got Her Ticket” over delicate piano riffs + electric guitar whispers. Talib spins street tales of life’s many difficulties with his usual lyrical prowess while the song ends with the empowering words of acclaimed poet + founder of Black Women Rock! concert/workshop/panel series Jessica Care Moore. Talib may be a prisoner of conscious music but he sounds damn good doing it!
It took me a minute to warm up to Cameron Thomaz’s new single from his forthcoming sophomore LP, O.N.I.F.C., but it has grown on me
like a wart. I love both the theme of the track and the Asian-influenced Benny Blanco + StarGate (who produced Wiz’s first #1 single “Black + Yellow”) hammer synth production. Wiz not only adds fresh lyrics but Young Jeezy + Lil Wayne also ride shotgun with their own verses. Work hard this week to play hard this weekend.