Luke James – Luke James

R&B has seen new life in the decade or so. With the great popularity of R. Kelly and Usher in the early 2000s, the autotuning T-Pain and Chris Brown in the late 2000s, and now stars like Jhene Aiko, Frank Ocean and
The Weeknd, R&B has not been as prominent in years! Behind these shining singers, though, is a new
class of soulful serenaders - BJ The Chicago Kid, Elijah Blake and now, Island Records' Luke James

Born and raised in New Orleans, 30 year old Luke James has been a singer/songwriter in Los Angeles now for years. He’s written (and opened for) Tyrese, as well as Britney Spears and Keri Hilson. James inked a solo deal with Island Def Jam back in 2011, coming off the hype of his #Luke mixtape and single "I Want You," which would go on to receive a 2013 Grammy Nomination. Since then, it's been a waiting game for James' debut to be finalized and released. This year, after dropping the Rick Ross assisted "Options," James and Island decided on September 23rd for his debut. While it was a roller coaster for this record to finally come to fruition, it was well worth the wait; Luke James might just be the best R&B album of the year. 

The album features concise, minimal instrumentals, which often times explode into multi-layered choruses. Take the lead single, “Options,” for example; the track starts with a simple piano riff, and transforms into a monstrous head bopper featuring live guitars and knocking hip-hop hi-hats. James’ lyrics range from super confident- “I stepped up to her, asked ‘what’s your size?’”- to relatable relationship mess-ups-"I know I messed up when I missed your birthday.”

Including disco/80s-pop inspired tracks like "Dancing in the Dark" and "Expose," as well as modernized- but not compromising or trend following- R&B/Hip-Hop crossovers such as "Options" and "The Run," Luke James delivers a collection of beautiful love songs that evoke emotion, whether you’re doing imaginary pull-ups to the bass hits on “The Run” or slow-dancing to James’ chilling cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” 

Even though Luke James is not the conceptual masterpiece that say, channel, ORANGE is, it is an awesome collection of breakup songs (see: "Options," “Glass House” and "Exit Wounds") and baby-making soul music (see: "Dancing in the Dark," “Make Love to Me” and "I Want You").  For someone who opened for Beyonce on her last solo world tour, James deserves a comparison to Queen B, rather than his male R&B counterparts. Like Bey, James has an impeccable voice that cannot be mistaken for anyone else’s, and we're all looking forward to hearing what comes next!

Introducing Jordan Rakei & Redefining What You Believe To Be "Real Music"

It’s strangely difficult to articulate the nostalgic feeling you get when listening to Jordan Rakei’s newly incepted style of incredible-ness. Brisbane, Australia’s ‘pop up out of nowhere’ artist, apparently, only began performing his incredible talent(s) live at the end of 2013, and has since been dubbed a huge upcoming success with his hybrid-style of groove, lo-fi, soul, Jazz, R&B, Reggae and basically everything else. What the hell do we call it? Freakin’ awesome, that’s what.

Rakei recently dropped his new E.P Groove Curse, in mid-August, to some well earned praise. The self proclaimed musician, producer, singer, songwriter has been making ‘rather large’ waves nationally, and internationally over the past year or so, however we strongly believe he’s about to hit new limits with his latest opus. That saying “this is what real music sounds like” couldn’t be more spot-on.

Groove Curse could definitely be defined as an E.P that encapsulates everything about the gorgeous Australian Summer. Rakei experiments with a diverse range of blended instrumental sounds that are beautifully composed but more importantly complimented with his smooth yet limitless vocal-range. It’s fluid, contemporary, an incredible listen and very engaging. Imagine sitting comfortably on a super yacht sailing through the south of France listening to a beautiful chilled-out track like “Alright” that endures long periods of pure-instrumental-jazz-lo-fi-amazingness whilst you’re taking in the view at sunset and sipping on some ridiculous cocktail your barman has concocted for you … that’s pretty much the narrative that comes to mind when listening to Rakei.

Second to “Alright", Groove Curse’s “Add The Baseline” track, conveys, well – exactly what the title implies. Rakei rocks and changes through some boundless melodies and harmonies overlaid on a super-sweet baseline with some dynamic keys’ that will get your head bobbing no matter what you’re doing. This is a truly powerful E.P and another huge success for all of the talented musicians out there who are pushing the boundaries of musical genres today. 

With the likes of huge international names like Chet Faker, Fat Freddies Drop and Mark de Clive Lowe hailing Rakei as and incredible talent, there’s no doubt we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from this talented smooth-sailing Australian.

Incredible work Rakei, we’re digging it – a lot.


KR's " I$0LYF3" And Why You Should Be Screaming About It …

A little over a week or two ago, independent L.A Rapper KR released his highly anticipated project I$0LYF3,
to some serious critical acclaim. After building a successful underground following since the release of his I$0LYF2 in May last year, with the help of earlier tracks & projects, we believe KR has become one of the
hottest new Rappers on the rise – without a doubt.

Since the release of I$0LYF3, KR’s name has begun to be thrown around by everyone who’s stumbled across this amazing new musical talent and buzz. Upon first listen to the project, you gauge an immediate and definitive understanding of the share amount of effort that has gone into every single detail of the mixtape, from lyrics to production through to style and cohesion. It’s truly an incredible listen, and a must-have for your iTunes library.

KR has a superior lyrical ability for a 19 year musician old on the come-up. The single from I$0LYF3 “One Time” conveys this indefinitely. Through a smooth, swooned-out and mature tone, KR depicts his story, reflective on his life and trials that truly sets the foundation of his style as a musician. In a recent interview with Complex,
the talented Rapper’ states:

I’m just trying to put out the best music I can, just incase tomorrow is no longer in the cards for me. I truly believe in the power of the word and rapping to me is like a supplementary sense for my vision

Now if that doesn’t put the level of conceptuality and professionalism of KR into context for you then you should stop reading now, because we don’t know what else will. With all of this hype surrounding the 13-track release in the third instalment of his I$0LYF series, it’s not difficult to see that KR has got some wicked talent. 

The diverse vibe of this project is beyond incredible, it’s everything you would hope for when ‘accidentally’ stumbling across a project of this calibre throughout your journey of the inter-web' everyday. Congratulations on an incredible feat of creativity and prowess KR, salute!

Boogie, Thirst 48 – "Let Me Rap"

We're excited to present the most slept on project of 2014: Thirst 48by up and coming independent LA rapper Boogie. Sitting at just over 40,000 views on his debut, Boogie might be one of the most promising hip-hop artists in years. This is a bold statement; however, Thirst 48 is an incredibly mature introduction to a talented man of the streets like Boogie. 

While Thirst 48 has some street tracks, like “Westside”, “Highskoo Interlude”, and “Still Be Homies”, the album serves as more than an introduction to Boogie as an artist. It's a conceptually-driven album and a very strong body of work. Down to the artwork, featuring a selfie being taken during an intimate moment, Boogie crafted a real message with Thirst 48

I Built This Underground Railroad To Get Me Out This Hell-Hole ...

The main theme he touches on is society's obsession with social media validation. While everyone around Boogie is taking Snapchats and trying to slide into DMs, he's searching for something notably deeper.
Boogie's thirst is for human interaction and affection, which is what we should all be searching for. However,
because of social media and the street mentality in his culture, Boogie's thirst is the one looked down upon.
He realizes his differences, "As hard as I try to be, being hard is where I lost more." And he apologizes several times for his relationship goals, "There's too much simping on my tape." That's where Boogie is wrong, though, because he's not simping about a girl, he's worried about the world around him.

"Let Me Rap", the single from Thirst 48, absolutely screams "Your Summer-Jam". Everything from the laid-back late-90s rap-inspired instrumental to the super laid-back lyrical flow Boogie constructs over the track encapsulates everything nostalgic you can remember about "that awesome song that defined your summer" that year. Very easy-listening, very cool and very clever. We love this track from Boogie.

Need we say more? No, simply plug in your headphones, log off of social media, listen and enjoy! 

Introducing Rachel Foxx

East London's best kept secret is ready to share her soulful voice with the world. Rachel Foxx is fresh off the release of her debut self-titled E.P Rachel Foxx, which was released earlier this week. Young, extremely talented and beautiful, Foxx aims to captivate minds and hearts alike with her newest musical offering. 

Foxx's newly released self-titled E.P is a unique little project that encompasses the solidarity of Foxx's musical-foundation. It's not difficult to see that she has drawn deep-inspiration from her talented passion for the blending of contemporary Hip-Hop and Soul music upon first hearing her voice. The ear-catching characteristic of Foxx's musical-style is without a doubt, her phenomenal voice/style. This talented young East-London'er gently (yet subtly) floats effortlessly between her lyrics in which her melodies drift between the middle and higher registers' of her voice, thus encapsulating anyone and everyone upon their first-listen.

She simply has a beautiful sound. In addition to this, we believe this is why and how she has caught the 'ears' of the SoundCloud giants and tastemakers in the past three months with her amazing single "Before You", which has just soared past 150k plays. Nice work Foxx.

Foxx's management informs us that on the back of her E.P release she will be heading to the magical city of
New York to do some recording and will perform at selected shows when she returns back to the U.K. What an impressive talent and an even more impressive sound. We know without any question, Miss Foxx is definitely a foxy-one-to-watch.

Introducing Ryn Weaver & Her Promises E.P

We are living in the era of constant noise in music. Just about every person we know owns a computer, and is capable of recording and releasing music. Whilst this results in an uncountable number of struggle-mixtapes released on Datpiff and moody singer/songwriter demos sent to labels every day, some artists are able to break through the barriers and set themselves apart from the noise in a huge way. Enter mystery-girl Ryn Weaver

On June 24, SoundCloud was blessed with “OctaHate,” the debut single of the then completely unknown Ryn Weaver. Quirky keys, finger snaps, explosive chorus n’all, the song soared to over a million views in roughly two weeks. Production by Benny Blanco, Michael Angelakos, Cashmere Cat and Charli XCX certainly helped, and days after release most blogs were raving about the track and wanted to know where the hell Weaver came from. 

Beyond “OctaHate” (“the best song wasn’t the single...”), Ryn Weaver delivers three other beautiful tracks on Promises. The title track kicks off the EP with a vocal loop reminiscent of Lorde’s “Ribs” or CHVRCHES’ “The Mother We Share” and breaks into an anthemic beat with glistening synthesizers. Weaver’s songwriting is somewhat moody, as the E.P revolves around a love interest. However, the subject matter doesn’t get too stale because after all, it’s only a four song E.P, and the way Weaver describes her heartbreak is more in line with classics like Here, My Dear or 808s & Heartbreak. She repeats on the chorus, “Never meant to break my own promises” and retreats during the first verse “I cross my heart and hope to die, unless I happen to lie.”
Sounds like something conceptually-clever that Kanye would throw-out, right?! Smart girl...

Weaver supposedly passes the time with Coffee and a half a pack .... or so she says

Promises’ final track, titled “Sail On” deals with similar boy troubles, but actually results in Weaver’s love abandoning her. She struggles with this loss (“How do I do to let it go”), but looks hopeful anyways and decides to “sail on” as well. 

Say what you want about Ryn Weaver and her label situation. Her debut project, Promises, is freaking awesome and will remain in rotation for a long time. Ryn Weaver is exactly what pop music needs and we can only hope a tour and full length album are coming soon. If only this is what Top 40 radio sounded like…

Sinead Harnett – N.O.W

Hailing all the way from North-London and collaborating with talented acts such as: Rudimental, Disclousure, Ryan Hemswroth and a slew of others, it's likely Sinead Harnett has made her way to your ears with her incredible soul-driven vocals and sexually charismatic style. 

Perfection and quality are the only two characteristics that spring to-mind when describing the talent and production of everything Harnett releases (and has released to date). Influenced by the likes of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and UK Grunge music it's no wonder this gifted Britt’ brings something unique and invigorating to listeners from around the world with this amazing ‘feel good sound’ she successfully
conveys in her music.

We simply can’t stop listening to Harnett's amazing breakout track "Paradise" from her new EP: N.O.W.
which you should purchase from iTunes (now). Amazing work Harnett! We’re very, very into it.

You Always Know The DJ

On the 4th of July 2014 something happened that would change the face of Australian Rap/Hip-Hop forever. Adelaide native Allday released his debut album Startup Cult to a staggering #3 position on the ARIA charts (accompanied by some huge critical acclaim).

Allday's cult-like following over the past year or so has been building steadily, however since dropping his recent singles "Right Now" and "You Always Know The DJ" off Startup Cult, things have climbed to an entirely new level. 

Allday's lyrical and melodic style is what makes him one of the most talented and unique contemporary artists in today's music-scene. Without question, it's easy to see who's musical style has been idolised to construct the raw-talent that we call Allday. Drake's diversity and prowess as a musician has created a symbolic 'backbone' that has pushed the boundaries of what Rappers can, and cannot do with their style and sound in music today. With this notion in mind, Allday is a talented artist who can effortlessly fluctuate between singing and rapping throughout the entire record, thus giving him his own foundation to perch himself on with his 'swaggalicious' contemporary and stylistic musical sound.

Startup Cult is super-duper-dope, and you need to cop it. It's an incredible listen from start to finish and you never quite know what to expect when each song ticks over. This is a modern album from genuinely talented 22-year-old who can't help but push the boundaries of contemporary Rap/Hip-Hop into a new genre; his own genre. Allday wants to ensure some longevity in the difficult world of music with this album, and we strongly believe that's what will happen. Nice work man, your hard work has undoubtedly paid off.

"Girl i swear, you always know the DJ" .... 

Majid Jordan – A Place Like This - EP

We've noticed that in (our) part of the world, pre-ordered purchases off iTunes come out slightly earlier in comparison to the United States. So when we woke up the other morning to Majid Jordan's A Place Like This E.P already in our library – we woke up happier than you did.

The well known OVO-signed duo Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman; have released their E.P A Place Like This under the new label direction to reasonable critical acclaim. The E.Ps single "A Place Like This" encompasses a near 'atmospheric' quality of sound through carefully executed instrumentals, elements and conservative monotone lyrics' that only proves their smooth, sexy and stylistic sound. This notion is carried out extensively through the beautiful aesthetics of their video for the track.

The talented pair worked with OVO Sound owner Drake on his single “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” which was included on his 2013 album, Nothing Was The Same – so you should know how amazing this project sounds.

The entire E.P is a journey through this kind of sound and it's exactly what you would expect from the two OVO hot-heads. A Place Like This is a magnificent body of work and one you should definitely want to have in your iTunes library – it's as simple as that really. Incredible work from these two Toronto X OVO natives.


Introducing Jahkoy "Fall In Love" (Actually)

A few days before G-Eazy dropped his album the other week, we were sent an absolute banger of a track from someone unknown to us – via industry contacts in L.A. We'd like to introduce you to Jahkoy, and his recent single "Fall In Love".

We reached out the to the Toronto-native since receiving this track; turns out he's extremely talented (obviously), but more-so is certainly 'one to watch'. "Fall In Love" is simply an awesome track that depicts a diverse (yet beautifully contrasting) emotional journey through some fantastic vocals and a super-sweet 'easy to listen to' instrumental. We were very impressed with this track from Jahkoy, and we're definitely look forward to watching his progress in 2014. Nice work from Canada man – respect.

Be sure to head over to Datpiff and download his free Mixtape Dying To Live Forever.